The Declaration of Independence: Its History; Chapter 3 1776

The Declaration of Independence Its History Chapter 3 1776

Drafting the Declaration of Independence. The Committee—Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, Livingston and Sherman

Drafting the Declaration of Independence. The Committee—Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, Livingston and Sherman

See also: The Declaration of Independence: Its History Chapter 1 1774
The Declaration of Independence: Its History Chapter 2, 1775

SEVENTEEN HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-SIX

JANUARY 3, 1776, gave being to the new army at Cambridge. Washington — whose life Robert Morris, six months later, declared “the most valuable in America” —hoisted the Union flag, in compliment to the united Colonies. On the 30th, he writes thence to the President of Congress: “The clouds thicken fast; where they will burst, I know not; but we should be armed at all points.”

This was always Washington’s appeal. At no time, so far as we know, did he waste his powers, or invite the refusal of his constant and necessary demands upon Congress, by urging upon it or any of its members a declaration of independence.

To Joseph Reed, however, Washington, in 1776, openly expressed his opinions. On January 31st, he writes: “A few more of such flaming arguments, as were exhibited at Falmouth and Norfolk, added to the sound doctrine and unanswerable reasoning contained in the pamphlet ‘Common Sense,’ will not leave numbers at a loss to decide upon the propriety of a separation “; on February 10th, though his situation, as described by himself, had “been such, that I have been obliged to use art to conceal it from my own officers “: “With respect to myself, I have never entertained an idea of an accommodation, since I heard of the measures, which were adopted in consequence of the Bunker’s Hill fight. The King’s speech has confirmed the sentiments I entertained upon the news of that affair; and, if every man was of my mind, the ministers of Great Britain should know . . . that, if nothing else could satisfy a tyrant and his diabolical ministry, we are determined to shake off all connexions with a state so unjust and unnatural. This I would tell them, not under covert, but in words as clear as the sun in its meridian brightness”; and, on April 15th: “I am exceedingly concerned to hear of the divisions and parties, which prevail with you, and in the southern colonies, on the score of independence. These are the shelves we have to avoid or our bark will split and tumble to pieces . . . Nothing but disunion can hurt our cause.”

Indeed, William Palfray (evidently) writes from New York to Samuel Adams, May 24th: “As it may be of some importance to you to know General W’s Sentiments respecting the grand point of American independence I think my duty to acquaint you that I have heard him converse several times lately on the Subject, and delivered it as his opinion that a reconciliation with Great Britain is impracticable impolitic, and would be in the highest degree detrimental to the true Interests of America — That when he first took the Command of the Army he abhorr’d the Idea of independence but is now fully convinced nothing else will save us —”

Two days before the birth of the new army, we find the Assembly of New Hampshire “establishing a form of Government, to continue during the present unhappy and unnatural contest with Great Britain; protesting and declaring, that we never sought to throw off our dependence upon Great Britain . . . and that we shall rejoice if such a reconciliation . . . can be effected, as shall be approved by the Continental Congress, in whose prudence and wisdom we confide.”

Massachusetts, on the contrary, on the 18th of the same month (January), fully empowered her Delegates (Hancock, the Adamses, Paine and Elbridge Gerry), “with the Delegates from the other American Colonies, to concert, direct, and order such further measures as shall to them appear best calculated for the recovery and establishment of American rights and liberties ” — words which might be implied to include the power to join in a declaration of independence, though they evidently were not so intended and, as we shall see, were not so construed.

John Adams, who had left Congress, on leave of absence, December 9, 1775,and Gerry, who was elected for the first time on the 18th (of January, 1776), proceeded together to Philadelphia and took their seats on February 9th.

Adams, in his Autobiography, tells us: “Mr. Samuel Adams, Mr. Gerry and myself now composed a majority of the Massachusetts delegation, and we were no longer vexed or enfeebled by divisions among ourselves, or by indecision or indolence.”

At another place in his Autobiography, — indistinctly intermingling his views following his return with those of the preceding Fall, from his return after the adjournment on August 1st to his departure on the leave of absence — he says: “At the appointed time [Wednesday, September 5, 1775], we returned to Philadelphia, and Congress were reassembled . . . almost every day I had something to say about advising the States to institute governments, to express my total despair of any good from . . . any of those things which were called conciliatory measures. I constantly insisted . . . that we should be driven to the necessity of declaring ourselves independent States, and that we ought now to be employed in preparing a plan of confederation for the Colonies and treaties . . . together with a declaration of independence; that these three measures, independence, confederation, and negotiations with foreign powers, particularly France, ought to go hand in hand, and be adopted all together; that foreign powers could not be expected to acknowledge us till we had acknowledged ourselves, and taken our station among them as a sovereign power and independent nation . . . Some gentlemen doubted of the sentiments of France; thought she would frown upon us as rebels, and be afraid to countenance the example. I replied to those gentlemen, that I apprehended they had not attended to the relative situation of France and England; that it was the unquestionable interest of France that the . . . Colonies should be independent . . . When I first made these observations in Congress, I never saw a greater impression made upon that assembly or any other. Attention and approbation were marked upon every countenance. Several gentlemen came to me afterwards, to thank me for that speech, particularly Mr. Caesar Rodney, of Delaware, and Mr. Duane, of New York. I remember these two gentlemen in particular, because both of them said that I had considered the subject of foreign connections more maturely than any man they had ever heard in America . . . These and such as these, were my constant and daily topics, sometimes of reasoning and no doubt often of declamation, from the meeting of Congress in the autumn of 1775, through the whole winter and spring of 1776. Many motions were made, and after tedious discussions, lost. I received little assistance from my colleagues in all these contests; three of them were either inclined to lean towards Mr. Dickinson’s system, or at least chose to be silent, and the fourth [Samuel Adams evidently] spoke but rarely in Congress, and never entered into any extensive arguments, though, when he did speak, his sentiments were clear and pertinent and neatly expressed. Mr. Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia, Mr. Sherman, of Connecticut, and Mr. Gadsden, of South Carolina, were always on my side, and Mr. Chase, of Maryland, when he did speak at all, was always powerful, and generally with us. Mr. Johnson, of Maryland, was the most frequent speaker from that State, and, while he remained with us, was inclined to Mr. Dickinson for some time, but ere long he and all his State came cordially into our system.”

Gerry writes, to James Warren, March 26th: “You are desirous of knowing what capital measures are proposed in congress. I refer you to . . . what is done concerning privateering . . . This will not in itself satisfy you, and / hope nothing will, short of a determination of America to hold her rank in the creation, and give law to herself. I doubt not this will soon take place … I sincerely wish you would originate instructions, expressed with decency and firmness — your own style — and give your sentiments as a court in favour of independency. I am certain it would turn many doubtful minds, and produce a reversal of the contrary instructions adopted by some assemblies. Some timid minds are terrified at the word independence. If you think caution in this respect good policy, change the name. America has gone such lengths she cannot recede, and I am convinced a few weeks or months at furthest will convince her of the fact, but the fruit must have time to ripen in some of the other colonies . . ,”

Samuel Adams (who, not long before, had been “indisposed” in Baltimore, “so as to be obliged to keep my Chamber ten days, I was unable to travel with my Friends”; and to whom, on February 12th, his wife had written: “I Received your affectionate Letter by Fesenton and thank you for your Kind Concern for My health and Safety. I beg you Would not give yourself any pain on our being so Near the Camp, the place I am in is so situated that if the Regulars should Even take prospect hill … I should be able to Make an Escape — as I am Within a few stones Cast of a Back Road Which Leads to the Most Retired part of Newtown …PS I beg you to Excuse the very poor Writing as My paper is Bad and my pen made with scissors — I should be glad … if you should not come down soon you would Write me Word Who to apply to for some Money for I am low in Cash and Everything is very dear”) writes, April 3d, to Dr. Samuel Cooper: “Is not America already independent? Why then not declare it? . . . Can Nations at War be said to be dependent either upon the other? I ask then again, why not declare for Independence? Because say some, it will forever shut the Door of Reconciliation … By such a Reconciliation she would not only in the most shameful Manner acknowledge the Tyranny, but most wickedly, as far as would be in her Power, prevent her Posterity from ever hereafter resisting it.”

His words of the 15th to Joseph Hawley are equally forcible: “I am perfectly satisfied with the Reasons you offer to show the Necessity of a public & explicit Declaration of Independency. — I cannot conceive what good Reason can be assigned against it. Will it widen the Breach? This would be a strange Question after we have raised Armies and fought Battles with the British Troops, set up an American Navy … It cannot surely after all this be imagined that we consider ourselves or mean to be considered by others in any State but that of Independence But moderate Whigs are disgusted with our mentioning the Word! Sensible Tories are better Politicians. — They know, that no foreign Power can consistently yield Comfort to Rebels, or enter into any kind of Treaty with these Colonies till they declare themselves free and independent . . . moderate Gentlemen are flattering themselves with the prospect of Reconciliation . . .”

The letter to Hawley was followed by one the next day to Warren: “The only alternative is independence or slavery . . . One of our moderate, prudent Whigs would be startled at what I now write . . . they would continue the conflict a century. There are such moderate men here, but their principles are daily growing out of fashion. The child Independence is now struggling for birth. I trust that in a short time it will be brought forth, and in spite of Pharaoh, all America will hail the dignified stranger.” On the last day of April, he writes —again to Cooper: “I am to acknowledge the Receipt of your Favor of the 18th Instant by the Post—The Ideas of Independence spread far and wide among the Colonies — Many of the leading Men see the absurdity of supposing that Allegiance is due to a Sovereign who has already thrown us out of his Protection — South Carolina has lately assumed a new Government—The Convention of North Carolina have unanimously agreed to do the same . . . Virginia whose Convention is to meet on the third of next month will follow the lead — The Body of the People of Maryland are firm — Some of the principal Members of their Convention, I am inclined to believe, are timid and lukewarm . . . The lower Counties in Delaware are a small People but well affected to the Common Cause—In this populous and wealthy Colony [Pennsylvania] political Parties run high—The News papers are full of the Matter but I think I may assure you that Common Sense, prevails among the people . . . The Jerseys are agitating the great Question—It is with them rather a Matter of Prudence whether to determine till some others have done it before them . . . their Sentiments & Manners are I believe similar to those of N England—I forbear to say anything of New York, for I confess I am not able to form any opinion of them . . . I think they are at least as unenlightened in the Nature and Importance of our political Disputes as any one of the united Colonies—I have not mentioned our little Sister Georgia; but I believe she is as warmly engaged in the Cause as any of us, & will do as much as can be reasonably expected of her I was very solicitous the last Fall to have Governments set up by the people in every Colony . . . When this is done, and I am inclined to think it will be soon, the Colonies will feel their Independence … I am disappointed, but I bear it tolerably well . . . There has been much to do to confirm doubting Friends & fortify the Timid . . . The Boston Port bill suddenly wrought a Union of the Colonies which could not be brought about by the Industry of years in reasoning on the Necessity of it for the Common Safety . . . The burning of Norfolk & the Hostilities committed in North Carolina have kindled the Resentment of our Southern Brethren who once thought their Eastern Friends hot headed & rash . . . There is a Reason that wd induce one even to wish for the speedy Arrival of the British Troops that are expected at the Southward— I think our friends are well prepared for them & one Battle would do more towards a Declaration of Independency than a long chain of conclusive Arguments in a provincial Convention or the Continental Congress—” The sentiments meanwhile of some of the constituents themselves, in the Commonwealth, and the result (evidently) of Gerry’s letter of March 26th to Warren also have come down to us:

On the 18th and 20th of February, Hawley thus declares to Gerry: “I have read the pamphlet, entitled, ‘Common Sense, addressed to the Inhabitants of America,’ and every sentiment has sunk into my well-prepared heart …””… if we resolve on independence, what will hinder but that we may instantly commence a trade not only with Holland, France, and Spain, but with all the world? . . . Pray consider this matter with regard to Canada and the Dutch of New-York. Will they ever join with us heartily, who, in order to do it, must sacrifice their trade . . . Whereas, the moment that we resolve on independence, trade will be free for them — for the one to France and the other to Holland . . . Independence, in short, is the only way to union and harmony, to vigor and dispatch in business; our eye will be single, and our whole body full of light; anything short of it will, as appears to me, be our destruction, infallible destruction, and that speedily.”

On March 26th, Edmund Quincy writes to his daughter, Mrs. Dorothy Hancock: “”May we deserve a Continuance of the Protection of Heaven & may there be soon an Accommodation or Separation of yeYounger from ye Older States; the Last I expect will be the necessary Effect of unnatural Treatment we have received — The voice of the people in these [Northern] Colonies seems almost universally in favor of independency as far as I can perceive … It is my real Opinion y’ set time is come wherein Providence has appointed the Flourishing States to withdraw themselves from ye Control of all other . . .”

On the 1st of the next month, Hawley, at Watertown, urges Samuel Adams as he had previously urged Gerry: “Give me leave to tell you that an immediate explicit and ye firmest Confederation and Proclamation of Independence may be more necessary than you are aware — unless it Shall be done and declared very soon — Infinite jealousies will arise in the breasts of the People and when they begin to spring up they will increase amazingly . . . All will be in confusion if independence is not declared immediately [.]”

On the 28th of April, John Adams writes to his wife: “You tell me our jurors refuse to serve, because the writs are issued in the King’s name “; and, on the 29th, a letter from Boston says: “Common Sense, like a ray of revelation, has come in seasonably to clear our doubts, and to fix our choice.”

Another letter of the same month, to John Adams, from J. Winthrop, at Watertown, says: “I hope Common Sense is in as high estimation at the Southward as with us. Tis universally admired here. If the Congress should adopt the Sentiments of it, it would give the greatest satisfaction to our people.”

On May 1st, Hawley writes to Gerry: “The Tories dread a declaration of Independence, and a course of conduct on that plan, more than death. They console themselves with a belief that the Southern Colonies will not accede to it. My hand and heart are full of it. There will be no abiding union without it.”

On the 13th, Cooper replies, from Boston, to the second letter of Samuel Adams to him: “I am much oblig’d to you for your Favor 30th Apr. which I receiv’d by the Post the Evening before last, and am glad to find Affairs are in so good a Train in the Southern Colonies; In New England the Voice is almost universal for Independence . . . Our General Court is dissolved [?]— Before this took place, the House pass’d a Vote to consult their Constituents, whether they would instruct their future Representatives to move the Continental Congress for Independence — I can only assure you of the Substance of the Vote; the Form of it was not clearly related to me. The House sent up this Vote to the Council for their Concurrence — The Propriety of this was doubted by some, who did not think the Council could properly act on such an affair. It was however done, and the Council negativ’d the Vote. Mr Cushing among others was against it. He said that it would embarrass the Congress — that we ought to wait till they mov’d the Question to us — that it would prejudice the other Colonies against us — and that you had wrote to some Body here, that things with you were going on slowly and surely, and any Kind of Eagerness in us upon this Question would do Hurt. Others said that the Congress might not choose to move such a Point to their Constituents tho they might be very glad to know their minds upon it — that it was beginning at the right End for the Constituents to instruct their Delegates at Congress, & not wait for their asking Instructions from their Constituents — that the Question had been long thought of & agitated thro the Colonies, & it was now high Time to come to some Determination upon it; otherwise our artful Enemies might sew the Seeds of Dissention among us to the great Prejudice if not Ruin of the common Cause. The House, tho they would have been glad of the Concurrence of the Council in this Matter, have determin’d to proceed without them; and Instructions will go from all Parts on this Head; and it seems, by Appearances thro the Continent, you will not be able to defer a great While your Decision on this grand Question.—”

On the 17th, Hawley, at Northampton, writes another urgent letter to Samuel Adams.

On the 20th, B. Hichborn writes to John Adams, from Boston: “The principal political topic of Conversation is Independence — & I think the people almost una voce [with one voice], are wishing for its immediate Declaration— we are often checked by real or fictitious accounts from the Southward, of a contrary disposition in a large Majority of the People there— Some opinions say the Continental Congress will, others that they will not make such a Declaration, without consulting their Constituents — can’t we be relieved from this uncertainty?”

On the 22d, Hawley, at Springfield, writes to Samuel Adams: “Before this You have rec’d the Account of the routing of the continental forces before Quebec — Will your Congress now delay for a Moment the most explicit declaration of independence [?]”

On June 1st, Winthrop — speaking of what is considered later — writes again to John Adams: “I have often wondered, that so much difficulty should be raised about declaring independence, when we have actually got the thing itself … I now perceive you were in these sentiments long ago. But they are very opposite to the inveterate prejudices and long-established systems of many others. It must be a work of time to eradicate these prejudices. And perhaps it may be best to accomplish this great affair by slow and almost imperceptible steps, and not per saltum [By a leap or bound], by one violent exertion. The late Resolve of May 15 comes very near it.”

On the next day, Hawley, at Watertown, writes to Gerry: “I do not mean that Confederations and a Declaration of Independence Should be made without a good prospect of its taking in all the Colonies — We are ripe for it here — But as nothing Short of it can Save us, if a Clear Vote can be Obtain for it in Congress, will it not do to risk it? I imagine that it will take everywhere.”

Indeed, on June 13th (Thursday), Hawley writes, to Gerry: “You cannot declare Independence too soon . . . When the present House here called last week, for the instructions of the several towns touching Independency, agreeable to the recommendation of the last House . . . it appeared that about two-thirds of the towns in the Colony had met, and all instructed in the affirmative, and generally returned to be unanimous. As to the other towns, the accounts of their Members were, either that they were about to meet, or that they had not received the notice, as it was given only in the newspapers. Whereupon, the House immediately ordered the unnotified towns to be notified by handbills, and in a short time undoubtedly we shall have returns from all; and it is almost certain that the returns will be universally to support the Congress, with their lives and fortunes, in case of a declaration of Independence.”

Before (January 4th) any of these letters was written and even before Common Sense appeared, General Greene, then at “Camp on Prospect-Hill”, wrote to Ward: “Permit me, then, to recommend from the sincerity of my heart, ready at all times to bleed in my country’s cause, a declaration of independence; and call upon the world, and the great God who governs it, to witness the necessity, propriety, and rectitude thereof.”

What Ward replied, if anything, we do not know; but John Adams writes of him, August 18th: “My friend [James] Warren, the late Governour Ward, and Mr. Gadsden, are three characters in which I have seen the most generous disdain of every spice and species of [selfish design] . . . The two last had not great abilities, but they had pure hearts. Yet they had less influence than many others, who had neither so considerable parts, nor any share at all of their purity of intention.” Indeed, “Gov’r Ward . . . died last night of the Small Pox” as shown by the Diary of Richard Smith for March 26th, over two months before the question of declaring independence came (directly) before Congress.

As early as Ward’s death, the trend of events, however, was being felt by some of the members of that body — among them Gerry, as we have seen by his (first) letter to Warren, asking Warren to originate instructions, written on the very day on which Ward died; and Hopkins, the remaining Delegate, very naturally, therefore, communicated — April 8th — with Governor Nicholas Cooke, making certain “queries concerning dependence or independence.”

The General Assembly (of Rhode Island) accordingly, on May 4th, elected William Ellery a to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Ward and, at the same time, instructed her Delegates “to consult and advise with the Delegates of the said [other] Colonies in Congress upon the most proper measures . . . to secure the said Colonies their rights and liberties . . . whether by entering into treaties … or by such other prudent and effectual ways and means as shall be devised and agreed upon . . .”

Of these instructions, Washington was immediately notified, by Cooke, by letter of the 6th; and, on the 7th, writing from Providence, Cooke replied to Hopkins’ letter, as follows: “I am to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 8th inst., which I laid before the General Assembly, who appointed a committee to take it into consideration and prepare instructions to the delegates. Dependency is a word of so equivocal a meaning, and hath been used for such ill purposes, and independency, with many honest and ignorant people carrying the idea of eternal warfare, the committee thought it best to avoid making use of either of them. The instructions you will receive herewith, passed both houses nemine contradicente [of one mind; without dissent]. I enclose an act discharging the inhabitants of the Colony from allegiance to the British King . . . The first mentioned act, after being debated, was carried in the lower house almost unanimously, there being upward of sixty members present, and but six votes against it. Towards the close of the session, a vote passed the lower house for taking the sense of the inhabitants at large upon the question of independency. The upper house were of the opinion that although a very great majority of the Colony were perfectly ripe for such a question, yet, upon its being canvassed, several towns would vote against it, and that the appearance of disunion would be injurious to the common cause, and represented to the lower house that it was very probable the subject would be discussed in Congress, before it would be possible to take the sense of the Colony in the proposed way and transmit it to the delegates, in which case, they would be laid under the necessity of waiting for the sentiments of their constituents, and of course the Colony would lose its voice, and the delegates when they should receive a copy of the act renouncing allegiance, and of the instructions, could not possibly entertain a doubt of the sense of the General Assembly; upon which the subject was dropped.”

The “upper house” seems to have been correct in their judgment; for Hopkins, in his answering letter — dated May 15th — to Cooke, says: “Your favour of the 7 th May I have received, and the papers enclosed in it. I observe that you have avoided giving me a direct answer to my queries concerning dependence or independence. However, the copy of the act of Assembly which you have sent me, together with our instructions, leave me little room to doubt what is the opinion of the Colony I came from. I suppose it will not be long before Congress will throw off all connection, as well in name as in substance, with Great Britain, as one thing after another seems gradually to lead them to such a step . . .”

The General Assembly of Connecticut, sitting at Hartford,—Trumbull and Williams being present-— resolved, June 14th, ” that the Delegates … be, and they are hereby, instructed to propose to that respectable body to declare the United American Colonies free and independent States . . .”

This was just a week after the resolution of May 15th of the Convention of Virginia to the same effect appeared in The Connecticut Gazette; and the Universal Intelligencer, published in New London, and after a Delegate of Virginia, as we shall see, had so proposed to Congress.

The Provincial Congress of New Jersey, sitting at New Brunswick, — Abraham Clark and John Hart evidently being present but seemingly none of her Delegates — instructed her Delegates, March 2d: “You must be sensible that this Congress are extremely destitute of the means of information, compared with your body, and, of course, unable to point out any certain line of conduct for you to pursue. Your deliberations must no doubt be formed upon the measures of the British Ministry, which are uncertain, extraordinary, and new almost every week. We, therefore, only request that you would join in the general voice of the United Colonies, and pursue such measures as you may judge most beneficial for the publick good of all the Colonies.”

Her Delegates at this time were William Livingston, Richard Smith, De Hart, Jonathan D. Sergeant and John Cooper.

Sergeant writes to John Adams, April 6th: “I arrived here [doubtless Princeton] last evening in a very indifferent State of Health & shall return or not return [to Philadelphia] according as I have Reason to believe 1 may be more useful here or there … My Head aches & my Heart aches. I tremble for the Timidity of our Counsels. —”

Five days later, certainly at Princeton, he tells Adams: “The Jersey Delegates (will You believe it) are not in the sweetest Disposition with one another. Mr D’Hart has gone home with an avowed Determination not to return without General Livingston & at the same Time has declared that he will offer himself as a Candidate for the Provincial Convention thinking that a more important Post, in order that he may control the mad Fellows who now compose that Body. — He has signified the dangerous Disposition of Mr Smyth & another of his Colleagues; and all the great & the mighty ones in the Colony are preparing to make their last Stand against the Principles of levelling which prevails in it. Mr Smith’s Health it seems will not admit of his Attendance, at least not very steadily. — In the mean Time I have engaged to return whenever called upon by General Livingston & Mr D’Hart; but rather believe they will not call upon me, tho I have wrote to them requesting it, in Order that the colony may not be unrepresented; — tho I fear it will be misrepresented if we attend.30 Whether to return without them is a matter of some Doubt with me, especially since I have been told that some very pious People are circulating a Rumour that I left Congress in Disgust at the Doctrines of Independency which are now advanced. — Whether I may not do more good at home considering all things I am at a Loss to determine. — If my Colleagues should go into the Provincial Convention I should be glad to meet them there; and I know the old Leven of Unrighteousness will strive hard to poison that Body by pushing in every Creature that can lisp against Independence, which in other Words, in my Opinion, is every Creature who would wish to give up the Quarrel. In Congress, if I am to be alone, it will avail little; if with my Colleagues less still . . . From this State of the Case I should be much obliged by your Opinion . . . onSunday I must determine one Way or the other if possible … P. S. . . . The grand Difficulty here is that People seem to expect Congress should take the first Step by declaring Independence, as they phrase it . . . I declare boldly to People Congress will not declare Independence in Form; they are independent; every Act is that of Independence and all we have to do is to establish Order & Government in each Colony that we may support them in it. — Could not this idea be substituted in the place of Independence in the Controversy, which, as it is treated, is no determinate Object, — brings Nothing to an Issue. —”

May 20th, he writes (also from Princeton to Adams): “I wrote You soon after I arrived here . . . Ever since I have seen the Inside of Congress I have trembled. Nothing short of a radical Change in the Councils of our Middle Colonies can, I am persuaded, by any Means save us . . . Next Week is our Election. I wish I may obtain a Seat in the Convention; but am not over sanguine in my Hopes tho I believe I could easily accomplish it by going out of my present County into the one I came from. However am in Hopes they will chuse good Men there. After the Election I expect to pay You a Visit for a short time; but am determined that I will not continue to attend [in Congress] along with my present Colleagues any longer than I can avoid. At present, several little Circumstances will form an excuse for my being absent.”

This letter (of May 20th), as shown by its superscription, was delivered to Adams by “Favour of Dr Witherspoon”, who had, himself, three days before it was written, delivered at Princeton a sermon on “The Dominion of Providence over the Passions of Men” in which he said: “. . . for these colonies to depend wholly upon the legislature of Great Britain, would be like many other oppressive connexions, injury to the master, and ruin to the slave … If on account of their distance and ignorance of our situation, they could not conduct their own quarrel with propriety for one year, how can they give direction and vigour to every department of our civil constitutions, from age to age? There are fixed bounds to every human thing. When the branches of a tree grow very large and weighty, they fall off from the trunk. The sharpest sword will not pierce when it cannot reach. And there is a certain distance from the seat of government where an attempt to rule will either produce tyranny and helpless subjection, or provoke resistance and effect a separation.”

Samuel Adams’ letter of April 30th has given us some idea of the feeling that prevailed in Pennsylvania.

On the day this letter was written, Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer also writes from Philadelphia, to Charles Carroll: “To-morrow will determine the question of Dependence or Independence, in this city, by the election of four additional members of Assembly … It is expectedthis contest will not end without blows”; and, on the next day, George Read, also from Philadelphia, to his wife, at Wilmington: “I flatter myself that I shall see you on Saturday next. Last Saturday the Congress sat, and I could not be absent . . . This day is their election for additional members of Assembly. Great strife is expected. Their fixed candidates are not known. One side talk of Thomas Willing, Andrew Allen, Alexander Wilcox, and Samuel Howell, against independency; the other, Daniel Roberdeau, George Clymer, Mark Kuhl, and a fourth I don’t recollect; but it is thought other persons would be put up.”

The election is thus described by Marshall: “This has been one of the sharpest contests, yet peacable, that has been for a number of years … I think it may be said with propriety that the Quakers, Papists, Church, Allen family, with all the proprietary party, were never seemingly so happily united . . .”

The resolve of Congress of May 15th, recommending, as we shall see, the adoption, where not already existing, of proper “government”, however, changed the face of affairs. Indeed, as Bancroft aptly expresses it, “The blow which proceeded from John Adams felled the proprietary authority in Pennsylvania and Maryland to the ground . . .”

On the evening of the very day on which Congress took this decisive action, Marshall, “Past seven, went and met a large number of persons at the Philosophical, by appointment (Col. McKean in the chair), where was debated the resolve of Congress . . .”

On the 16th also, he went, “At four, to the Philosophical Hall, to meet a number of persons … It was concluded to call a convention with speed; to protest against the present Assembly’s doing any business in their House until the sense of the Province was taken in that Convention to be called, &c, with the mode and manner of doing these several things by or on next Second Day.”

The next day, John Adams writes to his wife: “I have this morning heard Mr. Duffield, upon the signs of the times. He ran a parallel between the case of Israel and that of America, and between the conduct of Pharaoh and that of George. Jealousy, that the Israelites would throw off the government of Egypt, made him issue his edict, that the midwives should cast the children into the river; and the other edict, that the men should make a large revenue of bricks without straw. He concluded that the course of events indicated strongly the design of Providence that we should be separated from Great Britain, &c.”

On the 18th, Marshall writes, “A request was brought to this Committee, from a large company of the City and Liberties, that a general call be made of the inhabitants of the City and Liberties, to meet next Monday at nine o’clock forenoon at the State House, in order to take the sense of the people respecting the resolve of Congress of the Fifteenth instant, the which, after debate, was agreed to, only five dissenting voices.”

The meeting occurred at the appointed time, in the State House yard, where, Marshall, who was present, tells us, “it was computed, Four thousand people were met, notwithstanding the rain, and then, sundry resolves were passed unanimously except one, and there was one dissenting voice, to wit, Isaac Gray. Near twelve, all was completed quietly and peaceably . . . Went to Committee Room at Philosophical Hall, where were confirmed the resolves at the State House, and directions, with proper persons appointed to go with the said resolves to the different counties.”

On the very day of this meeting (May 20th), Gerry writes: “In this Colony (Pennsylvania) the spirit of the people is great, if a judgment is to be formed by appearances. They are well convinced of the injury their Assembly has done to the Continent, by their instructions to their Delegates. It was these instructions which induced the Middle Colonies, and some of the Southern, to backward every measure which had the appearance of Independency. To them is owing the delay of Congress in agitating questions of the greatest importance, which long ere now must have terminated in a separation from Great Britain . . .”

Bartlett, in a letter to Langdon, speaks of the occasion thus: “May 21” yesterday the City met, agreeable to notification in the field before the State House, a stage being erected for the Moderator (Col. Roberdeau) and the Chief speakers M’ Mc- Kean &c.— I am told they unanimously voted that the present House of Assembly are not Competent to Changing the form of gov’t and have given orders for Calling a Convention. Pennsylvania Assembly was to meet yesterday. I fear some Convulsions in the Colony, the infamous instructions given by the Assembly to their Delegates which they at their last meeting refused to alter is the Cause of their losing the Confidence of the people.”

The Assembly had in fact met — “above stairs” in the building where Congress sat — on the 20th, and the protest “of the inhabitants of the City and Liberties of Philadelphia, in behalf of ourselves and others” was presented to the Speaker on that day; but it was not read in the Assembly until the 22d, and was then ordered to lie on the table.

This protest set forth that, as understood by Bartlett, the Assembly was not empowered to form a government and that an application would be made to the Committee of Inspection and Observation of the City and Liberties of Philadelphia to call a conference. Indeed, as we have seen, the conference had already been called when the protest was read.

The Assembly then adjourned to 3 o’clock in the afternoon, when they resolved that Andrew Allen, George Clymer, Alexander Wilcocks, Isaac Pearson and George Ross ” be a committee to take into consideration the said Resolve of Congress, and the Preamble thereto; and to draw up a Memorial from this House … requesting an explanation, in such terms as will admit of no doubt, whether the Assemblies and Conventions now subsisting in the several Colonies are or are not the bodies to whom the consideration of continuing the old, or adopting new Governments, is referred . . .”

On the same day — and, as would seem, before the Assembly met at 3 o’clock and appointed this committee —, a number “of those called moderate men”, as Marshall entitles them, prepared and began to circulate a remonstrance against the protest, stating that the subscribers to the remonstrance had never authorized the protest and that the desires of the majority of the people did not justify it. This was not formally presented to the Assembly, however, as we shall see, until the 29th.

On the day following (the 23d), an address of the Committee of Inspection and Observation for the County of Philadelphia, signed by William Hamilton, as chairman, was presented to the Assembly and read. This asked “that you will most religiously adhere to the Instructions given to our Delegates in Congress.”

The Committee of Inspection and Observation of the City and Liberties was at once aroused. On the 24th, they themselves determined upon a memorial to Congress, which stated ” That, in consequence of a request of a large majority of the inhabitants … of Philadelphia, on the 20th instant, the Committee have issued letters … for calling a conference of the Committees of the Province, in order to collect the sense of the inhabitants . . . That they have heard with great surprise that the Assembly . . . are about to present a Memorial to your honourable body, in consequence of a Remonstrance delivered to them . . . That the said Remonstrance has been obtained by unfair representations and indefatigable industry; and is signed chiefly by those people who hold Offices under the Crown . . . That . . . the present Assembly . . . was not chosen, nor is it invested with powers, to carry the said resolve [of Congress of May 15th] into execution. That a majority of the present Assembly do not possess the confidence of the people . . .” This memorial — signed by McKean, as chairman— was presented (to Congress) on the 25th.

Meanwhile, the Assembly, however, either knew not what to do or was unwilling to take any action whatever. Nor did they act even on the 28th, when the memorial of the Committee of Inspection and Observation of the City and Liberties to Congress was read, or when, later in the day, a petition from “a number of the freemen and inhabitants of the County of Cumberland, was presented to the House, and read,” but simply ordered them to lie on the table. The people of Cumberland County petitioned “this honourable House that the last Instructions which it gave to the Delegates . . . wherein they are enjoined not to consent to any step which may cause or lead to a separation from Great Britain, may be withdrawn.” Indeed, on the 29th (except to read the remonstrance — then presented — and to order it to lie on the table), 30th and 31st, nothing was done; and, on the 1st, 3d and 4th of June, there was no quorum.

On the 5th of June, however, the resolution of Virginia of May 15th was read; and then, at last, a committee — Dickinson, Robert Morris, Joseph Reed, Clymer, Wilcocks, Pearson and Thomas Smith — was appointed to prepare a draft of instructions to the Delegates in Congress. They reported, on the 6th, “an essay for the purpose; which was read by order, and referred to further consideration.” On the 7th, “the House resumed the consideration of the Instructions to the Delegates . . . And, after a debate of a considerable length, adjourned to three o’clock in the afternoon.” At the appointed time, they “resumed consideration of the Instructions, and, having made some progress therein, adjourned to nine o’clock tomorrow morning.”

Maryland charged her Delegates, January 11th, that, “should any proposition be happily made by the Crown or Parliament, that may lead to or lay a rational and probable ground for reconciliation, you use your utmost endeavours to cultivate and improve it into a happy settlement and lasting amity . . . We further instruct you, that you do not, without the previous knowledge and approbation of the Convention . . . assent to any proposition to declare the Colonies independent . . . unless, in your judgments … it shall be thought absolutely necessary for the preservation of the liberties of the United Colonies; and should a majority of the Colonies in Congress, against such your judgment, resolve to declare these Colonies independent . . . then we instruct you immediately to call the Convention . . . and repair thereto with such proposition and resolve, and lay the same before the said Convention for their consideration; and this Convention will not hold this Province bound by such majority in Congress, until the Representative body of the Province, in Convention, assent thereto.”

Nor was this enough. On the 18th, the Convention entered a declaration on their journal wherein they avowed that they ” never did, nor do entertain any views or desires of independency.”

Indeed, as late as May 15th — the very day, as we have seen and shall more particularly see, when Virginia instructed her Delegates to propose to Congress to declare independence—, the Convention (of Maryland) took into consideration a resolution (adopted on the 21st) which declared that “this Convention is firmly persuaded that a reunion with Great Britain on constitutional principles would most effectively secure the rights and liberties, and increase the strength and promote the happiness of the whole empire . . . the said Deputies are bound and directed to govern themselves by the instructions given to them by this convention in its session in December last, in the same manner as if the said instructions were particularly repeated.”

Of the same mind doubtless was the Council of Safety; for they say, in a letter to the Delegates, on June 8th—when they must have known of the resolution of Virginia: “The intelligence with regard to 7000 men rising and declaring for independence is without foundation; we take it to be news from some incendiary . . .”

A few of the leading men, however, of Maryland held different views or were wavering. On January 30th, Alexander writes, from Philadelphia to the Council of Safety: “the Instructions of the Convention are come to Hand, but not as yet laid before Congress. I am much pleased with them, they entirely coincide with my Judgment & that Line of Conduct which I have determined to persue, the Farmer and some others to whom in Confidence they were shewn, say they breath that Spirit, which ought to govern all publick Bodies, Firmness tempered with Moderation.” On February 27th, however, he writes from the same place to the same body: “. . . with me every Idea of Reconciliation is precluded by the conduct of Grt Britain, & the only alternative, absolute slavery or Independency, the latter I have often reprobated both in public & private, but am now almost convinced the Measure is right & can be justified by necessity.”Indeed, Chase writes, to John Adams from Saint Johns, April 20th: “[Qy] In my Judgment You have no alternative between Independency and Slavery, and what American can hesitate in the Choice! but don’t harangue about it, act as if We were.” Stone writes, from Philadelphia to Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer, four days later: “Mr Johnson wrote to you yesterday. If the Commissioners do not arrive shortly and conduct themselves with great candor and uprightness to effect a reconciliation, a separation will most undoubtedly take place … I wish to conduct affairs so that a just & honorable reconciliation should take place, or that we should be pretty unanimous in a resolution to fight it out for Independance, the proper way to effect this is not to move too quick, but then we must take care to do everything which is necessary for our Security and Defence, not suffer ourselves to be lulled or wheedled by any deceptions declarations or givings out. You know my hearty wishes for Peace upon terms of Security and Justice to America. But war, any thing is preferable to a surrender of our rights … I shall set out on Saturday or Sunday next to meet my wife.”

It also is interesting to note that The Maryland Journal, and the Baltimore Advertiser contained, in its issue of May 22d, the following: “Serious QUESTIONS addressed to the advocates for DEPENDANCE upon the crown of Britain . . . Are not the advocates for INDEPENDANCE the only true friends to the principles of the British constitution? … Is not RECONCILIATION an untrodden path ; for where can we find an instance of a people’s returning to their allegiance to a tyrant, after he had violated every political and moral obligation to them? … Is not Independance a trodden path? Did not the United Provinces, and the Cantons of Switzerland, establish their liberty by declaring themselves INDEPENDANT, the one of the Court of Spain, the other of the House of Austria ?”

“In January 1776,” writes John Adams to John Taylor, April 9, 1814, “six months before the declaration of independence, M- Wythe of Virginia passed an evening with me at my chambers. In the course of conversation upon the necessity of Independence Mr Withe, observ[ed] . . . that the greatest obstacle in the way of a declaration of it, was the difficulty of agreeing upon a government for our future regulation . . .” General Charles Lee writes, to Washington, from Stamford, on the 24th of the same month (January, 1776): “Have you seen the pamphlets Common Sense? I never saw such a masterly, irresistible performance. It will, if I mistake not, in concurrence with the transcendent folly and wickedness of the Ministry, give the coup-de-grace to Great Britain. In short, I own myself convinced, by the arguments, of the necessity of separation.”

On the 4th of February, Adam Stephen writes to R. H. Lee from Berkeley: “Indeed my affection is not only cooled, but I begin to be inveterate, and it is impossible that I can ever again have any attachment to the Mother Country.” On the 16th, General Charles Lee writes from New York to Rush: “Your Common Sense is an admirable performance, but such is the timidity and nonsense of the greater part of the Community that I question much the effects were it not so happily seconded by the violence and insanity of the Ministry which must cram down your throats independence in spite of the squeamishness of your stomachs. It strikes me that reconciliation and return to your former state of dependence is as much a Chimera as an incorporation with the Mongolian Tartars —” On the 20th, a member of the Convention (of Virginia) says: “Some people among us seem alarmed at the name of Independence, while they support measures, and propose plans, that comprehend all the spirit of it . . . Whenever I have been an advocate for dependence, I have felt a conscious want of publick virtue . . .”

A letter from Williamsburg dated March 5th tells us: “The Tories and tools of Administration are constantly crying out that Congress is aiming at independence . . .”

On the 1st of April, Washington — still at Cambridge — writes, to Joseph Reed: “My countrymen I know, from their form of government, and steady attachment heretofore to royalty will come reluctantly into the idea of independence, but time and persecution bring many wonderful things to pass; and by private letters, which I have lately received from Virginia, I find ‘Common Sense’ is working a powerful change there in the minds of many men.” On the 2d, John Lee writes from Essex City to R. H. Lee: “Independence is now the topic here, and I think I am not mistaken when I say, it will (if not already) be very soon a Favourite Child.” Three days later, General Charles Lee, now at Williamsburg, in a letter also to R. H. Lee, says: “Pendleton is certainly naturally a Man of sense, but I can assure you that the other night in a conversation I had with him on the subject of independence He talkd or rather stammer’d nonsense that would have disgraced the lips of an old Midwife Drunk with bohea Tea and gin — Bland says that the Author of common sense is a blockhead and ignoramus for that He has grossly mistaken the nature of the Theocracy — If you coud be spard from the Congress, Your presence might infuse vigor and wisdom [here] … for Gods sake why do you dandle in the Congress so strangely, why do you not at once declare yourselves a seperate independant State? . . . I wish you woud kuff Doctor Rush for not writing—I expect and insist upon it —” John Page writes from the same city to Jefferson on the same day: “For God’s sake declare the Colonies independant, at once, & save us from ruin —” He writes again on the 12th to R. H. Lee: “I think almost every man, except the Treasurer [Robert Carter Nicholas], is willing to declare for Independency … I would to God you could be here at its next Convention. It would be happy for us if you [the Delegates] could be all spared on that occasion; if you could, I make no doubt you might easily prevail in the Convention to declare for Independency, and to establish a form of Government.” On the same day, “A. B.”—also at Williamsburg — writes to Alexander Pardie: “The independence of the Colonies daily becomes more and more a topick of very anxious disquisition.” A third letter of the 12th, from Petersburg, says: “In my way through Virginia, I found the inhabitants warm for independence. . . indeed, I hear nothing praised but Common Sense and Independence.” On the 20th”, William Aylett writes to R. H. Lee from King William: “The people of this County almost unanimously cry aloud for Independence.” Two days later, John Augustine Washington writes to the same gentleman from “Liberty Hall”: “I had the pleasure to receive your letter of the 8th April . . . You mention that you have opened the ports to all the world but enemies, but that you are apprehensive this will not do without our promising our aid to any such power as should get involved in a war with Great Britain from attempting to trade with us. I am clearly of opinion that unless we declare openly for Independency there is no chance for foreign aid . . .”

We have also the action of the Committee of Charlotte County, on the 23d — a month before Boston instructed her representatives —, and that of the freeholders of James City, on the 24th. The former (the chairman and 15 members being present) instructed their Delegates to the Convention “to push to the utmost a war offensive and defensive, until you are certified that such proposals of peace are made to our General Congress as shall by them be judged just and friendly. And because the advantages of a trade will better enable us to pay the taxes, and procure the necessaries for carrying on a war, and in our present circumstances this cannot be had without a Declaration of Independence; therefore, if no such proposals of peace shall be made … we give it you in charge, to use your best endeavours that the Delegates which are sent to the General Congress be instructed immediately to cast off the British yoke …” The latter, coming together at Allen’s Ordinary, declared to theirs that they desired them, ” (provided no just and honourable terms are offered by the king,) to exert your utmost abilities, in the next Convention, towards dissolving the connection between America and Great Britain, totally, finally, and irrevocably.”

Even more directly in line with the action soon to be taken by the Convention are the instructions of Buckingham County, though we do not know their date. These “recommend to, and instruct you, as far as your voices will contribute, to cause a total and final separation from Great Britain to take place as soon as possible; or, as we conceive this great point will not come within your immediate province, that, as far as in your power, you cause such instructions to be given to the Delegates from this Colony to the Continental Congress …”

The position of R. H. Lee — soon to be the mover of the resolution — and the position of Jefferson — soon to be the author of the Declaration — and the sentiments of the people of the “upper counties “, as well as the views of Francis Lightfoot Lee, a brother of R. H. Lee, are given later.

The growth of the sentiment in Virginia was being felt even in Philadelphia. On May 1st, Gerry writes to Warren: “Virginia is always to be depended upon; and so fine a spirit prevails among them that, unless you send some of your cool patriots among them, they may be for declaring Independency before Congress is ready.” On the 20th, he says: “I enclose you a Virginia paper, just come in, by which you will see the spirit of another County in that Colony, exhibited in their instructions for Independency.”

Gerry’s later letter (as well as the instructions just given) calls to mind, however, a communication from Landon Carter to Washington, dated “Sabine Hall”, May 9th: “I need only tell you of one definition that I heard of Independency; It was expected to be a form of Government, that by being independt of the rich men every man would then be able to do as he pleasd. And it was with this expectation they sent the men they did [to the Convention], in hopes they would plan such a form. One of the deligates I heard exclaim against that Patrolling laws, because a poor man was made to pay for keeping a rich mans Slaves in order. I shamed the fool so much for that he slunk away; but he got elected by it. Another actually in a most seditious manner, resisted the draughting the militia by lot, to be ready for any immediate local emergency; and he got first returned that way. When we usd [to be] Legislators, such rascals would have been found out; but now, it is not to be supposd, that a dog will eat a dog. I know who I am writing to, and therefore I am not quite so confin’d in my expression, for a more decent language could not explain my meaning so well. And from hence it is that our independency is to arise! Papers it seems are every where circulating about for poor ignorant Creatures to sign, as directions to their delegates to endeavour at an independency. In vain do we ask to let it be explain’d what is design’d by it! If the form of government is to Preserve Justice, Order, Peace and freedom I believe there are few who would refuse; but when these only modes of Social happiness, are left so much concealed, or not toucht upon in the least, what sensible creatures ought to trust an ignorant representative to do what he pleases, under a notion of leaving his Constituents independant?”

Three days before (May 6th) this letter was written, “45 members of the House of Burgesses met at the Capitol [in Williamsburg], pursuant to their last adjournment ; but it being their opinion, that the people could not now be legally represented according to the ancient constitution, which has been subverted by the king, lords, and commons of Great Britain, and consequently dissolved, they unanimously dissolved themselves accordingly. The same day the General Convention of Delegates from the counties and corporations in this colony met at the Capitol . . . Edmund Pendleton was elected President.”

Besides Pendleton, among those present were William Aylett, Bland, Archibald Cary, Dudley Digges, William Fleming, Henry, Richard Lee, Thomas Ludwell Lee, James Madison, George Mason, Nelson, Robert Carter Nicholas, Edmund Randolph, Meriwether Smith and John Augustine Washington. Page appeared on a committee on the 15th.

On the 11th, John Augustine Washington writes, to R. H. Lee: “I hardly think that the grand question will come on before Tuesday next, as this day will be chiefly taken up with the Norfolk business, and on Monday the House is generally thin. When it does there will be much altercation, but I believe no danger but that we shall determine upon taking up Government, but whether they may be so explicit as I could wish in their Instructions to our Delegates I cannot determine, but hope there is no great danger.”

As he anticipated, the Convention, on the 14th, resolved itself into a committee of the whole to take into consideration the state of the Colony.

Edmund Randolph writes: “When the disposition of the people as exhibited by their representatives could not be mistaken, Henry had full indulgence of his own private judgment, and he concerted with Nelson that he (Nelson) should introduce the question of independence, and that Henry should enforce it. Nelson affected nothing of oratory, except what ardent feelings might inspire, and characteristic of himself, he had no fears of his own with which to temporize, and supposing that others ought to have none, he passed over the probabilities of foreign aid, stepped lightly on the difficulties of procuring military stores and the inexperience of officers and soldiers, but pressed a declaration of independence, upon what with him were incontrovertible grounds ; that we were oppressed, had humbly supplicated a redress of grievances which had been refused with insult; and that to return from battle against the sovereign with the cordiality of subjects was absurd. It was expected that a declaration of independence would certainly be passed, and for obvious reasons Mr. Henry seemed allotted to crown his political conduct with this supreme stroke. And yet for a considerable time he talked of the subject as being critical, but without committing himself by a pointed avowal in its favor or a pointed repudiation of it. He thought that a course which put at stake the lives and fortunes of the people should appear to be their own act, and that he ought not to place upon the responsibility of his eloquence, a revolution of which the people might be wearied after the present stimulus should cease to operate. But after some time he appeared in an element for which he was born. To cut the knot which calm prudence was puzzled to untie was worthy of the magnificence of his genius. He entered into no subtlety of reasoning, but was aroused by the now apparent spirit of the people. As a pillar of fire, which notwithstanding the darkness of the prospect would conduct to the promised land, he inflamed, and was followed by the convention.

On the 15th, the committee of the whole, of which Cary was chairman, reported and the Convention (112 members being present) unanimously adopted a resolution which should immortalize the Colony:

Forasmuch as all the endeavours of the United Colonies, by the most decent representations and petitions to the King and Parliament of Great Britain, to restore peace and security to America under the British Government, and a reunion with that people upon just and liberal terms, instead of a redress of grievances, have produced, from an imperious and vindictive Administration, increased insult, oppression, and a vigorous attempt to effect our total destruction : — By a late act all these Colonies are declared to be in rebellion, and out of the protection of the British Crown, our properties subjected to confiscation, our people, when captivated, compelled to join in the murder and plunder of their relations and countrymen, and all former rapine and oppression of Americans declared legal and just; fleets and armies are raised, and the aid of foreign troops engaged to assist these destructive purposes; the King’s representative in this Colony hath not only withheld all the power of Government from operating for our safety, but, having retired on board an armed ship, is carrying on a piratical and savage war against us, tempting our slaves by every artifice to resort to him, and training and employing them against their masters … In this state of extreme danger, we have no alternative left but an abject submission to the will of those overbearing tyrants, or a total separation from the Crown and Government of Great Britain, inviting and exerting all the strength of America for defence, and forming alliances with foreign Powers for commerce and aid in war . . . Wherefore, appealing to the Searcher of hearts for the sincerity of former declarations expressing our desire to preserve the connection with that nation, and that we are driven from that inclination by their wicked councils, and the eternal law of self-preservation:

That the Delegates appointed to represent this Colony in General Congress be instructed to propose to that respectable body to declare the United Colonies free and independent States, absolved from all allegiance to, or dependence upon, the Crown or Parliament of Great Britain ; and that they give the assent of this Colony to such declaration, and to whatever measures may be thought proper and necessary by the Congress for forming foreign alliances, and a Confederation of the Colonies, at such time and in the manner as to them shall seem best:

“In consequence of the above resolution, universally regarded as the only door which will lead to safety and prosperity,” says a newspaper report of the time, “some gentlemen made a handsome collection for the purpose of treating the soldiery, who next day were paraded in Waller’s grove, before Brigadier-General Lewis, attended by the Committee of Safety, members of the General Convention, the inhabitants of this city, &c. &c. The resolution read aloud to the army, the following toasts were given, each of them accompanied by a discharge of the artillery and small arms, and the acclamations of all present. 1. The American independent states. 2. The Grand Congress of the United States, and their respective legislatures. 3. General Washington and victory to the American arms. The UNION FLAG of the American states waived upon the Capitol during the whole of this ceremony, which being ended, the soldiers partook of the refreshment prepared for them by the affection of their countrymen, and the evening concluded with illuminations M and other demonstrations of joy; every one seemed pleased that the domination of Great Britain was now at an end . . .”

Nelson immediately left for Philadelphia to lay the resolution before Congress, which was done, May 27th.

Washington was in Philadelphia at the time — having arrived at 2 o’clock on the afternoon of the 23d —and was delighted.

The progress of events in North Carolina is scarcely less interesting.

Hooper writes, to James Iredell from Philadelphia, January 6th: ” Yes, Britain, it is the criterion of effect our total destruction : — By a late act all these Colonies are declared to be in rebellion, and out of the protection of the British Crown, our properties subjected to confiscation, our people, when captivated, compelled to join in the murder and plunder of their relations and countrymen, and all former rapine and oppression of Americans declared legal and just; fleets and armies are raised, and the aid of foreign troops engaged to assist these destructive purposes; the King’s representative in this Colony hath not only withheld all the power of Government from operating for our safety, but, having retired on board an armed ship, is carrying on a piratical and savage war against us, tempting our slaves by every artifice to resort to him, and training and employing them against their masters … In this state of extreme danger, we have no alternative left but an abject submission to the will of those overbearing tyrants, or a total separation from the Crown and Government of Great Britain, inviting and exerting all the strength of America for defence, and forming alliances with foreign Powers for commerce and aid in war . . . Wherefore, appealing to the Searcher of hearts for the sincerity of former declarations expressing our desire to preserve the connection with that nation, and that we are driven from that inclination by their wicked councils, and the eternal law of self-preservation:

Hewes writes, to Samuel Johnston from the same city, February 11th (and 13th) and 20th and March 1st: “Our friend Hooper has taken an opportunity when he could be best spared from Congress to fly to the Camp at Cambridge to see his Mother, who has lately got out of Boston, he has been gone about Ten days . . . Late last night I received a Letter from him dated New York the 6th; he seems greatly alarmed at the intelligence he had received there . . . The anxiety of my worthy friend for the safety, honour & happiness of our province and for his dearest connections there I imagine has induced him to paint things in the strongest colours to me … I have furnished myself with a good musket & Bayonet, and when I can no longer be usefull in Council I hope I shall be willing to take the field . . . The 13th . . . The only pamphlet88 that has been published here for a long time I now send you; it is a Curiosity; we have not put up any to go by the Waggon, not knowing how you might relish independency. The author is not known; some say Doctor Franklin had a hand in it, he denies it.” “This will be delivered to you by James Thompson and John Crowley who have charge of the Waggon, Horses and sundry Articles that make up the Load … I mentioned to you in my last express that we had not sent any copies of the Pamphlet entitled Common Sense but finding Brother Penn had a fondness for them have agreed some should be sent, the Council can Judge of the propriety of distributing them, let me know your opinion on that head, the Roads being very bad I was advised to put five horses to the Waggon I hope they will all be delivered safe to you . . . John Crowley who is the driver is recommended to me as a man very carefull of Horses and used to the business of driving a Waggon, he can neither read or write and his old master says should not be trusted with money, both the men are to have 3s? day and all expenses born, if they return here, pay them no more money than Just to bear their expenses, they are to be in pay till they arive here provided they come directly back[.]” “We shall send off another Waggon in a day or two with what Powder the new Waggon left, also drums & Colours for your third Regiment . . . N. B. The new Waggon went off eight days ago. I hear it is now no further than Wilmington. That one of the best Horses cut one of his hind feet very much with his shoe and cannot proceed. I have this day sent a carefull person down to purchase another Horse and bring the lame one back if it should be found necessary.”

On the day following the postscript to the first letter, Penn writes, also from Philadelphia, to Thomas Person: “The consequence of making alliances is perhaps a total separation with Britain and without something of that sort we may not be able to provide what is necessary for our defence. My first wish is that America may be free; the second that we may be restored to peace and harmony with Britain upon Just and proper terms. If you find it necessary that the convention should meet sooner than May let us know of it as I wish to return at that time. I have been very sick for two or three days but am getting well again … I send you a pamphlet called ‘Common Sense,’ published here abt a month ago.”

Another letter of Hooper, written to Johnston, March 13th, after Hooper’s return from Boston (to Philadelphia), still more clearly outlines his position. It says: “I most earnestly wish peace and reconciliation upon terms honorable to America. Heaven forbid that I should submit to any other.”

These letters, as appear, all were written at Philadelphia.

A little over a month later (April 15th), as shown by the proceedings of the Provincial Congress of North Carolina, sitting at Halifax, Hooper and Penn, ” Delegates of the Continental Congress and Members of this House, appeared [there], subscribed the Test and took their seats.”

On the 17th (of April), Penn writes (from Halifax), to John Adams: “After a tedious Journey, occasioned] by bad roads and wet weather I arrived here in good health, as I came through Virginia I found the inhabitants desirous to be Independent from Britain . . . North Carolina by far exceeds them occasioned by the great fatigue trouble and danger the People here have undergone, for some time past . . . All regard or fondness for the King or the nation of Britain is gone, a total separation is what they want. Independance is the word most used . . . the Convention have tried to get the opinion of the People at large. I am told that in many Counties there were not one dissenting voice.”

A similar statement is found in a letter from Thomas Ludwell Lee to R. H. Lee, dated Williamsburg, Va., four days earlier: “Gen. Howe, in a letter received yesterday from Halifax . . . says . . . ‘Independence seems to be the word; I know not a dissenting voice.'”

Indeed, ten days before Hooper and Penn arrived at Halifax, Johnston writes from that place to Iredell, his brother-in-law: “Our wagons arrived yesterday with about 2500 pounds of powder, and drums, and colors, for the troops. I have likewise a letter from Hewes of the 20th of last month, but no news except what you have in the newspapers. He seems in despair of a reconciliation; no Commissioners were appointed the 25th of December, and the Parliament was then prorogued to the 20th of January. All our people here are up for independence”; and, three days before they arrived (April 12th), the Provincial Congress, of which Johnston was President, resolved: “That the Delegates … be empowered to concur with the Delegates of the other Colonies in declaring Independency . . .”

Johnston writes, again to Iredell, on the 13th: “The House, in consequence of some very important intelligence received last night, have agreed to impower their delegates at Philadelphia to concur with the other Colonies in entering into foreign alliances, an independence on Great Britain. I cannot be more particular — this is wrote in [Provincial] Congress.”

The new instructions were laid before Congress, May 27th—at the same time, as shown by the Journal, that the instructions (of May 15th) of Virginia were presented to that body.

It is interesting to note that Hewes had written, to Johnston, on the 16th (of May): “I have had the honor to receive your several favours of the 10th, 13th, & 17th ultimo enclosing sundry resolutions of your [Provincial] Congress. I took the earliest opportunity to lay those papers before Congress .. .”

Iredell, afterwards an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, however, under date of June, 1776, is said to have written a pamphlet which is believed to have circulated quite widely in manuscript form among the leading men of North Carolina and which said: “I avoid the unhappy subject of the day, independency. There was a time very lately, within my recollection, when neither myself nor any person I knew, could hear the name but with horror. I know it is a favorite argument against us, and that on which the proceedings of Parliament are most plausibly founded, that this has been our aim since the beginning, and all other attempts were a cloak and disguise to this particular one. If this supposition had been well founded, and a desire of redressing the grievances we complained of had been entertained by government, they might immediately, by granting these, have detected and disappointed the other, or covered us with eternal disgrace, if we avowed it. But it is sufficient to say, our professions have been all solemnly to the contrary; we have never taken any one step which really indicated such a view; its suggestion has no more foundation than mere suspicion, which might countenance any falsehood whatever, and every man in America knows that this is one of the most egregious falsehoods ever any people were duped with. But so it was. This error they have been captivated with, and it has lead them, as well as us, to the brink of destruction. Its consequences are now only to be deplored, not, I fear, to be remedied. I may venture to say, the dread, or the pretended dread, of this evil, has almost produced it. The suspicion, though so ill founded, has been, previously, the parent of all the violent acts that now irritate the minds of the Americans. Some are inflamed enough to wish for independence, and all are reduced to so unhappy a condition as to dread at last that they shall be compelled in their own defence to embrace it. I confess myself of the latter number, in exclusion of the former. I am convinced America is in no such a situation as to entitle her to consider it as a just object of ambition, and I have no idea of people forming constitutions from revenge. A just and constitutional connection with Great Britain (if such could be obtained) I still think, in spite of every provocation, would be happier for America, for a considerable time to come, than absolute independence. No man can disdain, more than I do, the uniform and cruel violence of our oppressors’ conduct. But I make a distinction between the ministry, and even the Parliament, and the people of England. These last I do not consider as accessory in all the oppressions we have sustained. Many, I have no doubt, are great criminals, but more, I am persuaded, are deceived by false and wicked information. Great things have been attempted in our defence. But the misfortune is, the inadequacy of the representation, and the corruption so universal, leave little to the real voice of the people. If it is said that these causes may always give us such a Ministry and Parliament, I answer, that I form no idea of any reconciliation but where we shall have full security that even these can do us no essential injury, unless we conspire to it ourselves. In political affairs we are not always at liberty to choose what is best in the abstract, but what may be found so in practice. I can see no establishment in America, no turn to its affairs, that is likely to arise of a happier nature than such a re-union. But if a re-union is not practicable but upon terms of dishonor, if one essential point is required as a sacrifice to obtain it, I should spurn at the idea as scandalous and disgraceful; and in such an event or on any occasion whatever, if independency should become necessary to our safety, I should not hesitate an instant in giving my assent to it.”

The last instructions of the Provincial Congress of South Carolina before the adoption of the Declaration are dated March 23d and declare: “That the Delegates … or a majority of such of them as shall at any time be present in . . . Congress, or any one of the said Delegates, if no more than one shall be present, be . . . authorized, and empowered … to concert, agree to, and execute, every measure which they or he, together with a majority of the Continental Congress, shall judge necessary, for the defence, security, interest, or welfare of this Colony in particular, and of America in general.”

These instructions, like those of Massachusetts, of course, might be construed to imply a power to join in a declaration of independence; but they — much less doubtless than those of the Commonwealth — evidently were not so intended to be construed. Indeed, the government formed a few days later was expressly declared to be formed to exist only “until an accommodation of the unhappy differences between Great Britain and America can be obtained, (an event which, though traduced and treated as Rebels, we still earnestly desire,)”; and when, previously, on the 10th of February, Laurens, of the committee charged with drafting a proposed form of government, had made his report, a debate, says John Drayton, had occurred as follows: “Col. Gadsden ([having arrived from Philadelphia on the evening of the 8th and] having brought the first copy of Paine’s pamphlet entitled ‘Common Sense? &c.) boldly declared himself, not only in favour of the form of government; but, for the absolute Independence of America. This last sentiment, came like an explosion of thunder upon the members of Congress; as the resolution of the Continental Congress, upon which, the report for a form of government was grounded, had by no means led them to anticipate so decisive a step; neither had the majority of the members at that time, any thoughts of aspiring at independence. A distinguished member in particular, declared he abhorred the idea; and that he was willing to ride post, by day and night, to Philadelphia, in order to assist, in re-uniting Great Britain and America: and another called the author of Common Sense.

Then the few, who wished for independence, thought Col. Gadsden imprudent in thus suddenly declaring for it; when, the house was unprepared for considering a matter of such great importance.”

Among the people at large, by April, however, there would seem to have been more than a few who favored independence; for, on April 12th, a gentleman writes from Petersburg, Va.: “I spent last evening with Mr. _____, from South-Carolina. He tells me that the people there have no expectation of ever being reconciled with Britain again but only as a foreign State”: and we know that David Ramsay (evidently the historian), as early as February 14th, writes, from Charleston to Rush: “Who is the author of common sense? I can scarce refrain from adoring the venerable man He deserves a statue of Gold.”

Indeed, on April 23d — the day of the instructions of Charlotte County, Va.—, the Chief Justice, at the opening of the courts in Charleston, charged the grand jury thus: “The law of the land authorizes me to declare, and it is my duty to declare the law, that George the Third, king of Great Britain, has abdicated the government, that he has no authority over us, and we owe no obedience to him . . . True reconcilement never can exist between Great Britain and America, the latter being in subjection to the former. The Almighty created America to be independent of Britain; to refuse our labors in this divine work, is to refuse to be a great, a free, a pious, and a happy people!” It was a declaration of independence!

Georgia instructed her Delegates, April 5th: “Our remote situation [impels us to] . . . decline giving any particular instructions . . . We . . . shall rely upon your patriotism, abilities, firmness, and integrity, to propose, join, and concur, in all such measures as you shall think calculated for the common good, and to oppose such as shall appear destructive.”

Thus North Carolina was the first to authorize (April 12th) her Delegates “to concur with the Delegates of the other colonies in declaring Independency” — the word itself being used; and thus Virginia was the first to authorize (May 15th) her Delegates “to propose [to Congress] … to declare the United Colonies free and independent States . . .”

One of the strongest factors in bringing about the change of feeling in the Colonies was Common Sense.

John Adams, in his Autobiography, under date of “September, 1775”, says: “In the course of this winter appeared a phenomenon in Philadelphia, a disastrous meteor, I mean Thomas Paine. He came from England, and got into such company as would converse with him, and ran about picking up what information he could concerning our affairs, and finding the great question was concerning independence, he gleaned from those he saw the common-place arguments, such as the necessity of independence some time or other; the peculiar fitness at this time; the justice of it; the provocation to it; our ability to maintain it, &c. &c. Dr. Rush put him upon writing on the subject, furnished him with the arguments which had been urged in Congress a hundred times, and gave him his title of ‘Common Sense.’ In the latter part of the winter, or early in the spring, he came out with his pamphlet. The arguments in favor of independence I liked very well . . . [They were] clearly written, and contained a tolerable summary of the arguments which I had been repeating again and again in Congress for nine months. But I am bold to say there is not a fact nor a reason stated in it, which had not been frequently urged in Congress . . . It has been a general opinion that this pamphlet was of great importance in the Revolution. I doubted it at the time, and have doubted it to this day. It probably converted some to the doctrine of independence, and gave others an excuse for declaring in favor of it. But these would all have followed Congress with zeal; and on the other hand it excited many writers against it, particularly ‘Plain Truth,’ who contributed very largely to fortify and inflame the party against independence, and finally lost us the Allens, Penns, and many other persons of weight in the community . . .”

Bartlett writes to Langdon from Philadelphia, February 19, 1776: “The pamphlet Common Sense has already had three editions in this City; in the last there is an Appendix and large additions; it has also been reprinted at New York; by the best information it has had a great effect on the minds of many here and to the Southward [.]”

Common Sense says:

I challenge the warmest advocate for reconciliation, to show a single advantage that this continent can reap by being connected with Great Britain . . .

But the injuries and disadvantages we sustain by that connection are without number … It is the true interest of America to steer clear of European contentions, which she never can do while, by her dependance on Britain, she is made the makeweight in the scale of British politics.

. . . Everything that is right or natural pleads for separation. The blood of the slain, the weeping voice of nature cries, ’tis time to part . . .

Though I would carefully avoid giving unnecessary offense, yet I am inclined to believe, that all those who espouse the doctrine of reconciliation may be included within the following descriptions:

Interested men, who are not to be trusted; weak men, who cannot see; prejudiced men, who will not see; and a certain set of moderate men who think better of the European world than it deserves; and this last class, by an ill-judged deliberation, will be the cause of more calamities to this continent than all the other three . . .

. . . bring the doctrine of reconciliation to the touchstone of nature, and then tell me whether you can hereafter love, honor, and faithfully serve the power that hath carried fire and sword into your land . . .

. . . Reconciliation is now a fallacious dream. Nature hath deserted the connection, and art cannot supply her place . . .

I am not induced by motives of pride, party, or resentment to espouse the doctrine of separation and independence; I am clearly, positively, and conscientiously persuaded that it is the true interest of this continent to be so; that everything short of that is mere patchwork; that it can afford no lasting felicity, — that it is leaving the sword to our children, and shrinking back at a time, when a little more, a little further, would have rendered this continent the glory of the earth . . .

. . . No man was a warmer wisher for reconciliation than myself before the fatal nineteenth of April, 1775 . . .

Ye that tell us of harmony and reconciliation, can ye restore to us the time that is passed? Can ye give to prostitution its former innocence? Neither can ye reconcile Britain and America. The last chord now is broken; the people of England are presenting addresses against us. There are injuries which nature cannot forgive; she would cease to be nature if she did. As well can the lover forgive the ravisher of his mistress . . .

Another very important factor was the Act declaring the Colonists out of the King’s protection.

As early as December 21, 1775, a gentleman, writing from London of this “bill which has now passed both Houses of Parliament, and will, in a few days, receive the royal assent,” and which treated “the Colonies as enemies,” says: “They cannot be enemies and subjects at the same time . . . The publick begins to conceive that these measures will sever America forever from this country. The Ministry are so conscious of it, that they have hired Dean Tucker to soften the business, by persuading the people that it will be no loss.”

Francis Lightfoot Lee writes, from Philadelphia to “my dear friend” Landon Carter, “Favor’d by Mr Howe”, March 18th (1776): “Before this I suppose you have rec’d a copy of Common sense which I sent you some time ago, if not I now send a parcel to Col Taylor of whome you may have one Our late King & his Parliament having declared us Rebels & Enemies confiscated our property as far as they were likely to lay hands on it have effectually decided the question for us, whether or no[t] we shall be independent all we have now to do is to endeavour to reconcile ourselves to the state it has pleased Providence to put us into and indeed upon taking a near & full look at the thing it does not frighten so much as when view’d at a distance. I can’t think we shall be injured by having a free trade with all the world instead of its being confined to one place whose riches might always be used to our ruin nor does it appear to me that we shall suffer any disadvantage by having our Legislatures uncontrolled by a power so far removed from us that our circumstances can’t be known whose interests is often directly contrary to ours and over which we have no manner of controul indeed great part of that power being at present lodged in the hands of a most gracious Prince whose tender mercies we have often experienced; it must wring the heart of all good men to part but I hope we shall have Christian fortitude enough to bear with partience & even cheerfulness the decrees of a really most gracious King. The danger of Anarchy & confusion I think altogether Chimerical [wildly fanciful; highly unrealistic] the good behaviors of the Americans with no Government at all proves them very capable of good Government. But my dear Col. I am so fond of peace that I wish to see an end of these distractions upon terms that will secure America from future outrages but from all our intelligence I really despair. There is such an inveteracy in the & his advisers that we need not expect any other alternative than slavery or separation is it not prudent therefore to fit our minds to the state that is inevitable. Virginia it seems is considered at home as most liable to deception & seduction & therefore the Commissioners are to bend their chief force that way backed by a considerable detachment of the Army. I hope it will turn to the honor of my Country as it will afford a opportunity for showing their Virtue & good sense. Col Taylor has news—I wrote yesterday to my friend Col R Carter . . . Gen’l Lee who has the Southern Command . . . [has] some thought of passing thro Richmond, best respects to Sabin Hall[.]”

John Adams, in a letter to Gates, dated Philadelphia, March 23d, writes: “I know not whether you have seen the Act of Parliament call’d the restraining Act, or prohibitory Act, or piratical Act, or plundering Act, or Act of Independency, for by all these titles is it called. — I think the most apposite is the Act of Independency, for King Lords and Commons have united in sundering this Country and that I think forever. — It is a compleat Dismemberment of the British Empire.— It throws thirteen Colonies out of the Royal Protection, levels all Distinctions and makes us independent in Spite of all our Supplications and Entreaties. — It may be fortunate that the Act of Independency should come from the British Parliament, rather than the American Congress: But it is very odd that Americans should hesitate at accepting such a Gift from them — However, my dear Friend Gates, all our Misfortunes arise from a single Source, the Reluctance of the southern Colonies to Republican Government . . . each Colony should establish its own Government, and then a League should be formed, between them all.”

Indeed, so strong was the feeling in the Colonies following and because of this Act that the promised coming of the so-called “peace commissioners “, with the hope of probable reconciliation thus held out, was all that deterred very many from taking a bold stand for an immediate declaration.

Joseph Reed writes, from Philadelphia to Washington, March 3d : ” . . . there is a strange reluctance in the minds of many to cut the knot which ties us to Great Britain, particularly in this colony and to the southward. Though no man of understanding expects any good from the commissioners, yet they are for waiting to hear their proposals before they declare off”, and, March 15th: “We every Moment expect to hear of these Gentry’s Arrival … A little Time will show what we are to expect from the new Project. In my Part I can see nothing to be hoped from it but it has laid fast hold of some here & made its Impression on the Congress. It is said the Virginians are so alarmed with the Idea of Independence that they have sent Mr Braxton [He arrived, February 23d] on Purpose to turn the Vote of that Colony, if any Question on that Subject should come before Congress. To tell you the Truth my dear Sir, I am infinitely more afraid of these Commissioners than their Generals & Armies—If their Propositions are plausible & Behaviour artful I am apprehensive they will divide us — There is so much Suspicion in Congress & so much Party on this Subject, that very little more Fuel is required to kindle the Flame. It is high Time for the Colonies to begin a gradual Change of Delegates — private Pique, Prejudice & Suspicion will make its Way into the Breasts of even good Men sitting long in such a Council as ours, & whenever that is the Case their Deliberations will be disturbed & the publick Interest of course suffer . . . Mr Deane of Connecticut is gone to Europe his Errand may be guessed tho little is said about it.—”

Duane writes, to R. R. Livingston from Philadelphia, March 20th: ” . . . my friend Chase . . . has promised me to call on you at Clermont. He will with pleasure communicate every thing worth your knowledge. You will find that his usual warmth is not abated and that though closely attached to his friends he still keeps the start of them in his political system. The social intercourse which was formed amongst the Delegates of the five middle Colonies and North Carolina has suffered no diminution, and I am persuaded they would all combine to give you pleasure . . . When I first wrote to you I expected soon to have visited my family a happiness of which I have too long been deprived! But such is the critical state of my dear native country, and so slender has been our own representation that I could not reconcile it to my ideas of the important trust of which I partake. Whether we shall be reconciled to Great Britain or separated from her perhaps forever? is a question which a few weeks may probably decide; and on which the happiness of millions may depend. I wish for peace if it can be accompanied by liberty and safety. I expect little from the justice and less from the generosity of administration; but I am not without hopes that the interest of Great Britain will compel her ministers to offer us reasonable terms. I am unwilling that while Commissioners are daily looked for, we should by any irrevocable measure tie up our hands, and put it out of our power to terminate this destructive war. I do not think this line of conduct incompatible with the most vigorous efforts for our defence in the ensuing campaign. — I believe it to be agreeable to the sense of our constituents which would alone be decisive with me.— under these impressions, I wait for the expected propositions with painful anxiety. If they should prove oppressive or frivolous we will be at no loss to form a judgment of the consequences.”

The effect upon Robert Morris is shown by a letter from him of April 6th, from Philadelphia to Gates: “Where the plague are these Commissioners, if they are to come what is it that detains them; It is time we shou’d be on a Certainty & know positively whether the Liberties of America can be established & secured by reconciliation, or whether we must totally renounce Connection with Great Britain & fight our way to a total Independence. Whilst we Continue thus firmly United amongst ourselves there’s no doubt but either of these points may be carried, but it seems to me, We shall quarrel about which of these roads is best to pursue unless the Commissioners appear soon and lead us into the first path, therefore I wish them to come, dreading nothing so much as even an appearance of division amongst ourselves—”

We have already seen a letter from Stone, of April 24th.

Meanwhile, as already shown by Reed’s letter, the struggle in Congress had become more bitter: so much so that it extended to the different members of a delegation.

John Adams, in his Autobiography, under date of February 29th, says: “. . . [Harrison] seemed to be set up in opposition to Mr. Richard Henry Lee. Jealousies and divisions appeared among the delegates of no State more remarkably than among those of Virginia . . . I asked the reason; for Mr. Lee appeared a scholar, a gentleman, a man of uncommon eloquence, and an agreeable man. Mr. Wythe said . . . this was all true, but Mr. Lee had, when he was very young, and when he first came into the House of Burgesses, moved and urged on an inquiry into the state of the treasury, which was found deficient in large sums, which had been lent by the treasurer to many of the most influential families of the country, who found themselves exposed, and had never forgiven Mr. Lee . . . These feelings among the Virginia delegates were a great injury to us. Mr. Samuel Adams and myself were very intimate with Mr. Lee, and he agreed perfectly with us in the great system of our policy, and by his means we kept a majority of the delegates of Virginia with us. But Harrison, Pendleton, and some others showed their jealousy of this intimacy plainly enough at times. Harrison consequently courted Mr. Hancock and some other of our colleagues, but we had now a majority, and gave ourselves no trouble about their little intrigues.”

He tells us (in his Autobiography) also that he had been appointed (October 28, 1775) Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Judicature of his Colony and: “I soon found [after the return to Congress on February 9, 1776], there was a whispering among the partisans in opposition to independence, that I was interested; that I held an office under the new government of Massachusetts; that I was afraid of losing it, if we did not declare independence; and that I consequently ought not to be attended to. This they circulated so successfully, that they got it insinuated among the members of the legislature in Maryland, where their friends were powerful enough to give an instruction to their delegates in Congress, warning them against listening to the advice of interested persons, and manifestly pointing me out to the understanding of every one . . . These chuckles I was informed of, and witnessed for many weeks, and at length they broke out in a very extraordinary manner. When I had been speaking one day on the subject of independence, or the institution of governments, which I always considered as the same thing, a gentleman of great fortune and high rank rose and said, he should move, that no person who held any office under a new government should be admitted to vote on any such question, as they were interested persons … I rose from my seat with great coolness and deliberation . . . and said: ‘. . . I will second the gentleman’s motion, and I recommend it to the honorable gentleman to second another which I should make, namely, that no gentleman who holds any office under the old or present government should be admitted to vote on any such question, as they are interested persons.’ The moment when this was pronounced, it flew like an electric stroke through every countenance in the room, for the gentleman who made the motion held as high an office under the old government as I did under the new, and many other members present held offices under the royal government . . . This whole scene was a comedy to Charles Thomson, whose countenance was in raptures all the time. When all was over, he told me he had been highly delighted with it, because he had been witness to many of their conversations, in which they had endeavored to excite and propagate prejudices against me . . .

He says that in May there were continued altercations in Congress over General Wooster, Commodore Hopkins and a Mr. Wrixon and that “These three consumed an immense quantity of time, and kept up the passions of the parties to a great height. One design was to divert us from our main object.”

The “main object” was a declaration of independence or its equivalent.

As early as January 9th, as shown by the Diary of Richard Smith: “Wilson moved and was strongly supported that the Congress may expressly declare to their Constituents and the World their present Intentions respecting an Independency, observing that the Kings Speech directly charged Us with that Design, he was opposed but Friday was fixed for going into that Affair. Several Members said that if a Foreign Force shall be sent here, they are willing to declare the Colonies in a State of Independent Sovereignty.”

Of this motion, Samuel Adams writes, to John Adams, who, as we have seen, was then on leave of absence: “The Motion alarmed me — I thought Congress had already been explicit enough and was apprehensive that we might get ourselves on dangerous Ground — Some of us prevailed so far as to have the Matter postponed, but could not prevent the assigning a Day to consider it — I may perhaps have been wrong in opposing this Motion, and I ought the rather to suspect it, because the Majority of your Colony as well as of the Congress were of a different Mind[.]”

The Diary of Richard Smith shows also (under the following dates): “[January 24th] most of the Day was spent on a Proposal to address the People of America our Constituents deducing the Controversy ab Initio [fromthe beginning] and informing them of our Transactions and of the present State of Affairs, much was said about Independency and the Mode and Propriety of stating our Dependance on the King, a Com[mittee] was appointed to draw the Address.” “[February 13th] Wilson brought in the Draught of an Address to our Constituents which was very long, badly written and full against Independency [.]” “[February 16th] Wythe also offered Propositions whereof the first was that the Colonies have a Right to contract Alliances with Foreign Powers, an Objection being offered that this was Independency there ensued much Argument upon that Ground . . .” “[February 21st] Wm. Livingston moved that the Thanks of the Congress be given to Dr Smith for his Oration on Gen. Montgomery and that he be desired to make it public, this was objected to for several Reasons the chief was that the Dr declared the Sentiments of the Congress to continue in a Dependency on Grt Britain which Doctrine this Congress cannot now approve, Principal Speakers for the Motion Duane, Wilson, Willing, against it Chase, John Adams, Wythe E Rutledge, Wolcott, Sherman at length Mr Livingston withdrew his Motion.” “[February 29th] 4 Hours were spent in Grand Com[mittee] on Trade without any Conclusion . . . the Points now agitated were the Expediency and Probability of contracting foreign Commercial Alliances and chiefly with France and Spain, and the Advantages and Disadvantages of attempting to carry on Trade in our present Circumstances, much was said about declaring our Independency on Grt Britain when it appeared that 5 or 6 Colonies have instructed their Delegates not to agree to an Independency till they, the Principals are consulted . . .”

Wythe, during the discussions, sometime before March 1st, as shown by John Adams’ debates, declared: “If we should offer our trade to the Court of France, would they take notice of it any more than if Bristol or Liverpool should offer theirs, while we profess to be subjects? No. We must declare ourselves a free people.”

Reed writes, from Philadelphia, to Pettit, March 3d: “I look upon separation from the Mother Country as a certain event, though we are not yet so familiarized to the idea as thoroughly to approve it . . . The Congress are paving the way to a Declaration of Independence, but I believe will not make it until the minds of the people are better prepared for it than as yet they are.”

The important entries on the subject in the Diary of Richard Smith during this month are as follows: “[March 9th] Instructions for the Commissioners] going to Canada . . . took up 3 or 4 Hours . . . that Part recommend’g to them [to] form a Constitution and Government for themselves without Limitation [of] Time which Jay and others said was an Independency and there was much Argument on this Ground[.]” “[March 22d] Wythe reported the Preamble about Privateering, he and Lee moved an Amend! wherein the King was made the Author of our Miseries instead of the Ministry, it was opposed on Supposition that this was effectually severing the King from Us forever and ably debated for 4 Hours when Maryland interposed its Veto and put it off till Tomorrow, Chief Speakers for the Amendment Lee, Chase, Sergeant, Harrison, against it Jay, Wilson, Johnson.”

On the 23d (of March), John Adams, in his letter to Gates, writes: “I agree with you, that in Politicks the Middle Way is none at all . . . We have hitherto conducted half a War, acted upon the Line of Defence &c &c — But you will see by tomorrows Paper, that for the future We are likely to wage three Quarters of a War. — The Continental Ships of War, and Provincial Ships of War, and Letters of Mark and Privateers are permitted to cruise upon British Property, wherever found on the Ocean. This is not Independency you know, nothing like it. If a Post or two more, should bring you unlimited latitude of Trade to all Nations, and a polite Invitation to all nations, to trade with you, take care that you don’t call it, or think it Independency. No such Matter — Independency is an Hobgoblin, of so frightful Mein, that it would throw a delicate Person into Fits to look it in the Face.”

On April 12th, he sends an epistle to his wife in which we read: “The ports are opened wide enough at last, and privateers are allowed to prey upon British trade. This is not independency, you know. What is? Why, government in every colony, a confederation among them all, and treaties with foreign nations to acknowledge us a sovereign State, and all that.”

A letter from him dated two days later says: “As to declarations of independency, be patient. Read our privateering laws and our commercial laws. What signifies a word?”

Had the telegraph then threaded the country as now, he would already have known, by the morning of the 13th, that, while he was writing his wife, North Carolina was, as we have seen, empowering her “Delegates . . . to concur with the Delegates of the other Colonies in declaring Independency . . .”

Less than a month later (May 10th), Congress took into consideration and adopted a resolution ” brought before the Committee of the whole house, in concert between” R. H. Lee and John Adams, which the latter considered “an epocha, a decisive event.”

The words of the resolution, as given in the Journal, were: “That it be recommended to the respective Assemblies and conventions of the united colonies where no government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs have been hitherto established to adopt such government as shall in the opinion of the representatives of the people best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular and America in general.”

John Adams, Edward Rutledge and R. H. Lee were chosen a committee to prepare a preamble. Their report was agreed to on the 15th, and it was then ordered that both the resolution and the preamble be published. The preamble, as shown by the Journal, declared: “Whereas his Britannic Majesty in conjunction with the lords and commons of great Britain has by a late act of Parliament excluded the inhabitants of these united colonies from the protection of his crown And whereas no answer whatever to the humble petitions of the colonies for redress of grievances & reconciliation with great Britain has been or is likely to be given . . . And whereas … it is necessary that the exercise of every kind of authority under the said crown should be totally suppressed . . .”

Two days later, John Adams writes to his wife: “When I consider the great events which are passed, and those greater which are rapidly advancing, and that I may have been instrumental in touching some springs and turning some small wheels, which have had and will have such effects, I feel an awe upon my mind which is not easily described. Great Britain has at last driven America to the last step: a complete separation from her; a total, absolute independence, not only of her Parliament, but of her Crown, for such is the amount of the resolve of the 15th.” In his Autobiography, he says: “Mr. Duane called it to me, a machine for the fabrication of independence. I said, smiling, I thought it was independence itself, but we must have it with more formality yet.” “It was indeed, on all hands, considered by men of understanding as equivalent to a declaration of independence, though a formal declaration of it was still opposed by Mr. Dickinson and his party.”

Gerry, on the 20th, says, to Warren: “It appears to me that the eyes of every unbeliever are now open; that all are sensible of the perfidy of Great Britain, and are convinced there is no medium between unqualified submission and actual Independency. The Colonies are determined on the latter. A final declaration is approaching with great rapidity. Amidst all our difficulties, you would be highly diverted to see the situation of our ‘moderate gentlemen.’ . . . They are coming over to us . . .”

Indeed, while these letters were travelling northward, Nelson, as we have seen, was on his way to Philadelphia with the resolution of the Convention of Virginia instructing her Delegates to propose to Congress to declare independence. These instructions, as well as those of North Carolina, as we have seen, were laid before Congress on the 27th.

On the 31st, Gerry writes to Joseph Palmer : “The Conviction which ye late Measures of Administration have brought to ye Minds of doubting Persons has such an Effect, that I think yc Colonies cannot long remain an independent depending People, but that they will declare themselves as their Interest & Safety have long required, entirely separated from ye prostituted Government of Grt Britain. Upon this Subject I have wrote to our Friend Col: Orne & beg leave to refer you thereto — The principal object of our attention at this important Time I think should be ye Manufacturing Arms, Lead & Cloathing, & obtaining Flints, for I suppose since ye Measures adopted by North Carolina and Virginia that there cannot remain a Doubt with our Assembly of ye propriety of declaring for Independency and therefore that our Tho’ts will be mostly directed to ye Means for supporting it.”

John Adams also felt at once that the goal was near. “It has ever appeared to me “, he writes to Henry, June 3d, “that the natural course and order of things was this; for every colony to institute a government; for all the colonies to confederate, and define the limits of the continental Constitution; then to declare the colonies a sovereign state, or a number of confederated states; and last of all, to form treaties with foreign powers. But I fear we cannot proceed systematically, and that we shall be obliged to declare ourselves independent States, before we confederate, and indeed before all the colonies have established their governments. It is now pretty clear that all these measures will follow one another in a rapid succession, and it may not perhaps be of much importance which is done first.”
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THOMAS PAINE’S COMMON SENSE (1776): A Prophetic Warning to America

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NOTE: When I read the excerpt in the picture above it inspires great admiration for the men who (led by God) framed this nation! How great and how awesome they must have felt, they KNEW they were doing it for the glory of God and for his son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Many like Paine, expressed just those sentiments in their writings. They created this nation out of a love and reverence for God, and for their fellow man. If you do not know many of the original founders were against and fought against slavery, even though some owned slaves themselves, they found the practice abhorrent, and due to feeling the need to compromise with two of the southern colonies delegates who would not support it otherwise, Jefferson omitted his anti-slavery paragraph from what became the Declaration of Independence. However in their wisdom, they left that question open, to be answered by later generations of their descendents, who answered; “Indeed! All men are created equal and there will be no slavery amongst US!”

Adding this in preparation for Chapter 3 of  “The Declaration of Independence: Its History”

The entire text of Paine’s “Common Sense” written in 1776

See also: Thomas Paine’s Epistle to Quakers: War of Independence and 2nd Amendment

THOMAS PAINE’S COMMON SENSE: ADDRESSED TO THE INHABITANTS OF AMERICA, ON THE FOLLOWING INTERESTING SUBJECTS, viz.

I. OF THE ORIGIN AND DESIGN OF GOVERNMENT IN GENERAL; WITH CONCISE REMARKS ON THE ENGLISH CONSTITUTION.

II. OF MONARCHY AND HEREDITARY SUCCESSION.

III. THOUGHTS ON THE PRESENT STATE OF AMERICAN AFFAIRS.

IV. OF THE PRESENT ABILITY OF AMERICA; WITH SOME MISCELLANEOUS REFLECTIONS.

TO WHICH IS ADDED AN APPENDIX.

Man knows no master save creating heaven,
Or those whom choice and common good ordain.
                                                                         Thompson.

Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defence of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.

As a long and violent abuse of power is generally the means of calling the right of it in question, (and in matters too which might never have been thought of, had not the sufferers been aggravated into the inquiry,) and as the king of England hath undertaken in his own right, to support the parliament in what he calls theirs, and as the good people of this country are grievously oppressed by the combination, they have an undoubted privilege to inquire into the pretensions of both, and equally to reject the usurpations of either.

In the following sheets, the author hath studiously avoided every thing which is personal among ourselves. Compliments as well as censure to individuals make no part thereof. The wise and the worthy need not the triumph of a pamphlet; and those whose sentiments are injudicious or unfriendly, will cease of themselves, unless too much pains is bestowed upon their conversion.

The cause of America is, in a great measure, the cause of all mankind. Many circumstances have, and will arise, which are not local, but universal, and through which the principles of all lovers of mankind are affected, and in the event of which, their affections are interested. The laying a country desolate with fire and sword, declaring war against the natural rights of all mankind, and extirpating the defenders thereof from the face of the earth, is the concern of every man to whom nature hath given the power of feeling; of which class, regardless of party censure, is the AUTHOR.
Philadelphia, Feb. 14, 1776.

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COMMON SENSE.

ON THE ORIGIN AND DESIGN OF GOVERNMENT IN
GENERAL, WITH CONCISE REMARKS ON
THE ENGLISH CONSTITUTION.

Some writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins. Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last is a punisher.

Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries by a government, which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence which in every other case advises him out of two evils to choose the least. Wherefore, security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows that whatever form thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us, with the least expence and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others.

In order to gain a clear and just idea of the design and end of government, let us suppose a small number of persons settled in some sequestered part of the earth, unconnected with the rest, they will then represent the first peopling of any country, or of the world. In this state of natural liberty, society will be their first thought. A thousand motives will excite them thereto; the strength of one man is so unequal to his wants, and his mind so unfitted for perpetual solitude, that he is soon obliged to seek assistance and relief of another, who in his turn requires the same. Four or five united, would be able to raise a tolerable dwelling in the midst of a wilderness, but one man might labour out the common period of life without accomplishing any thing; when he had felled his timber he could not remove it, nor erect it after it was removed: hunger in the mean time would urge him from his work, and every different want would call him a different way. Disease, nay even misfortune, would be death, for though neither might be mortal, yet either would disable him from living, and reduce him to a state in which he might rather be said to perish than to die.

Thus necessity, like a gravitating power, would soon form our newly arrived emigrants into society, the reciprocal blessings of which, would supercede, and render the obligations of law and government unnecessary while they remained perfectly just to each other; but as nothing but heaven is impregnable to vice, it will unavoidably happen, that in proportion as they surmount the first difficulties of emigration, which bound them together in a common cause, they will begin to relax in their duty and attachment to each other; and this remissness will point out the necessity of establishing some form of government to supply the defect of moral virtue.

Some convenient tree will afford them a state-house, under the branches of which the whole colony may assemble to deliberate on public matters. It is more than probable that their first laws will have the title only of Regulation?, and be enforced by no other penalty than public disesteem. In this first parliament every man by natural right will have a seat.

But as the colony increases, the public concerns will increase likewise, and the distance at which the members may be separated, will render it too inconvenient for all of them to meet on every occasion as at first, when their number was small, their habitations near, and the public concerns few and trifling. This will point out the convenience of their consenting to leave the legislative part to be managed by a select number chosen from the whole body, who are supposed to have the same concerns at stake which those have who appointed them, and who will act in the same manner as the whole body would were they present. If the colony continue increasing, it will become necessary to augment the number of representatives, and that the interest of every part of the colony may be attended to, it will be found best to divide the whole into convenient parts, each part sending its proper number; and that the elected might never form to themselves an interest separate from the electors, prudence will point out the propriety of having elections often: because as the elected might by that means return and mix again with the general body of the electors, in a few months, their fidelity to the public will be secured by the prudent reflection of not making a rod for themselves. And as this frequent interchange will establish a common interest with every part of the community, they will mutually and naturally support each other, and on this, (not on the unmeaning name of King,) depends the strength of government and the happiness of the governed.

Here, then, is the origin and rise of government; namely, a mode rendered necessary by the inability of moral virtue to govern the world; here too is the design and end of government, viz. freedom and security. And however our eyes may be dazzled with show, or our ears deceived by sound; however prejudice may warp our wills, or interest darken our understanding, the simple voice of nature and reason will say, it is right.

I draw my idea of the form of government from a principle in nature, which no art can overturn, viz. that the more simple any thing is, the less liable it is to be disordered; and the easier repaired when disordered; and with this maxim in view, I offer a few remarks on the so much boasted constitution of England. That it was noble for the dark and slavish times in which it was erected, is granted. When the world was overrun with tyranny the least remove therefrom was a glorious rescue. But that it is imperfect, subject to convulsions, and incapable of producing what it seems to promise is easily demonstrated.

Absolute governments, (though the disgrace of human nature,) have this advantage with them, that they are simple; if the people suffer, they know the head from which their suffering springs, know likewise the remedy, and are not bewildered by a variety of causes and cures. But the constitution of England is so exceedingly complex, that the nation may suffer for years together without being able to discover in which part the fault lies, some will say in one and some in another, and every political physician will advise a different medicine.

I know it is difficult to get over local or long standing prejudices, yet if we will suffer ourselves to examine the component parts of the English constitution, we shall find them to be the base remains of two ancient tyrannies, compounded with some new republican materials.

  1. —The remains of monarchical tyranny in the person of the king.
  2. —The remains of aristocratical tyranny in the persons of the peers.
  3. —The new republican materials, in the persons of the commons, on whose virtue depends the freedom of England.

The two first, by being hereditary, are independent of the people; wherefore in a constitutional sense they contribute nothing towards the freedom of the state.

To say that the constitution of England is a union of three powers, reciprocally checking each other, is farcical, either the words have no meaning, or they are flat contradictions.

To say that the commons is a check upon the king, presupposes two things.

  1. —That the king is not to be trusted without being looked after, or in other words, that a thirst for absolute power, is the natural disease of monarchy.
  2. —That the commons by being appointed for that purpose, are either wiser or more worthy of confidence than the crown.

But as the same constitution which gives the commons a power to check the king by withholding the supplies, gives afterwards the king a power to check the commons, by empowering him to reject their other bills; it again supposes that the king is wiser than those whom it has already supposed to be wiser than him. A mere absurdity!

There is something exceedingly ridiculous in the composition of monarchy; it first excludes a man from the means of information, yet empowers him to act in cases where the highest judgment is required. The state of a king shuts him from the world, yet the business of a king requires him to know it thoroughly; wherefore the different parts, by unnaturally opposing and destroying each other, prove the whole character to be absurd and useless.

Some writers have explained the English constitution thus the king, say they, is one, the people another; the peers are a house in behalf of the king; the commons in behalf of the people; but this hath all the distinctions of a house divided against itself; [New Testament: Gospel of Mark 3:25] and though the expressions be pleasantly arranged, yet when examined they appear idle and ambiguous; and it will always happen, that the nicest construction that words are capable of, when applied to the description of something which either cannot exist, or is too incomprehensible to be within the compass, of description, will be words of sound only, and though they may amuse the ear, they cannot inform the mind, for this explanation includes a previous question, viz. How came the king by a power which the people are afraid to trust, and always obliged to check? Such a power could not be the gift of a wise people, neither can any power, which needs checking, be from God; yet the provision, which the constitution makes, supposes such a power to exist.

But the provision is unequal to the task; the means either cannot or will not accomplish the end, and the whole affair is a felo de se [A felon of himself; a self-murderer]; for as the greater weight will always carry up the less, and as all the wheels of a machine are put in motion by one, it only remains to know which power in the constitution has the most weight, for that will govern; and though the others, or a part of them, may clog, or, as the phrase is, check the rapidity of its motion, yet so long as they cannot stop it, their endeavours will be ineffectual; the first moving power will at last have its way, and what it wants in speed is supplied by time.

That the crown is this overbearing part in the English constitution needs not be mentioned, and that it derives its whole consequence merely from being the giver of places and pensions is self-evident, wherefore, though we have been wise enough to shut and lock a door against absolute monarchy, we at the same time have been foolish enough to put the crown in possession of the key.

The prejudice of Englishmen, in favour of their own government, by king lords and commons, arises as much or more from national pride than reason. Individuals are undoubtedly safer in England than in some other countries, but the will of the king is as much the law of the land in Britain as in France, with this difference, that instead of proceeding directly from his mouth, it is handed to the people under the formidable shape of an act of parliament. For the fate of Charles the First hath only made kings more subtle—not more just.

Wherefore, laying aside all national pride and prejudice in favour of modes and forms, the plain truth is that it is wholly owing to the constitution of the people, and not the constitution of the government that the crown is not as oppressive in England as in Turkey.

An inquiry into the constitutional errors in the English form of government is at this time highly necessary; for as we are never in a proper condition of doing justice to others, while we continue under the influence of some leading partiality, so neither are we capable of doing it to ourselves while we remain fettered by any obstinate prejudice. And as a man, who is attached to a prostitute, is unfitted to choose or judge of a wife, so any prepossession in favour of a rotten constitution of government will disable us from discerning a good one.

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OF MONARCHY AND HEREDITARY SUCCESSION.

Mankind being originally equals in the order of creation, the equality could only be destroyed by some subsequent circumstance; the distinctions of rich and poor, may in a great measure be accounted for, and that without having recourse to the harsh ill sounding names of avarice and oppression. Oppression is often the consequence, but seldom or never the means of riches; and though avarice will preserve a man from being necessitously poor, it generally makes him too timorous to be wealthy.

But there is another and greater distinction for which no truly natural or religious reason can be assigned, and that is the distinction of men into kings and subjects. Male and female are the distinctions of nature, good and bad, the distinctions of heaven; but how a race of men came into the world so exalted above the rest, and distinguished like some new species, is worth inquiring into, and whether they are the means of happiness or of misery to mankind.

In the early ages of the world, according to the scripture chronology, there were no kings; the consequence of which was there . .were no wars; it is the pride of kings which throws mankind into confusion. Holland, without a king, hath enjoyed more peace for the last century than any of the monarchical governments of Europe. Antiquity favours the same remark; for the quiet and rural lives of the first patriarchs have a happy something in them, which vanishes when we come to the history of Jewish royalty.

Government by kings was first introduced into the world by the Heathens [Unbelievers, Athiests, and Pagans], from whom the children of Israel copied the custom. It was the most prosperous invention that was ever set on foot for the promotion of Idolatry. The heathen paid divine honours to their deceased kings, and the Christian world hath improved on the plan by doing the same to their living ones. How impious is the title of sacred majesty applied to a worm, who in the midst of his splendor is crumbling into dust!

As the exalting one man so greatly above the rest, cannot be justified on the equal rights of nature, so neither can it be defended on the authority of Scripture; for the will of the Almighty as declared by Gideon, and the prophet Samuel, expressly disapproves of government by kings. All anti-monarchical parts of Scripture, have been very smoothly glossed over in monarchical governments, but they undoubtedly merit the attention of countries, which have their governments yet to form. Render unto Cesar the things which are Cesar’s, is the scripture doctrine of courts, yet it is no support of monarchical government, for the Jews at that time were without a king, and in a state of vassalage to the Romans.

Near three thousand years passed away from the Mosaic account of the creation, till the Jews, under a national delusion, requested a king. Till then their form of government (except in extraordinary cases, where the Almighty interposed) was a kind of republic, administered by a judge and the elders of the tribes. Kings they had none, and it was held sinful to acknowledge any being under that title but the Lord of Hosts. And when a man seriously reflects on the idolatrous homage which is paid to the persons of kings he need not wonder that the Almighty, ever jealous of his honor, should disapprove a form of government which so impiously invades the prerogative of heaven.

Monarchy is ranked in scripture as one of the sins of the Jews, for which a curse in reserve is denouneed against them. The history of that transaction is worth attending to.

The children of Israel being oppressed by the Midianites, Gideon marched against them with a small army, and victory, through the divine interposition, decided in his favor. The Jews, elate with success, and attributing it to the generalship of Gideon, proposed making him a king, saying, Rule thou over us, Thou and thy son, and thy son’s son. Here was temptation in its fullest extent; not a kingdom only, but an hereditary one, but Gideon in the piety of his soul replied, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you, THE LORD SHALL RULE OVER YOU. Words need not be more explicit; Gideon doth not decline the honor, but denieth their right to give it; neither doth he compliment them with invented declarations of his thanks, but in the positive style of a Prophet charges them with disaffection to their proper Sovereign, the King of heaven.

About one hundred years after this, they fell again into the same error. The hankering which the Jews had for the idolatrous customs of the Heathens, is something exceedingly unaccountable; but so it was, that laying hold of the misconduct of Samuel’s two sons, who were intrusted with some secular concerns, they came in an abrupt and clamorous manner to Samuel, saying, Behold thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways, now make us a king to judge us like all the other nations. And here we cannot but observe that their motives were bad, viz. that they might be like unto other nations, i. e. the Heathen, whereas their true glory lay in being as much unlike them as possible. But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, Give us a king to judge us; and Samuel prayed unto the Lord, and the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee, for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, THAT I SHOULD NOT REIGN OVER THEM. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I bro’t them up out of Egypt, even unto this day; wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other Gods; so do they also unto thee. Now there fore hearken unto their voice, howbeit, protest solemnly unto them and show them the manner of the king that shall reign over them, i. e. not of any particular king, but the general manner of the kings of the earth, whom Israel was so eagerly copying after. And notwithstanding the great distance of time and difference of manners, the character is still in fashion. And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people, that asked of him a king. And he said, This shall be the manner of the king that shall reign over you; he will take your sons and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen, and some shall run before his chariots (this description agrees with the present mode of impressing men) and he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties, and will set them to ear his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots; and he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks and to be bakers (this describes the expense and luxury as well as the oppression of kings) and he will take your fields and your olive yards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants; and he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give them to his officers and to his servants (by which we see that bribery, corruption, and favoritism, are the standing vices of kings) and he will take the tenth of your men servants, and your maid servants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work: and he will take the tenth of your sheep, and ye shall be his servants, and ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen, AND THE LORD WILL NOT HEAR YOU IN THAT DAY. This accounts for the continuation of monarchy; neither do the characters of the few good kings which have lived since, either sanctify the title, or blot out the sinfulness of the origin: the high encomium given of David takes no notice of him officially as a king, but only as a man after God’s own heart. Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel, and they said, Nay, but we will have a king over us, that we may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us, and go out before us and fight our battles. Samuel continued to reason with them, but to no purpose; he set before them their ingratitude, but all would not avail; and seeing them fully bent on their folly, he cried out, I will call unto the Lord, and he shall send thunder and rain (which was then a punishment, being in the time of wheat harvest, it ruined the crops) that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great which ye have done in the sight of the Lord, IN ASKING YOU A KING. So Samuel called unto the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day, and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel. And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the Lord thy God that we die not, for WE HAVE ADDED UNTO OUR SINS THIS EVIL, TO ASK A KING. These portions of scripture are direct and positive. They admit of no equivocal construction. That the Almighty hath here entered his protest against monarchical government is true, or the scripture is false? And a man hath good reason to believe that there is as much of kingcraft, as priestcraft in withholding the scripture from the public in Popish countries. For monarchy in every instance is the Popery of government.

To the evil of monarchy we have added that of hereditary succession; and as the first is a degradation and lessening of ourselves, so the second, claimed as a matter of right, is an insult and imposition on posterity. For all men being originally equals, no one by birth, could have a right to set up his own family, in perpetual preference to all others for ever, and though himself might deserve some decent degree of honours of his contemporaries, yet his descendants might be far too unworthy to inherit them. One of the strongest natural proofs of the folly of hereditary right in Kings, is that nature disapproves it, otherwise she would not so frequently turn it into ridicule, by giving mankind an Ass for a Lion.

Secondly, as no man at first could possess more public honors than were bestowed upon him, so the givers of those honors could have no power to give away the right of posterity, and though they might say “We choose you for our head,” they could not, without manifest injustice to their children, say ” that your children and your children’s children shall reign over ours for ever. Because such an unwise, unjust, unnatural compact might, (perhaps) in the next succession put them under the government of a rogue, or a fool. Most wise men in their private sentiments, have ever treated hereditary right with contempt; yet it is one of those evils, which when once established is not easily removed; many submit from fear, others from superstition, and the more powerful part shares, with the king, the plunder of the rest.

This is supposing the present race of kings in the world to have had an honourable origin ; whereas it is more than probable, that could we take off the dark covering of antiquity, and trace them to their first rise, we should find the first of them nothing better than the principal ruffian of some restless gang, whose savage manners, or pre-eminence in subtilty obtained him the title of chief among plunderers; and who by increasing in power, and extending his depredations, overawed the quiet and defenceless to purchase their safety by frequent contributions. Yet his electors could have no idea of giving hereditary right to his descendants, because such a perpetual exclusion of themselves was incompatible with the free and unrestrained principles they professed to live by. Wherefore, hereditary succession in the early ages of monarchy could not take place as a matter of claim, but as something casual or complimental; but as few or no records were extant in those days, and traditionary history stuffed with fables, it was very easy, after the lapse of a few generations, to trump up some superstitious tale, conveniently timed Mahomet like, to cram hereditary rights down the throats of the vulgar. Perhaps the disorders which threatened, or seemed to threaten, on the decease of a leader and the choice of a new one (for elections among ruffians could not be very orderly) induced many at first to favor hereditary pretensions; by which means it happened, as it hath happened since, that what at first was submitted to as a convenience, was afterwards claimed as a right.

England, since the conquest, hath known some few good monarchs, but groaned beneath a much larger number of bad ones; yet no man in his senses can say that their claim under William the Conqueror is a very honorable one. A French bastard landing with an armed banditti, and establishing himself king of England against the consent of the natives, is in plain terms a very paltry rascally original.—It certainly hath no divinity in it. However, it is needless to spend much time in exposing the folly of hereditary right, if there are any so weak as to believe it, let them promiscuously worship the ass and the lion, and welcome. I shall neither copy their humility, nor disturb their devotion.

Yet I should be glad to ask how they suppose kings came at first? The question admits but of three answers, viz. either by let, by election, or by usurpation. If the first king was taken by lot, it establishes a precedent for the next, which excludes hereditary succession. Saul was by lot, yet the succession was not hereditary, neither does it appear from that transaction that there was any intention it ever should. If the first king of any country was by election, that likewise establishes a precedent for the next; for to say, that the right of all future generations is taken away, by the act of the first electors, in their choice not only of a king, but of a family of kings for ever, hath no parallel in or out of scripture but the doctrine of original sin, which supposes the free will of all men lost in Adam; and from such comparison, and it will admit of no other, hereditary succession can derive no glory. For as in Adam all sinned, and as in the first electors all men obeyed; as in the one all mankind were subjected to Satan, and in the other to sovereignty; as our innocence was lost in the first, and our authority in the last; and as both disable us from re-assuming some former state and privilege, it unanswerably follows that original sin and hereditary succession are parallels. Dishonourable rank! Inglorious connection! Yet the most subtile sophist cannot produce a juster simile.

As to usurpation, no man will be so hardy as to defend it; and that William the Conqueror was an usurper is a fact not to be contradicted. The plain truth is, that the antiquity of English monarchy will not bear looking into.

But it is not so much the absurdity as the evil of hereditary succession which concerns mankind. Did it ensure a race of good and wise men it would have the seal of divine authority, but as it opens a door to the foolish, the wicked, and the improper, it hath in it the nature of oppression. Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.

Another evil which attends hereditary succession is, that the throne is subject to be possessed by a minor at any age; all which time the regency acting under the cover of a king, have every opportunity and inducement to betray their trust. The same national misfortune happens, when a king worn out with age and infirmity, enters the last stage of human weakness. In both these cases the public becomes the prey to every miscreant, who can tamper successfully with the follies either of age or infancy.

The most plausible plea, which hath ever been offered in favor of hereditary succession is, that it preserves a nation from civil wars: and were this true, it would be weighty; whereas, it is the most bare-faced falsity ever imposed upon mankind. The whole history of England disowns the fact. Thirty kings and two minors have reigned in that distracted kingdom since the conquest, in which time there have been (including the revolution) no less than eight civil wars and nineteen rebellions. Wherefore instead of making for peace, it makes against it, and destroys the very foundation it seems to stand upon.

The contest for monarchy and succession, between the houses of York and Lancaster, laid England in a scene of blood for many years. Twelve pitched battles, besides skirmishes and sieges, were fought between Henry and Edward, twice was Henry prisoner to Edward, who in his turn was prisoner to Henry. And so uncertain is the fate of war and the temper of a nation, when nothing but personal matters are the ground of a quarrel, that Henry was taken in triumph from a prison to a palace, and Edward obliged to fly from a palace to a foreign land; yet, as sudden transitions of temper are seldom lasting, Henry in his turn was driven from the throne, and Edward re-called to succeed him. The parliament always following the strongest side.

This contest began in the reign of Henry the Sixth, and was not entirely extinguished till Henry the Seventh, in whom the families , were united. Including a period of 67 years, viz. from 1422 to 1489.

In short, monarchy and succession have laid (not this or that kingdom only,) but, the world in blood and ashes. ‘Tis a form of government which the word of God bears testimony against, and blood will attend it.

If we inquire into the business of a king, we shall find (and in some countries they have none) that after sauntering away their lives without pleasure to themselves or advantage to the nation, they withdraw from the scene, and leave their successors to tread the same useless and idle round. In absolute monarchies the whole weight of business, civil and military, lies on the king; the children of Israel in their request for a king urged this plea, “that he may judge us, and go out before us and fight our battles.” But in countries [where] he is neither a judge nor a general, as in England, a man would be puzzled to know what is his business.

The nearer any government approaches to a republic, the less business there is for a king. It is somewhat difficult to find a proper name for the government of England. Sir William Meredith calls it a republic; but in its present state it is unworthy of the name, because the corrupt influence of the crown, by having all the places at its disposal, hath so effectually swallowed up the power, and eaten out the virtue of the house of commons (the republican part in the constitution) that the government of England is nearly as monarchical as that of France or Spain. Men fall out with names without understanding them. For it is the republican and not the monarchical part of the constitution of England which Englishmen glory in, viz. the liberty of choosing a house of commons from out of their own body—and it is easy to see that when republican virtue fails, slavery ensues. Why is the constitution of England sickly, but because monarchy hath poisoned the republic, the crown hath engrossed the commons.

In England a king hath little more to do than to make war and give away places; which, in plain terms, is to impoverish the nation and set it together by the ears. A pretty business indeed for a man to be allowed eight hundred thousand sterling a year for, and worshipped into the bargain! Of more worth is one honest man to society, and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived.

Thomas_PaineQuoteReligion1

THOUGHTS ON THE PRESENT STATE OF THE AMERICAN AFFAIRS.

IN the following pages I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense; and have no other preliminaries to settle with the reader, than that he will divest himself of prejudice and prepossession, and suffer his reason and his feelings to determine for themselves; that he will put on, or rather that he will not put off the true character of a man, and generously enlarge his views beyond the present day.

Volumes have been written on the subject of the struggle between England and America. Men of all ranks have embarked in the controversy, from different motives, and with various designs: but all have been ineffectual, and the period of debate is closed. Arms, as the last resource, must decide the contest; the appeal was the choice of the king, and the continent hath accepted the challenge.

It has been reported of the late Mr. Pelham (who, though an able minister was not without his faults) that on his being attacked in the house of commons, on the score, that his measures were only of a temporary kind, replied ” they will last my time.” Should a thought so fatal and unmanly possess the colonies in the present contest, the name of ancestors will be remembered by future generations with detestation.

The sun never shone on a cause of greater worth. ‘Tis not the affair of a city, a county, a province, or a kingdom, but of a continent—of at least one eighth part of the habitable globe. ‘Tis riot the concern of a day, a year, or an age; posterity are virtually involved in the contest, and will be more or less affected even to the end of time, by the proceedings now. Now is the seed-time of continental union, faith and honor. The least fracture now will be like a name engraved with the point of a pin on the tender rind of a young oak; the wound will enlarge with the tree, and posterity read it in full grown characters.

By referring the matter from argument to arms, a new area for politics is struck; a new method of thinking hath arisen. All plans, proposals, &c. prior to the nineteenth of April, i. e. to the commencement of hostilities, are like the almanacks of last year; which, though proper then, are superceded and useless now. Whatever was advanced by the advocates on either side of the question then, terminated in one and the same point, viz. a union with Great-Britain; the only difference between the parties was the method of effecting it; the one proposing force, the other friendship; but it hath so far happened that the first has failed, and the second has withdrawn her influence.

As much hath been said of the advantages of reconciliation, which, like an agreeable dream, hath passed away and left us as we were, it is but right that we should examine the contrary side of the argument, and inquire into some of the many material injuries which these colonies sustain, and always will sustain, by being connected with and dependant on Great Britain. To examine that connection and dependance, on the principles of nature and common sense, to see what we have to trust to, if separated, and what we are to expect, if dependant.

I have heard it asserted by some, that as America has flourished under her former connexion with Great Britain, the same connexion is necessary towards her future happiness, and will always have the same effect. Nothing can be more fallacious than this kind of argument. We may as well assert that because a child has thrived upon milk, that it is never to have meat, or that the first twenty years of our lives is to become a precedent for the next twenty. But even this is admitting more than is true, for I answer roundly, that America would have flourished as much, and probably much more, had no European power had any thing to do with her. The articles of commerce, by which she has enriched herself, are the necessaries of life, and will always have a market while eating is the custom of Europe.

But she has protected us, say some. That she hath engrossed us is true, and defended the continent at our expense as well as her own, is admitted, and she would have defended Turkey from the same motives, viz. for the sake of trade and dominion.

Alas! we have been long led away by ancient prejudices, and made large sacrifices to superstition. We have boasted the protection of Great Britain, without considering, that her motive was interest not attachment; and that she did not protect us from our enemies on our account, but from her enemies on her own account, from those who had no quarrel with us on any other account, and who will always be our enemies on the same account. Let Britain waive her pretensions to the continent, or the continent throw off the dependance, and we should be at peace with France and Spain, were they at war with Britain. The miseries of Hanover last war ought to warn us against connexions.

It hath lately been asserted in parliament, that the colonies have no relation to each other but through the parent country, i. e. that Pennsylvania and the Jerseys, and so on for the rest, are sister colonies by the way of England; this is certainly a very round-about way of proving relationship, but it is the nearest and only true way of proving enemyship, if I may so call it. France and Spain never were, nor perhaps over will be, our enemies as Americans, but as our being the subjects of Great Britain.

But Britain is the parent country, say some. Then the more shame upon her conduct. Even brutes do not devour their young, nor savages make war upon their families; wherefore the assertion, if true, turns to her reproach; but it happens not to be true, or only partly so, and the phrase parent or mother country hath been jesuitically [practicing casuistry or equivocation; using subtle or oversubtle reasoning; crafty; sly; intriguing] adopted by the king and his parasites, with a low papistical design of gaining an unfair bias on the credulous weakness of our minds. Europe, and not England, is the parent country of America. This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe. Hither have they fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still.

In this extensive quarter of the globe, we forget the narrow limits of three hundred and sixty miles (the extent of England) and carry our friendship on a larger scale; we claim brotherhood with every European Christian, and triumph in the generosity of the sentiment.

It is pleasant to observe by what regular gradations we surmount local prejudices, as we enlarge our acquaintance with the world. A man born in any town in England divided into parishes, will naturally associate most with his fellow parishioners (because their interests in many cases will be common) and distinguish him by the name of neighbor; if he meet him but a few miles from home, he drops the narrow idea of a street, and salutes him by the name of townsman; if he travel out of the county, and meets him in any other, he forgets the minor divisions of street and town, and calls him countryman, i. e. countyman; but if in their foreign excursions they should associate in France or any other part of Europe, their local remembrance would be enlarged into that of Englishmen. And by a just parity of reasoning, all Europeans meeting in America, or any other quarter of the globe, are countrymen; for England, Holland, Germany, or Sweden, when compared with the whole, stand in the same places on the larger scale, which the divisions of street, town, and county do on the smaller one; distinctions too limited for continental minds. Not one third of the inhabitants, even of this province, are of English descent. Wherefore, I reprobate the phrase of parent or mother country applied to England only, as being false, selfish, narrow and ungenerous.

But, admitting that we were all of English descent, what does it amount to? Nothing, Britain, being now an open enemy, extinguishes every other name and title: and to say that reconciliation is our duty, is truly farcical. The first king of England, of the present line (William the Conqueror) was a Frenchman, and half the peers of England are descendants from the same country; wherefore, by the same method of reasoning, England ought to be governed by France.

Much hath been said of the united strength of Britain and the colonies, that in conjunction they might bid defiance to the world. But this is mere presumption; the fate of war is uncertain, neither do the expressions mean any thing; for this continent would never suffer itself to be drained of inhabitants, to support the British arms in either Asia, Africa, or Europe.

Besides, what have we to do with setting the world at defiance? Our plan is commerce, and that, well attended to, will secure us the peace and friendship of all Europe; because it is the interest of all Europe to have America a free port. Her trade will always be a protection, and her barrenness of gold and silver secure her from invaders.

I challenge the warmest advocate for reconciliation, to show a single advantage that this continent can reap, by being connected with Great Britain. I repeat the challenge; not a single advantage is derived. Our corn will fetch its price in any market in Europe, and our imported goods must be paid for, buy them where we will.

But the injuries and disadvantages which we sustain by that connexion, are without number; and our duty to mankind at large, as well as to ourselves, instructs us to renounce the alliance; because, any submission to or dependance on Great Britain, tends directly to involve this continent in European wars and quarrels; and sets us at variance with nations, who would otherwise seek our friendship, and against whom, we have neither anger nor complaint. As Europe is our market for trade, we ought to form no partial connexion with any part of it. It is the true interest of America to steer clear of European contentions, which she never can do, while, by her dependence on Britain, she is made the make-weight in the scale of British politics.

Europe is too thickly planted with kingdoms to be long at peace, and whenever a war breaks out between England and any foreign power, the trade of America goes to ruin, because of her connexion with Britain. The next war may not turn out like the last, and should it not, the advocates for reconciliation now will be wishing for separation then, because, neutrality in that case, would be a safer convoy than a man of war. Every thing that is right or natural pleads for separation. The blood of the slain, the weeping voice of nature cries, �tis time to part. Even the distance at which the Almighty hath placed England and America, is a strong and natural proof, that the authority of the one over the other, was never the design of heaven. The time likewise at which the continent was discovered, adds weight to the argument, and the manner in which it was peopled, increases the force of it. The reformation was preceded by the discovery of America, as if the Almighty graciously meant to open a sanctuary to the persecuted in future years, when home should afford neither friendship nor safety.

The authority of Great Britain over this continent, is a form of government, which sooner or later must have an end: and a serious mind can draw no true pleasure by looking forward, under the painful and positive conviction, that what he calls “the present constitution,” is merely temporary. As parents, we can have no joy, knowing that this government is not sufficiently lasting to ensure anything which we may bequeath to posterity and by a plain method of argument, as we are running the next generation into debt, we ought to do the work of it, otherwise we use them meanly and pitifully. In order to discover the line of our duty rightly we should take our children in our hand and fix our station a few years farther into life; that eminence will present a prospect, which a few present fears and prejudices conceal from our sight.

Though I would carefully avoid giving unnecessary offence, yet I am inclined to believe, that all those who espouse the doctrine of reconciliation, [i.e. compromise] may be included within the following descriptions.

Interested men, who are not to be trusted; weak men, who cannot see; prejudiced men, who will not see; and a certain set of moderate men, who think better of the European world than it deserves: and this last class, by an ill-judged deliberation, will be the cause of more calamities to this continent than all the other three.

It is the good fortune of many to live distant from the scene of sorrow; the evil is not sufficiently brought to their doors to make them feel the precariousness with which all American property is possessed. But let our imaginations transport us a few moments to Boston; that seat of wretchedness will teach us wisdom, and instruct us forever to renounce a power in whom we can have no trust. The inhabitants of that unfortunate city, who but a few months ago were in ease and affluence, have now no other alternative than to stay and starve, or turn out to beg. Endangered by the fire of their friends if they continue within the city, and plundered by the soldiery if they leave it. In their present situation they are prisoners without the hope of redemption, and in a general attack for their relief, they would be exposed to the fury of both armies.

Men of passive tempers look somewhat lightly over the offences of Britain, and, still hoping for the best, are apt to call out, “come, come, we shall be friends again for all this.” But examine the passions and feelings of mankind, bring the doctrine of reconciliation to the touchstone of nature, and then tell me, whether you can hereafter love, honor, and faithfully serve the power that hath carried fire and sword unto your land? If you cannot do all these, then are you only deceiving yourselves, and by your delay bringing ruin upon your posterity. Your future connexion with Britain, whom you can neither love nor honor, will be forced and unnatural, and being formed only on the plan of present convenience, will in a little time fall into a relapse more wretched than the first. But if you say, you can still pass the violations over, then I ask, hath your house been burnt? Hath your property been destroyed before your face? Are your wife and children destitute of a bed to lie on, or bread to live on?Have you lost a parent or a child by their hands, and yourself the ruined and wretched survivor? If you have not, then are you not a judge of those who have. But if you have, and can still shake hands with the murderers, then are you unworthy the name of husband, father, friend, or lover, and whatever may be your rank or title in life, you have the heart of a coward, and the spirit of a sycophant. [This last sounds as if he were talking about RINO republicans]

This is not inflaming or exaggerating matters, but trying them by those feelings and affections which nature justifies, and without which, we should be incapable of discharging the social duties of life, or enjoying the felicities of it. I mean not to exhibit horror for the purpose of provoking revenge, but to awaken us from fatal and unmanly slumbers, that we may pursue determinately some fixed object. It is not in the power of Britain or of Europe to conquer America, if she does not conquer herself by delay and timidity. The present winter is worth an age if lightly employed, but if lost or neglected, the whole continent will partake of the misfortune; and there is no punishment which that man will not deserve, be he who, or what, or where he will, that may be the means of sacrificing a season so precious and useful.

It is repugnant to reason, and the universal order of things, to all examples from former ages, to suppose that this continent can longer remain subject to any external power. The most sanguine in Britain, do not think so. The utmost stretch of human wisdom cannot, at this time, compass a plan short of separation, which can promise the continent even a year’s security. Reconciliation is now a fallacious dream. Nature hath deserted the connexion, and art cannot supply her place. For, as Milton wisely expresses, “never can true reconcilement grow, where wounds of deadly hate have pierced so deep.”

Every quiet method for peace hath been ineffectual. Our prayers have been rejected with disdain: and only tended to convince us, that nothing flatters vanity, or confirms obstinacy in kings more than repeated petitioning—nothing hath contributed more than this very measure to make the kings of Europe absolute: witness Denmark and Sweden. Wherefore, since nothing but blows will do, for God’s sake let us come to a final separation, and not leave the next generation to be cutting throats, under the violated unmeaning names of parent and child.

To say they will never attempt it again, is idle and visionary; we thought so at the repeal of the stamp act, yet a year or two undeceived us: as well may we suppose that nations, which have been once defeated, will never renew the quarrel.

As to government matters, it is not in the power of Britain to do this continent justice: the business of it will soon be too weighty and intricate to be managed with any tolerable degree of convenience, by a power so distant from us, and so very ignorant of us; for if they cannot conquer us, they cannot govern us. To be always running three or four thousand miles with a tale or a petition, waiting four or five months for an answer, which, when obtained, requires five or six more to explain it in, will in a few years be looked upon as folly and childishness—there was a time when it was proper, and there is a proper time for it to cease.

Small islands, not capable of protecting themselves, are the proper objects for kingdoms to take under their care; but there is something absurd, in supposing a continent to be perpetually governed by an island. In no instance hath nature made the satellite larger than its primary planet; and as England and America, with respect to each other, reverses the common order of nature, it is evident that they belong to different systems. England to Europe—America to itself.

I am not induced by motives of pride, party, or resentment, to espouse the doctrine of separation and independence; I am clearly, positively, and conscientiously persuaded that it is the true interest of this continent to be so; that every thing short of that is mere patchwork; that it can afford no lasting felicity,— that it is leaving the sword to our children, and shrinking back at a time, when, going a little further, would have rendered this continent the glory of the earth.

As Britain hath not manifested the least inclination towards a compromise, we may be assured that no terms can be obtained worthy the acceptance of the continent, or any ways equal to the expense of blood and treasure we have been already put to.

The object contended for, ought always to bear some just proportion to the expense. The removal of North, or the whole detestable junto, is a matter unworthy the millions we have expended. A temporary stoppage of trade, was an inconvenience, which would have sufficiently balanced the repeal of all the acts complained of, had such repeals been obtained; but if the whole continent must take up arms, if every man must be a soldier, it is scarcely worth our while to fight against a contemptible ministry only. Dearly, dearly do we pay for the repeal of the acts, if that is all we fight for; for, in a just estimation, it is as great a folly to pay a Bunker-hill price for law as for land. I have always considered the independency of this continent, as an event which sooner or later must take place, and, from the late rapid progress of the continent to maturity, the event cannot be far off. Wherefore, on the breaking out of hostilities, it was not worth the while to have disputed a matter which time would have finally redressed, unless we meant to be in earnest; otherwise, it is like wasting an estate on a suit at law, to regulate the trespasses of a tenant, whose lease is just expiring. No man was a warmer wisher for a reconciliation than myself, before the fatal nineteenth of April, 1775 [Massacre at Lexington], but the moment the event of that day was made known, I rejected the hardened, sullen-tempered Pharoah of England for ever; and disdain the wretch, that with the pretended title of Father of his people, can unfeelingly hear of their slaughter, and composedly sleep with their blood upon his soul.

But admitting that matters were now made up, what would be the event? I answer, the ruin of the continent; And that for several reasons.

1st, The powers of governing still remaining in the hands of the king, he will have a negative over the whole legislation of this continent. And as he hath shown himself such an inveterate enemy to liberty, and discovered such a thirst for arbitrary power: is he, or is he not, a proper person to say to these colonies, “you shall make no laws but what I please.” And is there any inhabitant of America so ignorant as not to know, that according to what is called the present constitution, this continent can make no laws but what the king gives leave to?and is there any man so unwise as not to see, that (considering what has happened) he will suffer no law to be made here, but such as suits his purpose?We may be as effectually enslaved by the want of laws in America, as by submitting to laws made for us in England. After matters are made up (as it is called) can there be any doubt, but the whole power of the crown will be exerted, to keep this continent as low and humble as possible?Instead of going forward we shall go backward, or be perpetually quarrelling, or ridiculously petitioning.—We are already greater than the king wishes us to be, and will he not hereafter endeavor to make us less? To bring the matter to one point, Is the power who is jealous of our prosperity, a proper power to govern us? Whoever says No, to this question, is an independent, for independency means no more than this, whether we shall make our own laws, or, whether the king, the greatest enemy which this continent hath, or can have, shall tell us “there shall be no laws but such as I like.”

But the king, you will say, has a negative in England; the people there can make no laws without his consent. In point of right and good order, it is something very ridiculous, that a youth of twenty-one (which hath often happened) shall say to several millions of people, older and wiser than himself, I forbid this or that act of yours to be law. But in this place I decline this sort of reply, though I will never cease to expose the absurdity of it; and only answer, that England being the king’s residence, and America not, makes quite another case. The king’s negative here is ten times more dangerous and fatal than it can be in England; for there he will scarcely refuse his consent to a bill for putting England into as strong a state of defence as possible, and in America he would never suffer such a bill to be passed.

America is only a secondary object in the system of British politics—England consults the good of this country no further than it answers her own purpose. Wherefore, her own interest leads her to suppress the growth of ours in every case which doth not promote her advantage, or in the least interferes with it. A pretty state we should soon be in under such a second-hand government, considering what has happened! Men do not change from enemies to friends, by the alteration of a name: and in order to show that reconciliation now is a dangerous doctrine, I affirm, that it would be policy in the king at this time, to repeal the acts, for the sake of reinstating himself in the government of the provinces; in order that he may accomplish by craft and subtlety, in the long run, what he cannot do by force in the short one. Reconciliation and ruin are nearly related.

2dly, That as even the best terms, which we can expect to obtain, can amount to no more than a temporary expedient, or a kind of government by guardianship, which can last no longer than till the colonies come of age, so the general face and state of things, in the interim, will be unsettled and unpromising. Emigrants of property will not choose to come to a country whose form of government hangs but by a thread, and which is every day tottering on the brink of commotion and disturbance; and numbers of the present inhabitants would lay hold of the interval, to dispose of their effects, and quit the continent.

But the most powerful of all arguments, is, that nothing but independence, i. e. a continental form of government, can keep the peace of the continent and preserve it inviolate from civil wars. I dread the event of a reconciliation with Britain now, as it is more than probable that it will be followed by a revolt somewhere or other, the consequences of which may be far more fatal than all the malice of Britain.

Thousands are already ruined by British barbarity. (Thousands more will probably suffer the same fate.) Those men have other feelings than us who have nothing suffered. All they now possess is liberty, what they before enjoyed is sacrificed to its service, and having nothing more to lose, they disdain submission. Besides, the general temper of the colonies, towards a British government, will be like that of a youth, who is nearly out of his time; they will care very little about her. And a government which cannot preserve the peace, is no government at all, and in that case we pay our money for nothing; and pray what is it that Britain can do, whose power will be wholly on paper, should a civil tumult break out the very day after reconciliation?I have heard some men say, many of whom I believe spoke without thinking, that they dreaded an independence, fearing that it would produce civil wars. It is but seldom that our first thoughts are truly correct, and that is the case here; for there is ten times more to dread from a patched up connexion than from independence. I make the sufferer’s case my own, and I protest, that were I driven from house and home, my property destroyed, and my circumstances ruined, that as a man, sensible of injuries, I could never relish the doctrine of reconciliation, or consider myself bound thereby.

The colonies have manifested such a spirit of good order and obedience to continental government, as is sufficient to make every reasonable person easy and happy on that head. No man can assign the least pretence for his fears, on any other grounds, than such as are truly childish and ridiculous, viz. that one colony will be striving for superiority over another.

Where there are no distinctions there can be no superiority; perfect equality affords no temptation. The republics of Europe arc all (and we may say always) in peace. Holland and Switzerland are without wars, foreign or domestic: monarchical governments, it is true, are never long at rest: the crown itself is a temptation to enterprising ruffians at home; and that degree of pride and insolence ever attendant on regal authority, swells into a rupture with foreign powers, in instances where a republican government, by being formed on more natural principles, would negotiate the mistake.

If there is any true cause of fear respecting independence, it is because no plan is yet laid down. Men do not see their way out, wherefore, as an opening into that business, I offer the following hints; at the same time modestly affirming, that I have no other opinion of them myself, than that they may be the means of giving rise to something better. Could the straggling thoughts of individuals be collected, they would frequently form materials for wise and able men to improve into useful matter.

Let the assemblies be annual, with a president only. The representation more equal. Their business wholly domestic, and subject to the authority of a continental congress.

Let each colony be divided into six, eight, or ten, convenient districts, each district to send a proper number of delegates to congress, so that each colony send at least thirty. The whole number in congress will be at least three hundred and ninety.

Each congress to sit and to choose a president by the following method. When the delegates are met, let a colony be taken from the whole thirteen colonies by lot, after which, let the congress choose (by ballot) a president from out of the delegates of that province. In the next congress, let a colony be taken by lot from twelve only, omitting that colony from which the president was taken in the former congress, and so proceeding on till the whole thirteen shall have had their proper rotation. And in order that nothing may pass into a law but what is satisfactorily just, not less than three-fifths of the congress to be called a majority. He that will promote discord, under a government so equally formed as this, would have joined Lucifer in his revolt.

But as there is a peculiar delicacy, from whom, or in what manner, this business must first arise, and as it seems most agreeable and consistent, that it should come from some intermediate body between the governed and the governors, that is, between the congress and the people, let a Continental Conference be held, in the following manner, and for the following purpose,

A committee of twenty-six members of congress, viz. two for each colony. Two members from each house of assembly, or provincial convention; and five representatives of the people at large, to be chosen in the capital city or town of each province, for, and in behalf of the whole province, by as many qualified voters as shall think proper to attend from all parts of the province for that purpose; or, if more convenient, the representatives may be chosen in two or three of the most populous parts thereof. In this conference, thus assembled, will be united, the two grand principles of business, knowledge and power. The members of congress, assemblies, or conventions, by having had experience in national concerns, will be able and useful counsellors, and the whole, being empowered by the people, will have a truly legal authority.

The conferring members being met, let their business be to frame a Continental Charter, or Charter of the United Colonies; (answering to what is called the Magna Charta of England) fixing the number and manner of choosing members of congress, and members of assembly, with their date of sitting, and drawing the line of business and jurisdiction between them: (always remembering, that our strength is continental, not provincial) securing freedom and property to all men, and above all things, the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; with such other matter as it is necessary for a charter to contain. Immediately after which, the said conference to dissolve, and the bodies which shall be chosen conformable to the said charter, to be the legislators and governors of this continent for the time being: whose peace and happiness, may God preserve, Amen.

Should any body of men be hereafter delegated for this or some similar purpose, I offer them the following extracts from that wise observer on governments, Dragonetti. “The science,” says he, “of the politician consists in fixing the true point of happiness and freedom. Those men would deserve the gratitude of ages, who should discover a mode of government that contained the greatest sum of individual happiness, with the least national expense.”

But where, say some, is the king of America?I’ll tell you, friend, he [Jesus] reigns above, and doth not make havoc of mankind like the royal brute of Britain. Yet that we may not appear to be defective even in earthly honors, let a day be solemnly set apart for proclaiming the charter; let it be brought forth placed on the divine law, the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America the law is king. For as in absolute governments the king is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other. But lest any ill use should afterwards arise, let the crown lit the conclusion of the ceremony be demolished, and scattered among the people whose right it is.

A government of our own is our natural right: and when a man seriously reflects on the precariousness of human affairs, he will become convinced, that it is infinitely wiser and safer, to form a constitution of our own in a cool deliberate manner, while we have it in our power, than to trust such an interesting event to time and chance. If we omit it now, some Massanello* may hereafter arise, who, laying hold of popular disquietudes, may collect together the desperate and the discontented, and by assuming to themselves the powers of government, finally sweep away the liberties of the continent like a deluge. Should the government of America return again into the hands of Britain, the tottering situation of things will be a temptation for some desperate adventurer to try his fortune; and in such a case, what relief can Britain give? Ere she could hear the news, the fatal business might be done; and ourselves suffering like the wretched Britons under the oppression of the Conqueror. Ye that oppose independence now, ye know not what ye do; ye are opening a door to eternal tyranny, by keeping vacant the seat of government. There are thousands and tens of thousands, who would think it glorious to expel from the continent, that barbarous and hellish power, which hath stirred up the Indians and negroes to destroy us—the cruelty hath a double guilt, it is dealing brutally by us, and treacherously by them.

[* Thomas Aneilo, otherwise Massanello, a fisherman of Naples, who after spiriting up his countrymen in the public market place, against the oppression of the Spaniards, to whom the place was then subject, prompted them to revolt, and in the space of a day became king.]

To talk of friendship with those in whom our reason forbids us to have faith, and our affections, wounded through a thousand pores, instruct us to detest, is madness and folly. Every day wears out the little remains of kindred between us and them; and can there be any reason to hope, that as the relationship expires, the affection will increase, or that we shall agree better when we have ten times more and greater concerns to quarrel over than ever?

Ye that tell us of harmony and reconciliation, can ye restore to us the time that is past? Can ye give to prostitution its former innocence? Neither can ye reconcile Britain and America. The last cord now is broken, the people of England are presenting addresses against us. There are injuries which nature cannot forgive; she would cease to be nature if she did. As well can the lover forgive the ravisher of his mistress, as the continent forgives the murders of Britain. The Almighty hath implanted in us these unextinguishable feelings, for good and wise purposes. They are the guardians of his image in our hearts, and distinguish us from the herd of common animals. The social compact would dissolve, and justice be extirpated from the earth, or have only a casual existence were we callous to the touches of affection. The robber, and the murderer, would often escape unpunished, did not the injuries which our tempers sustain, provoke us into justice.

O! ye that love mankind! Ye that dare oppose, not only the tyranny, but the tyrant, stand forth! Every spot of the old world is overrun with oppression. Freedom hath been haunted round the globe. Asia, and Africa, have long expelled her. Europe regards her like a stranger, and England hath given her warning to depart. O! receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind.

OF THE PRESENT ABILITY OF AMERICA: WITH SOME MISCELLANEOUS REFLECTIONS.

I Have never met with a man, either in England or America, who hath not confessed his opinion, that a separation between the countries would take place one time or other: and there is no instance, in which we have shown less judgment, than in endeavoring to describe, what we call, the ripeness or fitness of the continent for independence.

As all men allow the measure, and vary only in their opinion of the time, let us, in order to remove mistakes, take a general survey of things, and endeavor, if possible, to find out the very time. But we need not go far, the inquiry ceases at once, for, the time hath found us. The general concurrence, the glorious union of all things proves the fact.

It is not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength lies; yet our present numbers are sufficient to repel the force of all the world. The continent hath, at this time, the largest body of armed and disciplined men of any power under heaven; and is just arrived at that pitch of strength, in which, no single colony is able to support itself, and the whole, when united, can accomplish the matter, and either more, or less than this, might be fatal in its effects. Our land force is already sufficient, and as to naval affairs, we cannot be insensible that Britain would never suffer an American man of war to be built, while the continent remained in her hands. Wherefore, we should be no forwarder an hundred years hence in that branch, than we are now; but the truth is, we should be less so, because the timber of the country is every day diminishing, and that which will remain at last, will be far off or difficult to procure.

Were the continent crowded with inhabitants, her sufferings under the present circumstances would be intolerable. The more seaport-towns we had, the more should we have both to defend and to lose. Our present numbers are so happily proportioned to our wants, that no man need be idle. The diminution of trade affords an army, and the necessities of an army create a new trade. Debts we have none: and whatever we may contract on this account will serve as a glorious memento of our virtue. Can we but leave posterity; with settled form of government, an independent constitution of its own, the purchase at any price will be cheap. But to expend millions for the sake of getting a few vile acts repealed, and routing the present ministry only, is unworthy the charge, and is using posterity with the utmost cruelty; because it is leaving them the great work to do, and a debt upon their backs, from which they derive no advantage. Such a thought is unworthy a man of honor, and is the true characteristic of a narrow heart and a peddling politician.

The debt we may contract doth not deserve our regard, if the work be but accomplished. No nation ought to be without a debt. A national debt is a national bond; and,when it bears no interest, is in no case a grievance. Britain is oppressed with a debt of upwards of one hundred and forty millions sterling, for which she pays upwards of four millions interest. And as a compensation for her debt, she has a large navy; America is without a debt, and without a navy; yet for the twentieth part of the English national debt, could have a navy as large again. The navy of England is not worth, at this time, more than three millions and a half sterling.

The following calculations are given as a proof that the above estimation of the navy is a just one. [See Entick’s Naval History, Intro, p. 56.]

The charge of building a ship of each rate, and furnishing her with masts, yards, sails, and rigging, together with a proportion of eight months boatswain’s and carpenter’s sea-stores, as calculated by Mr. Burchett, secretary to the navy.

For a ship of 100 guns, – – 35,6531.
90,- – 29,886
80,- – 23,638
70,- – 17,785
60,- – 14,197
50,- – 10,606
40 – – – 7,558
30,- – 5,846
20,- – 3,710

And hence it is easy to sum up the value, or cost, rather, of the whole British navy, which, in the year 1757, when it was at its greatest glory, consisted of the following ships and guns.

BritishShip1757

No country on the globe is so happily situated, or so internally capable of raising a fleet as America. Tar, timber, iron, and cordage are her natural produce. We need go abroad for nothing. Whereas the Dutch, who make large profits by hiring out their ships of war to the Spaniards and Portuguese, are obliged to import most of the materials they use. We ought to view the building a fleet as an article of commerce it being the natural manufacture of this country. It is the best money we can lay out. A navy when finished is worth more than it cost: and is that nice point in national policy, in which commerce and protection are united. Let us build; if we want them not, we can sell; and by that means replace our paper currency with ready gold and silver.

In point of manning a fleet, people in general run into great errors; it is not necessary that one-fourth part should be sailors. The privateer Terrible, captain Death, stood the hottest engagement of any ship last war, yet had not twenty sailors on board, though her complement of men was upwards of two hundred. A few able and social sailors will soon instruct a sufficient number of active landsmen in the common work of a ship. Wherefore, we never can be more capable of beginning on maritime matters than now, while our timber is standing, our fisheries blocked up, and our sailors and shipwrights out of employ. Men of war, of seventy and eighty guns, were built forty years ago in New England, and why not the same now? Ship building is America’s greatest pride, and in which she will, in time, excel the whole world. The great empires of the east are mostly inland, and consequently excluded from the possibility of rivalling her. Africa is in a state of barbarism; and no power in Europe, hath either such an extent of coast, or such an internal supply of materials. Where nature hath given the one, she hath withhelt the other; to America only hath she been liberal of both. The vast empire of Russia is almost shut out from the sea; wherefore, her boundless forests, her tar, iron, and cordage are only articles of commerce.

In point of safety, ought we to be without a fleet? We are not the little people now, which we were sixty years ago; at that time we might have trusted our property in the streets, or fields rather; and slept securely without locks or bolts to our doors or windows. The case is now altered, and our methods of defence ought to improve with, our increase of property. A common pirate, twelve months ago, might have come up the Delaware, and laid this city under contribution for what sum he pleased; and the same might have happened to other places. Nay, any daring fellow, in a brig of fourteen or sixteen guns, might have robbed the whole continent, and carried off half a million of money. These are circumstances which demand our attention, and point out the necessity of naval protection.

Some perhaps, will say, that after we have made it up with Britain, she will protect us. Can they be so unwise as to mean, that she will keep a navy in our harbors for that purpose?Common sense will tell us, that the power which hath endeavored to subdue us, is of all others, the most improper to defend us. Conquest may be effected under the pretence of friendship; and Ourselves, after a long and brave resistance, be at last cheated into slavery. And if her ships are not to be admitted into our harbors, I would ask, how is she to protect us? A navy three or four thousand miles off can be of little use, and on sudden emergencies, none at all. Wherefore, if we must hereafter protect ourselves, why not do it for ourselves? Why do it for another?

The English list of ships of war, is long and formidable, hut not a tenth part of them are at any one time fit for service, numbers of them are not in being; yet their names are pompously continued in the list, if only a plank be left of the ship; and not a fifth part of such as are fit for service, can be spared on any one station at one time. The East and West Indies, Mediterranean, Africa, and other parts of the world, over which Britain extends her claim, make large demands upon her navy. From a mixture of prejudice and inattention, we have contracted a false notion respecting the navy of England, and have talked as if we should have the whole of it to encounter at once, and, for that reason, supposed that we must have one as large; which not being instantly practicable, has been made use of by a set of disguised Tories to discourage our beginning thereon. Nothing can be further from truth than this; for if America had only a twentieth part of the naval force of Britain, she would be by far an over match for her; because, as we neither have, nor claim any foreign dominion, our whole force would be employed on our own coast, where we should, in the long run, have two to one the advantage of those who had three or four thousand miles to sail over, before they could attack us, and the same distance to return in order to refit and recruit. And although Britain, by her fleet, hath a check over our trade to Europe, we have as large a one over her trade to the West Indies, which, by laying in the neighborhood of the continent, is entirely at its mercy.

Some method might be fallen on to keep up a naval force in time of peace, if we should not judge it necessary to support a constant navy. If premiums were to be given to merchants, to build and employ in their service, ships mounted with twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty guns, (the premiums to be in proportion to the loss of bulk to the merchants,) fifty or sixty of those ships with a few guardships on constant duty, would keep up a sufficient navy, and that without burdening ourselves with the evil so loudly complained of in England, of suffering their fleet in time of peace, to lie rotting in the docks. To unite the sinews of commerce and defence is sound policy; for when our strength and our riches play into each other’s hand, we need fear no external enemy.

In almost every article of defence we abound. Hemp flourishes even to rankness, so that we need not want cordage. Our iron is superior to that of other countries. Our small arms equal to any in the world. Cannon we can cast at pleasure. Saltpetre and gunpowder we are every day producing. Our knowledge is hourly improving. Resolution is our inherent character, and courage hath never yet forsaken us. Wherefore, what is it that we want? Why is it that we hesitate? From Britain we can expect nothing but ruin. If she is once admitted to the government of America again, this continent will not be worth living in. Jealousies will be always arising, insurrections will be constantly happening; and who will go forth to quell them?Who will venture his life to reduce his own countrymen to a foreign obedience? The difference between Pennsylvania and Connecticut, respecting some unlocated lands, shows the insignificance of a British government, and fully proves that nothing but continental authority can regulate continental matters.

Another reason why the present time is preferable to all others, is, that the fewer our numbers are, the more land there is yet unoccupied, which, instead of being lavished by the king on his worthless dependants, may be hereafter applied, not only to the discharge of the present debt, but to the constant support of government. No nation under heaven hath such an advantage as this.

The infant state of the colonies, as it is called, so far from being against, is an argument in favor of independence. We are sufficiently numerous, and were we more so we might be less united. It is a matter worthy of observation, that the more a country is peopled, the smaller their armies are. In military numbers, the ancients far exceeded the moderns : and the reason is evident, for trade being the consequence of population, men became too much absorbed thereby to attend to anything else. Commerce diminishes the spirit both of patriotism and military defence. And history sufficiently informs us, that the bravest achievements were always accomplished in the non-age of a nation. With the increase of commerce England hath lost its spirit. The city of London, notwithstanding its numbers, submits to continued insults with the patience of a coward. The more men have to lose, the less willing are they to venture. The rich are in general slaves to fear, and submit to courtly power with the trembling duplicity of a spaniel.

Youth is the seed-time of good habits, as well in nations as in individuals. It might be difficult, if not impossible, to form the continent into one government half a century hence. The vast variety of interests, occasioned by an increase of trade and population, would create confusion, Colony would be against colony. Each being able, might scorn each other’s assistance: and while the proud and foolish gloried in their little distinctions, the wise would lament that the union had not been formed before. Wherefore the present time is the true time for establishing it. The intimacy which is contracted in infancy, and the friendship which is formed in misfortune, are, of all others, the most lasting and unalterable, Our present union is marked with both these characters we are young, and we have been distressed; but our concord hath withstood our troubles, and fixes a memorable era for posterity to glory in.

The present time, likewise, is that peculiar time which never happens to a nation but once, viz. the time of forming itself into a government. Most nations have let slip the opportunity, and by that means have been compelled to receive laws from their conquerors, instead of making laws for themselves. First, they had a king, and then a form of government; whereas the articles or charter of government, should be formed first, and men delegated to execute them afterwards: but from the errors of other nations, let us learn wisdom, and lay hold of the present opportunity—to begin government at the right end.

When William the Conqueror subdued England, he gave them law at the point of the sword; and, until we consent that the seat of government in America be legally and authoritatively occupied, we shall be in danger of having it filled by some fortunate ruffian. Who may treat us in the same manner, and then, where will be our freedom? where our property?

As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of all governments, to protect all conscientious professors thereof, and I know of no other business which government hath to do therewith. Let a man throw aside that narrowness of soul, that selfishness of principle, which the niggards of all professions are so unwilling to part with, and he will be at once delivered of his fears on that head. Suspicion is the companion of mean souls, and the bane of all good society. For myself, I fully and conscientiously believe, that it is the will of the Almighty, that there should be a diversity of religious opinions among us: it affords a larger field for our Christian kindness. Were we all of one way of thinking, our religious dispositions would want matter for probation; and on this liberal principle, I look on the various denominations among us, to be like children of the same family, differing only in what is called their Christian names.

In a former page, I threw out a few thoughts on the propriety of a Continental Charter (for I only presume to offer hints, not plans) and in this place, I take the liberty of re-mentioning the subject, by observing, that a charter is to be understood as a bond of solemn obligation, which the whole enters into, to support the right of every separate part, whether of religion, personal- freedom, or property. A firm bargain and a right reckoning make long friends.

I have heretofore likewise mentioned the necessity of a large and equal representation; and there is no political matter which more deserves our attention. A small number of electors, or a small number of representatives, are equally dangerous. But if the number of the representatives be not only small, but unequal, the danger is increased. As an instance of this, I mention the following; when the associators petition was before the house of assembly of Pennsylvania, twenty-eight members only were present; all the Bucks county members, being eight, voted against it, and had seven of the Chester members done the same, this whole province had been governed by two counties only; and this danger it is always exposed to. The unwarrantable stretch likewise, which that house made in their last sitting, to gain an undue authority over the delegates of this province, ought to warn the people at large, how they trust power out of their own hands. A set of instructions for their delegates were put together, which in point of sense and business would have dishonoured a school-boy, and after being approved by a few, a very few, without doors, were carried into the house, and there passed in behalf of the whole colony; whereas, did the whole colony know with what ill will that house had entered on some necessary public measures, they would not hesitate a moment to think them unworthy of such a trust.

Immediate necessity makes many things convenient, which if continued would grow into oppressions. Expedience and right are different things. When the calamities of America required a consultation, there was no method so ready, or at that time so proper, as to appoint persons from the several houses of assembly for that purpose; and the wisdom with which they have proceeded hath preserved this continent from ruin. But as it is more than probable that we shall never be without a Congress, every well-wisher to good order must own, that the mode for choosing members of that body, deserves consideration. And I put it as a question to those, who make a study of mankind, whether representation and election is not too great a power for one and the same body of men to possess? Whenever we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.

It is from our enemies that we often gain excellent maxims, and are frequently surprised into reason by their mistakes. Mr. Cornwall (one of the lords of the treasury) treated the petition of the New-York assembly with contempt, because that house, he said, consisted but of twenty-six members, which trifling number, he argued, could not with decency be put for the whole. We thank him for his involuntary honesty.* [*Those who would fully understand of what great consequence a large and equal representation is to a state, should read Burgh’s Political Disquisitions.]

To conclude. However strange it may appear to some, or however unwilling they may be to think so, matters not, but many strong and striking reasons may be given, to show, that nothing can-settle our affairs so expeditiously as an open and determined declaration for independence. Some of which are,

1st, It is the custom of nations, when any two are at war, for some other powers, not engaged in the quarrel, to step in as mediators, and bring about the preliminaries of a peace; but while America calls herself the subject of Britain, no power, however well disposed she may be, can offer her mediation. Wherefore, in our present state, we may quarrel on for ever.

2d, It is unreasonable to suppose, that France or Spain will give us any kind of assistance, if we mean only to make use of that assistance for the purpose of repairing the breach, and strengthening the connexion between Britain and America; because, those powers would be sufferers by the consequences.

3d, While we profess ourselves the subjects of Britain, we must, in the eyes of foreign nations, be considered as rebels. The precedent is somewhat dangerous to their peace, for men to be in arms under the name of subjects; we, on the spot, can solve the paradox: but to unite resistance and subjection, requires an idea much too refined for common understanding.

4th, Should a manifesto be published, and dispatched to foreign courts, setting forth the miseries we have endured, and the peaceful methods which we have ineffectually used for redress; declaring at the same time, that not being able, any longer, to live happily or safely under the cruel disposition of the British court, we had been driven to the necessity of breaking off all connexion with her; at the same time, assuring all such courts of our peaceable disposition towards them, and of our desire of entering into trade with them. Such a memorial would produce more good effects to this continent, than if a ship were freighted with petitions to Britain.

Under our present denomination of British subjects, we can neither be received nor heard abroad: the custom of all courts is against us, and will be so, until, by an independence, we take rank with other nations.

These proceedings may at first appear strange and difficult; but like all other steps, which we have already passed over, will in a little time become familiar and agreeable; and, until an independence is declared, the continent will feel itself like a man who continues putting off some unpleasant business from day to day, yet knows it must be done, hates to set about it, wishes it over, and is continually haunted with the thoughts of its necessity.

Since the publication of the first edition of this pamphlet, or rather, on the same day on which it came out, the king’s speech made its appearance in this city. Had the spirit of prophecy directed the birth of this production, it could not have brought it forth at a more seasonable juncture, or at a more necessary time. The bloody-mindedness of the one, shows the necessity of pursuing the doctrine of the other. Men read by way of revenge:—and the speech, instead of terrifying, prepared a way for the manly principles of independence.

Ceremony, and even silence, from whatever motives they may arise, have a hurtful tendency, when they give the least degree of countenance to base and wicked performances; wherefore, if this maxim be admitted, it naturally follows, that the king’s speech, as being a piece of finished villany, deserved and still deserves, a general execration, both by the congress and the people. Yet, as the domestic tranquillity of a nation, depends greatly on the chastity of what may properly be called national manners, it is often better to pass some things over in silent disdain, than to make use of such new methods of dislike, as might introduce the least innovation on that guardian of our peace and safety. And, perhaps, it is chiefly owing to this prudent delicacy, that the king’s speech hath not before now suffered a public execution. The speech, if »Vmay be called one, is nothing better than a willful audacious libel against the truth, the common good, and the existence of mankind; and is a formal and pompous method of offering up human sacrifices to the pride of tyrants. But this general massacre of mankind, is one of the privileges and the certain consequences of kings; for as nature knows them not, they know not her, and although they are beings of our men creating, they know not us, and are become the gods of their creators. The speech hath one good quality, which is, that it is not calculated to deceive, neither can ‘we, if we would, be deceived by it. Brutality and tyranny appear on the face of it. It leaves us at no loss; and every line convinces, even in the moment of reading, that he who hunts the woods for prey, the naked and untutored Indian, is less savage than the king of Britain.

Sir John Dalrymple, the putative father of a whining jesuitical piece, fallaciously called, “The address of the people of England to the inhabitants of America,” hath perhaps, from a vain supposition that the people here were to be frightened at the pomp and description of a king, given (though very unwisely on his part) the real character of the present one: “But,” says this writer, “if you are inclined to pay compliments to an administration, which we do not complain of” (meaning the Marquis of Rockingham’s at the repeal of the Stamp Act) “it is very unfair in you to withhold them from that prince, by whose Nod Alone they were permitted to do any thing.” This is toryism with a witness! Here is idolatry even without a mask: and he who can calmly hear and digest such doctrine, hath forfeited his claim to rationality; is an apostate from the order of manhood, and ought to be considered—as one, who hath not only given up the proper dignity of man, but sunk himself beneath the rank of animals, and contemptibly crawls through the world like a worm.

However, it matters very little now, what the king of England either says or does; he hath wickedly broken through every moral and human obligation, trampled nature and conscience beneath his feet; and by a steady and constitutional spirit of insolence and cruelty, procured for himself an universal hatred. It is now the interest of America to provide for herself. She hath already a large and young family, whom it is more her duty to take care of, than to be granting away her property to support a power which become a reproach to the names of men and Christians—Ye, whose office it is to watch over the morals of a nation, of whatsoever sect or denomination ye are of, as well as ye who are more immediately the guardians of the public liberty, if you wish to preserve your native country uncontaminated by European corruption, ye must in secret wish a separation—but leaving the moral part to private reflection, I shall chiefly confine my further remarks to the following heads:

1st, That it is the interest of America to be separated from Britain.

2d, Which is the easiest and most practicable plan, reconciliation or independence? with some occasional remarks.

In support of the first, I could, if I judged it proper, produce the opinion of some of the ablest and most experienced men on this continent: and whose sentiments on that head, are not yet publicly known. It is in reality a self-evident position: for no nation in a state of foreign dependance, limited in its commerce, and cramped and fettered in its legislative powers, can ever arrive at any material eminence. America doth not yet know what opulence is; and although the progress which she hath made stands unparalleled in the history of other nations, it is but childhood, compared with what she would be capable of arriving at, had she, as she ought to have, the legislative powers in her own hands. England i&, at this time, proudly coveting what would do her no good were she to accomplish it; and the continent hesitating on a matter which will be her final ruin if neglected. It is the commerce and not the conquest of America by which England is to be benefited, and that would in a great measure continue, were the countries as independent of each other as France and Spain; because in many articles neither can go to a better market. But it is the independence of this country of Britain, or any other, which is now the main and only object worthy of contention, and which, like all other truths discovered by necessity, will appear clearer and stronger every day.

1st, Because it will come to that one time or other.

2d, Because the longer it is delayed, the harder it will be to accomplish.

I have frequently amused myself both in public and private companies, with silently remarking the specious errors of those who speak without reflecting. And among the many which I have heard, the following seems the most general, viz. that if this rupture should happen forty or fifty years hence, instead of now, the continent would be more able to shake off the dependance. To which I reply, that our military ability, at this time, arises from the experience gained in the last war, and which in forty or fifty years time, would be totally extinct. The continent would not, by that time, have a general, or even a military officer left; and we, or those who may succeed us, would be as ignorant of martial matters as the ancient Indians: and this single position, closely attended to, will unanswerably prove that the present time is preferable to all others. The argument turns thus—at the conclusion of the last war, we had experience, but wanted numbers; and forty or fifty years hence, we shall have numbers, without experience; wherefore, the proper point of time, must be some particular point between the two extremes, in which a sufficiency of the former remains, and a proper increase of the latter is obtained: and that point of time is the present time.

The reader will pardon this digression, as it does not properly come under the head I first set out with, and to which I again return by the following position, viz.

Should affairs be patched up with Britain, and she remain the governing and sovereign power of America, (which, as matters are now circumstanced, is giving up the point entirely) we shall deprive ourselves of the very means of sinking the debt we have, or may contract. The value of the back lands, which some of the provinces are clandestinely deprived of, by the unjust extension of the limits of Canada, valued only at five pounds sterling per hundred acres, amount to upwards of twenty-five millions Pennsylvania currency; and the quit-rents at one penny sterling per acre, to two millions yearly.

It is by the sale of those lands that the debt may be sunk, without burden to any, and the quit-rent reserved thereon, will always lessen, and in time, will wholly support the yearly expense of government. It matters not how long the debt is in paying, so that the lands when sold be applied to the discharge of it, and for the execution of which, the congress for the time being, will be the continental trustees.

I proceed now to the second head, viz. Which is the easiest and most practicable plan, reconciliation or independence? with some occasional remarks. He who takes nature for his guide, is not easily beaten out of his argument, and on that ground, I answer generally—That Independence being a Single Simple Line, contained within ourselves; and reconciliation, a matter exceedingly perplexed and complicated, and in which a treacherous, capricious court is to interfere, gives the answer without a doubt.

The present state of America is truly alarming to every man who is capable of reflection. Without law, without government, without any other mode of power than what is founded on, and granted by courtesy. Held together by an unexampled occurrence of sentiment, which is nevertheless subject to change, and which every secret enemy is endeavoring to dissolve. Our present condition is, legislation without law; wisdom without a plan; a constitution without a name; and, what is strangely astonishing, perfect independence contending for dependence. The instance is without a precedent; the case never existed before; and, who can tell what may be the event? The property of no man is secure in the present unbraced system of things) The mind of the multitude is left at random, and seeing no fixed object before them, they pursue such as fancy or opinion presents. Nothing is criminal; there is no such thing as treason; wherefore, every one thinks himself at liberty to act as he pleases. The Tories dared not have assembled offensively, had they known that their lives, by that act, were forfeited to the laws of the state. A line of distinction should be drawn between English soldiers taken in battle, and inhabitants of America taken in arms. The first are prisoners, but the latter traitors. The one forfeits his liberty, the other his head.

Notwithstanding our wisdom, there is a visible feebleness in some of our proceedings which gives encouragement to dissentions. The Continental Belt is too loosely buckled. And if something is not done in time, it will be too late to do any thing, and we shall fall into a state, in which neither Reconciliation nor Independence will be practicable. The king and his worthless adherents are got at their old game of dividing the continent, and there are not wanting among us, printers, who will be busy in spreading specious falsehoods. The artful and hypocritical letter which appeared a few months ago in two of the New-York papers, and likewise in others, is an evidence that there are men who want both judgment and honesty.

It is easy getting into holes and corners and talking of reconciliation: but do such men seriously consider how difficult the task is, and how dangerous it may prove, should the continent divide thereon. Do they take within their view, all the various orders of men whose situation and circumstances, as well as their own, are to be considered therein. Do they put themselves in the place of the sufferer whose all is already gone, and of the soldier, who hath quitted all for the defence of his country? If their ill-judged moderation be suited to their own private situations only, regardless of others, the event will convince them that “they are reckoning without their host.”

Put us, say some, on the footing we were in the year 1763: to which I answer, the request is not now in the power of Britain to comply with, neither will she propose it; but if it were, and even should it be granted, I ask, as a reasonable question, by what means is such a corrupt and faithless court to be kept to its engagements? Another parliament, nay, even the present, may hereafter repeal the obligation, on the pretence of its being violently obtained, or unwisely granted; and, in that case, where is our redress? No going to law with nations; cannon are the barristers of crowns; and the sword, not of justice, but of war, decides the suit. To be on the footing of 1763, it is not sufficient, that the laws only be put in the same state, but, that our circumstances, likewise, be put in the same state; our burnt and destroyed towns repaired, or built up, our private losses made good, our public debts (contracted for defence) discharged; otherwise, we shall be millions worse than we were at that enviable period. Such a request, had it been complied with a year ago, would have won the heart and soul of the continent—but now it is too late: “The Rubicon is passed.”

Besides, the taking up arms, merely to enforce the repeal of a pecuniary law, seems as unwarrantable by the divine law, and as repugnant to human feelings, as the taking up arms to enforce obedience thereto. The object, on either side, doth not justify the means; for the lives of men are too valuable to be cast away on such trifles. It is the violence which is done and threatened to our persons; the destruction of our property by an armed force; the invasion of our country by fire and sword, which conscientiously qualifies the use of arms: and the instant in which such mode of defence became necessary, all subjection to Britain ought to have ceased; and the independence of America should have been considered as dating its era from, and published by, the first musket that was fired against her. This line is a line of consistency; neither drawn by caprice, nor extended by ambition; but produced by a chain of events, of which the colonies were not the authors.

I shall conclude these remarks, with the following timely and well-intended hints. We ought to reflect, that there are three different ways by which an independency may hereafter be effected; and that one of those three, will, one day or other, be the fate of America, viz. By the legal voice of the people in congress; by a military power; or by a mob: it may not always happen that our soldiers are citizens, and the multitude a body of reasonable men; virtue, as I have already remarked, is not hereditary, neither is it perpetual. Should an independency be brought about by the first of those means, we have every opportunity and every encouragement before us, to form the noblest, purest constitution on the face of the earth. We have it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation, similar to the present, hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The birthday of a new world is at hand, and a race of men, perhaps as numerous as all Europe contains, are to receive their portion of freedom from the events of a few months. The reflection is awful—and in this point of view, how trifling, how ridiculous, do the little paltry caviling [To find fault unnecessarily; raise trivial objections], of a few weak or interested men appear, when weighed against the business of a world. Should we neglect the present favorable and inviting period, and independence be hereafter effected by any other means, we must charge the consequence to ourselves, or to those rather, whose narrow and prejudiced souls, are habitually opposing the measure, without either inquiring or reflecting. There are reasons to be given in support of independence, which men should rather privately think of, than be publicly told of. We ought not now to be debating whether we shall be independent or not, but anxious to accomplish it on a firm, secure, and honorable basis, and uneasy rather, that it is not yet began upon. Every day convinces us of its necessity. Even the Tories (if such beings yet remain among us) should, of all men, be the most solicitous to promote it; for as the appointment of committees at first, protected them from popular rage, so, a wise and well established form of government, will be the only certain means of continuing it securely to them. Wherefore, if they have not virtue enough to be Whigs, they ought to have prudence enough to wish for independence.

In short, independence is the only bond that tie and keep us together. We shall then see our object, and our ears will be legally shut against the schemes of an intriguing, as well as cruel, enemy. We shall then, too, be on a proper footing to treat with Britain; for there is reason to conclude, that the pride of that court will be less hurt by treating with the American states for terms of peace, than with those, whom she denominates “rebellious subjects,” for terms of accommodation. It is our delaying it that encourages her to hope for conquest, and our backwardness tends only to prolong the war. As we have, without any good effect therefrom, withheld our trade to obtain a redress of our grievances, let us now try the alternative, by independently redressing them ourselves, and then offering to open the trade. The mercantile and reasonable part of England, will be still with f us; because, peace, with trade, is preferable to war, without it. And if this offer be not accepted, other courts may be applied to.

On these grounds I rest the matter. And as no offer hath yet been made to refute the doctrine contained in the former editions of this pamphlet, it is a negative proof, that either the doctrine cannot be refuted, or, that the party in favor of it are too numerous to be opposed. Wherefore, instead of gazing at each other, with suspicious or doubtful curiosity, let each of us hold out to his neighbor the hearty hand of friendship, and unite in drawing a line, which, like an act of oblivion, shall bury in forgetfulness every former dissention. Let the names of whig and tory be extinct; and let none other be heard among us, than those of a good citizen; an open and resolute friend; and a virtuous supporter of the Rights of Mankind, and of the Free And InDependent STATES OF AMERICA

END OF COMMON SENSE.
Copyright © 2014 © 2015 TeaPartyEdu http://teapartyedu.net Foundation Truths http://captainjamesdavis.net The Patriot Brotherhood @CaptainJDavis ™

Thomas Paine’s Epistle to Quakers: War of Independence and 2nd Amendment

THOMAS PAINE’S COMMON SENSE (1776): A Prophetic Warning to America

Adding this in preparation for Chapter 3 of  “The Declaration of Independence: Its History” This is also a great piece for those who claim to be christians and either vote democrat or do not vote at all. I say as many others from history so do, it is the duty of every true Christian to vote, especially in America where God Himself gave us the right to choose leaders who are moral, wise and work for the public good and who fight tyranny over man in everything they do. As the current leadership of reprobates we have in leadership positions in this country proves: Christians have failed to do their duty as citizens of the only country on earth God ever truly gave them the privilege of so doing! After God and Jesus caused this country to be created in the manner it was, on the Bible and Christian principles from the Gospel of Christ, Christians have failed to advance the work started by the Lord. This also proves unlike the liberal leftist democrats proclaim, Thomas Paine  considered Jesus Christ his own personal savior. Paine was taking issue here with some of the Quakers i.e. Christians who were against the right of the people to bear arms and in using those arms to gain Independence from the British Crown and British parliaments influence in the American colonies.

Paine’s object was to open the eyes of the people to a proper sense of their rights. To prove to them that it was lawful to remove any and every one from office when they ceased to act for ‘the good of the community’. To show them that a king, if tolerated at all, was the servant of a people,—bound to direct their affairs with a view to their best interests, and not waste their wealth, and sacrifice their lives, in foreign intrigues and wars, for his individual fame.

That his writings on this subject tended to, and came very nearly producing, a revolution in that country, is certain! And nothing but a complete revolution can reinstate the people in their rights. Petitions and remonstrances are worse than useless, as has been seen in innumerable instances, and among the number, North America was one: all the ability of the country was put in requisition to supplicate for a redress of grievances, and what was the result?Derision and contempt. Inveterate diseases cannot be cured by the application of milk and water; the remedy must be proportioned to their virulence.

See also: As for me! I will take Liberty!
Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God
THE TRANSCENDENT GLORY OF THE REVOLUTION by John Quincy Adams
MORALITY OF GOVERNMENT by Thomas Jefferson 1810
RELIGIOUS VIEWS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON; source: The Jefferson Bible
Jefferson Foresaw and Prophesied about This Time in American History
GOD GOVERNS IN THE AFFAIRS OF MEN Speech by Benjamin Franklin During the Constitutional Convention
 

Thomas Paine quote Politicians

Thomas Paine Epistle to Quakers: Thomas Paine’s father was a Quaker

To the Representatives of the Religious Society of the people called Quakers, or to so many of them as were concerned in publishing a late piece, entitled “the Ancient Testimony and Principles of the people called Quakers renewed, with respect to the King and Government, and touching the Commotions now prevailing in these and other parts of America, addressed to the People In General.

THE writer of this is one of those few who never dishonors religion, either by ridiculing or caviling at any denomination whatsoever. To God, and not to man, are all men accountable on the score of religion. Wherefore, this epistle is not so properly addressed to you as a religious, but as a political body, dabbling in matters which the professed quietude of your principles instructs you not to meddle with.

As you have, without a proper authority for so doing, put yourselves in the place of the whole body of the Quakers, so the writer of this, in order to be on an equal rank with yourselves, is under the necessity of putting himself in the place of all those who approve the very writings and principles against which your Testimony is directed: and he hath chosen this singular situation, in order that you might discover in him, that presumption of character which you cannot see in yourselves. For neither he nor you have any claim or title to Political Representation.

When men have departed from the right way, it is no wonder that they stumble and fall. And it is evident from the manner in which ye have managed your Testimony, that politics (as a religious body of men) is not your proper walk; for however well adapted it may appear to you, it is, nevertheless, a jumble of good and bad put unwisely together, and the conclusion drawn therefrom both unnatural and unjust.

The two first pages (and the whole doth not make four) we give you credit for, and expect the same civility from you, because the love and desire of peace is not confined to Quakerism, it is the natural, as well as the religious wish of all denominations of men. And on this ground, as men laboring to establish an independent constitution of our own, do we exceed all others in our hope, end, and aim.

Our plan is peace forever. We are tired of contention with Britain, and can see no real end to it but in a final separation. We act consistently, because, for the sake of introducing an endless and uninterrupted peace, do we bear the evils and burdens of the present day. We are endeavoring, and will steadily continue to endeavor, to separate and dissolve a connection which has already filled our land with blood; and which, while the name of it remains, will be the fatal cause of future mischiefs to both countries.

We fight neither for revenge nor conquest; neither from pride nor passion; we are not insulting the world with our fleets and armies, nor ravaging the globe for plunder. Beneath the shade of our own vines we are attacked; in our own houses, and on our own lands, is the violence committed against us. We view our enemies in the characters of highwaymen and housebreakers, and having no defense for ourselves in the civil law, are obliged to punish them by the military one, and apply the sword in the very case where you have before now applied the halter.

Perhaps we feel for the ruined and insulted sufferers in all and every part of the continent, with a degree of tenderness which hath not yet made its way into some of your bosoms. But be ye sure that ye mistake not the cause and ground of your Testimony. Call not the coldness of the soul religion; nor put the bigot in the place of the Christian.

O ye partial ministers of your own acknowledged principles! If the bearing of arms be sinful, the first going to war must be more so, by all the difference between wilful attack and unavoidable defense.

Wherefore, if ye really preach from conscience, and mean not to make a political hobbyhorse of your religion, convince the world thereof by proclaiming your doctrine to our enemies, for they likewise bear Arms. Give us proof of your sincerity by publishing it at St. James’s, to the commanders-in-chief at Boston, to admirals and captains who are piratically ravaging our coasts, and to all the murdering miscreants who are acting in authority under Him whom ye profess to serve.

Had ye the honest soul of Barclay

 ” Thou hast tasted of prosperity and adversity! thou knowest what it is to be banished thy native country, to be overruled as well as to rule, and set upon the throne; and being oppressed, thou hast reason to know how hateful -the oppressor is both to God and man. If after all these warnings and advertisements, thou dost not turn unto the Lord with all thy heart, but forget Him who remembered thee in thy distress, and give up thyself to follow lust and vanity, surely great will be thy condemnation: against which snare, as well as the temptation of those who may or do feed thee, and prompt thee to evil, the most excellent and prevalent remedy will be to apply thyself to that light of CSirist which shineth in the conscience, and which neither can, nor will flatter thee, nor suffer thee to be at ease in thy sins.”—Barclay Address to Charles II.

ye would preach repentance to your king; ye would tell the royal tyrant of his sins, and warn him of eternal ruin. Ye would not spend your partial invectives against the injured and insulted only, but, like faithful ministers, would cry aloud and spare none. Say not that ye are persecuted, neither endeavor to make us the authors of that reproach which ye are bringing upon yourselves; for we testify unto all men, that we do not complain against you because ye are Quakers, but because ye pretend to be and are Not Quakers.

Alas! it seems by the particular tendency of some part of your Testimony, and other parts of your conduct, as if all sin was reduced to, and comprehended in, the act of bearing arms, and that by the people only. Ye appear to us to have mistaken party for conscience; because the general tenor of your actions wants uniformity; and it is exceedingly difficult for us to give credit to many of your pretended scruples; because we see them made by the same men, who, in the very instant that they are exclaiming against the mammon of this world, are nevertheless hunting after it with a step as steady as Time, and an appetite as keen as Death.

The quotation which ye have from Proverbs, in the third page of your Testimony, that, “when a man’s ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him”; is very unwisely chosen on your part; because it amounts to a proof that the King’s ways (whom ye are so desirous of supporting) do not please the Lord, otherwise his reign would be in peace.

I now proceed to the latter part of your Testimony, and that for which all the foregoing seems only an introduction, viz.:

“It hath ever been our judgment and principle, since we were called to profess the light of Christ Jesus, manifested in our consciences unto this day, that the setting up and putting down kings and governments, is God’s peculiar prerogative; for causes best known to Himself: and that it is not our business to have any hand or contrivance therein; nor to be busy-bodies above our station, much less to plot and contrive the ruin, or overturn any of them, but to pray for the King, and safety of our nation, and good of all men: that we may live a peaceful and quiet life in all godliness and honesty; under the government which God is pleased to set over us.”

If these are really your principles, why do ye not abide by them? Why do ye not leave that which ye call God’s work to be managed by Himself? These very principles instruct you to wait with patience and humility for the event of all public measures, and to receive that event as the divine will toward you. Wherefore, what occasion is there for your political Testimony, if you fully believe what it contains? And, therefore, publishing it proves that either ye do not believe what ye profess, or have not virtue enough to practise what ye believe.

The principles of Quakerism have a direct tendency to make a man the quiet and inoffensive subject of any and every government which is set over him. And if the setting up and putting down of kings and governments is God’s peculiar prerogative, He most certainly will not be robbed thereof by us; wherefore, the principle itself leads you to approve of everything which ever happened or may happen to kings, as being His work.

Oliver Cromwell thanks you. Charles, then, died not by the hands of man; and should the present proud imitator of him come to the same untimely end, the writers and publishers of the Testimony are bound by the doctrine it contains, to applaud the fact. Kings are not taken away by miracles, neither are changes in governments brought about by any other means than such as are common and human; and such as we are now using. Even the dispersing of the Jews, though foretold by our Saviour, was effected by arms. [Notice Paine says “our Saviour” not “Your Saviour”]

[Paine follows here by saying if you’re not on the side of the “right” then you should say nothing and mind your own business]

Wherefore, as ye refuse to be the means on one side, ye ought not to be meddlers on the other; but to wait the issue in silence; and, unless ye can produce divine authority to prove that the Almighty [God], who hath created and placed this new world at the greatest distance it could possibly stand, East and West, from every part of the old, doth, nevertheless, disapprove of its being independent of the corrupt and abandoned Court of Britain; unless, I say, ye can show this, how can ye, on the ground of your principles, justify the exciting and stirring up the people “firmly to unite in the abhorrence of all such writings, and measures, as evince a desire and design to break off the happy connection we have hitherto enjoyed with the Kingdom of Great Britain, and our just and necessary subordination to the King and those who are lawfully placed in authority under him.”

What a slap in the face is here! The men who, in the very paragraph before, have quietly and passively resigned up the ordering, altering and disposal of kings and governments into the hands of God, are now recalling their principles, and putting in for a share of the business. Is it possible that the conclusion, which is here justly quoted, can anyways follow from the doctrine laid down?

The inconsistency is too glaring not to be seen; the absurdity too great not to be laughed at; and such as could only have been made by those whose understandings were darkened by the narrow and crabbed spirit of a despairing political party; for ye are not to be considered as the whole body of Quakers, but only as a factional and fractional part thereof.

Here ends the examination of your Testimony (which I call upon no man to abhor, as ye have done, but only to read and judge of fairly); to which I subjoin the following remark: “That the setting up and putting down of kings” must certainly mean the making him a king, who is yet not so, and the making him no king who is already one. And pray what hath this to do in the present case? We neither mean to set up nor to put down, neither to make nor to unmake, but to have nothing to do with them. Wherefore, your Testimony, in whatever light it is viewed, serves only to dishonor your judgment, and for many other reasons had better have been left alone than published.

First. Because it tends to the decrease and reproach of all religion whatever, and is of the utmost danger to society, to make it a party in political disputes.

Secondly. Because it exhibits a body of men, numbers of whom disavow the publishing of political testimonies, as being concerned therein and approvers thereof.

Thirdly. Because it hath a tendency to undo that continental harmony and friendship which yourselves, by your late liberal and charitable donations, have lent a hand to establish; and the preservation of which is of the utmost consequence to us all.

And here, without anger or resentment, I bid you farewell. Sincerely wishing, that as men and Christians, ye may always fully and uninterruptedly enjoy every civil and religious right; and be in your turn the means of securing it to others.
Copyright © 2014 © 2015 TeaPartyEdu http://teapartyedu.net Foundation Truths http://captainjamesdavis.net The Patriot Brotherhood @CaptainJDavis ™

VA Scandal Whistle Blower Reveals How Government Bureaucrats Empire Build & Grow Fiefdoms

Veterans Deserve Better!

VALogo

In an interview with Neal Cavuto: Whistle Blower Scott Davis Who at the request of the VA [Veterans Administration] office of Inspector General to confirm rumors or activity at the VA Health Eligibility Center (HEC) in Atlanta dealing with the destruction of 17,000 applications for VA healthcare. Davis Reveals the Big story is the Back Log of Over 600,000 Individual applications for VA Health Care as well as the 17,000 Health Benefit Applications Were Deliberately Destroyed by VA Union Employee Members. Davis adds “That’s shameful.” I agree!

When asked by Neal why the VA HEC would destroy the applications. Davis also Reveals White House Pressure For VA HEC to hit their numbers, you’ve heard a lot about the 14 day turn-around time for the hospitals, but what most people don’t know is, there’s a 5 day turn-around time for applications and if we don’t hit that 5 day turn-around time it effects performance goals for people in senoir leadership positions. Davis went on to say. “What happens is that we’re currently neglecting not only the right thing to do which is to process applications. Not delete them, we have a huge system integrity issue at VA. For example, the VA right now can’t even tell investigators what happened to those applications, because they can’t verify where they are, what happened to them, if they were deleted, why were they deleted and why were there was no paper record showing the justification for deleting those records.”

Neal said “We’ve asked for a statement from the VA on this, we’ve yet to get one…I’m trying to give them the benefit of the doubt here.” Neal went on to ask if the workers just got overwhelmed and dumped the applications in the trash. Davis responded: “I know there were suspect activities before I started working there in 2011, what I can tell you is there is so much pressure on the employees to get stuff done, so that management can meet goals…So what happens is instead of VA focusing on doing what’s right for our nations veterans, meaning taking time, processing each application diligently and appropriately, pressure is placed on front line employees to overwork themselves, rush through the application process to hit goals for members of management.”

Neal asked Davis if the goal was a dollar goal or to get the applications complete. Like to keep on top of it to make sure there were no delays or Keep on top of it and get rid of something that could hurt our numbers. Davis responded from what he had seen “it is based on a performance goal…What you find is there is extensive pressure placed on the staff…to focus our attention to applications that are based on specific campaigns coming out of Washington. For example; We actually put applications aside so we could focus on the ACA [Obamacare] applications that came in last summer. That’s wrong, we should focus on each veterans application as they come in, not because of special campaigns coming out of [Washington] D.C.”

When Neal remarked about the protections provided by federal law to whistle blowers.
Davis said also “I reached out to White House Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors [one of Obama’s top advisers, who Obama put over analyzing VA problems] to share my concerns about the VA and to give Nabors a copy of my Whistle Blower Complaints. Somehow that correspondence & complaint was given to the very same management group at the HEC who was harassing me. Davis added: “I received an email from my current manager Sherry Williams saying ‘I’m contacting you on behalf of acting Secretary Gibson and Rob Nabors.’ I let the White House, Mr. Nabors, and Acting Secretary Gibson know this had happened. To this date they have taken No Action against Miss Williams.”

Davis went on to say “I contacted the Inspector General to let them know what Miss Williams had done, and keep in mind Miss Williams used to work for the Inspector General. Which makes it even more shameful. I was told by the Office that was Investigating the HEC, They could not address the issue that I had to call a Hot Line. When I called the Hot Line, the Hot Line told me to call the Office of Special Counsel. Now I did get a contact from the White House Counsel’s Office or [White House] Office of Special Counsel,.. and I use that name,.. and I contacted that Person to file a complaint. But, I want to be honest…The only reason I haven’t been fired today is because I have been working with Chairman Miller’s Team [Chairman Jeff Miller. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs] as well as my Congressmen Tom Price and Senator Johnny Isaacson. If I did not have elected Officials working with me to address these issues, I would have easily been terminated a long time ago. Especially I would have to thank the team over at AJC [Atlanta Journal Constitution] that broke the article this weekend.”

Neal says “it seems the VA going years back, is overwhelmed and cannot handle the workload”
Whistle Blower Davis responded “I think if you allow the employees and the people who go to work everyday to service our nations veterans, the work will get done, the money is there, it’s over 160 Billion dollars in the [Federal] Budget. But you brought up a key point Neal, and that is, this goes back years, and that’s because the leaders in the VA, in particular VHA, the healthcare side have been in leadership at VA in many cases, some before I was even born at the start of their career at the VA”

Neal said it seemed like the lifelong bureaucrats at the VA seemed to jump through hoops in order to get those bonuses and make the numbers.” Scott Davis responded “I think a lot of managers did it to make the numbers to get the bonus, but also look at the influence of government. People in government don’t just do what they do for their bonuses….They also do it to Empire Build. The more you hit your numbers the more you can expand your department, you can expand your Fiefdom at VA as I like to call it. So for example in our department where we work. We brought in about 4 or 5 new GS-15 Positions. These are 130-150 thousand dollar a year positions, yet we haven’t done anything to bring in workers who can actually bring down the workload. That’s what a veteran wants. He or she wants their healthcare application processed, they don’t need another executive to stand around looking at other people doing the work.”

Neal asked, if there was any metric or was there some sort of quality [assurance] ..something like JD Power type award, or recognition, or bonus for behavior that would make things better for Vets?

Davis reveals: “I can tell you from the whistle blowers I have talked too, that work at VHA. Their account is, it was the Bonus Structure was more about Rewarding the Executives, and it Incentivised not fully disclosing Medical Needs of the Veterans. For example if people in Congress knew that veterans needed more medical care, they probably would have given us more money to send vets to mental health professionals, to send people to specialty care physicians. If you don’t disclose that information the veterans don’t get the monies they need for the care they deserve and have earned.”
Copyright © 2014 © 2015 TeaPartyEdu http://teapartyedu.net Foundation Truths http://captainjamesdavis.net The Patriot Brotherhood @CaptainJDavis ™

Democrats Words versus Democrats Actions

EdmundBurkeQuotesDemocrats

Even Edmund Burke (1729-1797) understood the democrats

Democrats decry the war on women in America when the real war in America are on the traditional male figure, father, husband, head of the family, and Caucasian males specifically.

Democrats who are quick to defend the Islamic religion and say you can’t condemn the ‘religion’ because of the acts of a few extremists who are said to ‘pervert’ the ‘religion of peace’ [sic]. Vast numbers of ‘extremists’ who torture, rape and murder children and women as well as men, never being condemned by the ‘moderate Muslims’ who vote for Sharia Law which denies women and children any rights, where the men have complete control over their lives, liberties, and far too often their deaths. Yet these same democrats are just as quick to condemn the entire Christian religion due to the acts of a truly insignificant minority of charlatans and reprobates who pervert and / or use the Christian religion for their own ends, or hide among the sheep to take advantage of and / or victimize those same sheep.

Democrats and so-called Liberals accuse Tea Party Patriots and conservatives of using racist ‘code words’ like welfare, thug, tax cuts, etc., Then we find out from Timothy Geithner the democrats themselves are the ones who use code words they call “dog whistles” as shout-outs to their democrat base voters, which gives you an idea about how they feel about their base and the people who vote for them. I guess that’s why they throw them a bone occasionally to keep them happy and their tails wagging.

The democrats accuse republicans of being partisan with the IRS and Benghazi hearings, when in truth they are only partisan because the democrats are more interested in covering up the truth, than in finding the truth, getting the facts, holding people accountable and making sure it doesn’t happen again. They’re more interested in covering up the truth, hiding the facts and hoping it doesn’t happen again until they can blame the republicans, or at least deflect peoples attention from them by saying all politicians or both parties do it. I disagree, only the democrats use the lower, more base and insidious politics their current leadership seems to be extremely adept at. Seems the current crop of democrats in leadership, their intelligence is specifically honed in covering up their own incompetence and despotic behavior.

In the Benghazi scandal the democrats have continually accused republicans of playing politics with the issue, when it is they themselves who politicized it when they chose to cover up the incompetence of Obama and Hillary Clinton to help ensure his election to a second term.

In the IRS scandal, we learn that it is the democrats who use tactics and measures that oppress the free speech of the common people, suppress voters, and use the government to strong-arm their opponents after having accused republicans of all these things for decades without any proof.

Senator Harry Reid accuses people of not paying taxes who have paid, then we learn it is the democrat employees of the IRS and the Obama administration who have not paid their taxes, many of them even getting bonuses after not having paid them.

As I have said many, many times, if you really want to know what the democrats, so-called liberals and progressives are doing? All you have to do is listen to what they are accusing their opponents of.

I will be adding to this list as they come to mind, feel free to add your own examples in the comments below. Have a great and profitable day.

The Greatest Domestic Terrorist Organization in America is the Federal Government

EdmundBurkeQuotesDemocrats

“On every unauthoritative exercise of power by the legislature must the people rise in rebellion or their silence be construed into a surrender of that power.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

The federal government has become the greatest domestic terrorist organization, and the greatest threat to peace and happiness in America. The continuing slide towards a police state we see in America today, is on a trajectory that cannot be sustained for long among a free people. With the militarization of the various governmental agencies in the federal government and the nations police forces, it should be obvious to anyone the federal government has ceased to work for the best interests of the citizenry or the nation.

It should be noted the Nazi’s and Third Reich in Germany rose to power because the German people were more concerned about the economy than they were about anything else. Just as we see in America today, people only care about politics and what the government is doing when it affects their pocket books. People need to wake up and look to the history of the world, to learn what is possible and how to avoid the mistakes of the past in made in other parts of the world as well as our own.

1stAmendmentArea

"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin 
by subduing the freeness of speech." Benjamin Franklin 
Written when he was 16.

When you have instances where a tortoise takes precedent over American lives and lively hoods, it is unsustainable against the bulwark of our freedoms. There are many instances like this, including but not limited to:

Federal EPA i.e. Environmental Propaganda Agency now claims it can garnish the wages of individual Americans, families, homeowners, etc. who they deem are violating EPA rules and regulations. No judge needed, no court approval or oversight, they can do it just like the IRS. This is what you call tyranny, the acts of our current federal government are in many ways much more egregious than those acts of King George III, whom the colonial Americans fought against for Independence in the Revolutionary War.

Farmers in California being denied the water they need to grow produce for the nation because of a smelt. Ranchers in various parts of the country being denied the right to graze their cattle on public lands, or being fined for cleaning out a water course to allow for the free flow of water. Builders being denied the right to build what they choose to build, on land they own. Home owners being denied the right to even catch rain in a barrel that flows from the roof of the houses they own. It is nothing short of tyranny designed to cause terror among the domestic population and is therefore domestic terrorism.

When you have a pipeline that would benefit the nation and citizenry being denied the needed permits through numerous studies, studies that find no harm would come from the same, yet the federal government through it’s domestic terrorist arm the EPA continues to deny the permits. When this same government imposes regulations that are so egregious they cause numerous business and job losses in coal country. It is nothing short of domestic terror and government abuse of the citizenry.

When you have the IRS, FEC, OSHA, FBI, DoJ, BLM, DHS and numerous other domestic terrorist agencies of the federal government targeting their political opponents. When you have the NSA doing nonstop surveillance and spying on the American people. It is nothing short of domestic terror, and designed to cause fear among the citizenry.

When you have members of the Government Oversight Committee coordinating with the IRS and other agencies in that same targeting of conservative groups, and other members of Congress and the Whitehouse calling on the IRS to do that targeting. It is nothing short of domestic terror and designed to cause a chilling effect on those who would speak against them.

When you have the Whitehouse take punitive measures against the American people during the most recent government shutdown: i.e. Closing the WWII Memorial to veterans, the ocean to fisherman, highway scenic overlooks, and the national parks to the American public who paid for those parks with their tax dollars and numerous other punitive and adolescent measures designed to make the American people call on Congress to cave to the Whitehouse demands. It is nothing short of domestic terror and reflect more the actions of a third world dictator, than those of an American president who should reflect the values of the American citizenry.

DanielWebsterQuotesPatriotism

When you have members of the TSA, created by the George W. Bush administration; committing lewd and lascivious sexual acts on the general public and given sanction to do so by the federal government. It is nothing short of domestic terror and designed to condition the citizenry to surrender more and more of their liberties under the guise of protecting them.

When you have a federal government, who will turn the full weight of it’s power against the citizens, and do nothing about the influx of law breakers through our porous southern border. It is indeed nothing short of terror and has no place in America, the Land of the Free.

When The same federal government kills cattle because a rancher loses his appeals to the federal courts that are stacked against him and doesn’t pay the fines imposed upon him. This same government refuses to pay the millions awarded to another rancher (Wayne Hage) who took it upon himself to learn the law because of his fathers 20 year dispute with the federal government, and in so doing allowed him to prevail in his legal disputes against that same government, it is nothing short of domestic government tyranny and abuse of power.

When you have the federal government printing and pumping money into the stock market to buoy the numbers so the economy seems to be doing better than we average American’s know it to be. When the actions of the federal governmental policies devaluing the dollar to such an extent it causes prices, not only on luxuries to skyrocket, but also the basic staples and needs of human life, such as groceries, electricity, and fuel to double and triple in the years since Obama became president, it is nothing short of domestic terror, which does only harm to the tranquility and peace of the citizenry.

When you have the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families team up with Boston Children’s Hospital to kidnap a child from Connecticut and keep her from her family as they did, and continue to do with Justina Pelletier, and the court imposes a gag order to keep the Pelletier from speaking about it. That is not indicative of American values, those are more like tactics of a despot who denies the rights of parents and families,  It is nothing short of government abuse of power and domestic terror. It is also an indication of what America has in store for her with Obamacare, since Obamacare was designed by the same people who designed the Massachusetts healthcare system.

EdmundBurkeQuotesLibertyCorruption

I could spend all day making a list and providing links to various instances of domestic terror by the federal government, however I think enough Americans are beginning to see them in their personal lives that I do not need to do so.

It is indeed time for the nation to stand up against the biggest bullies in America and take back our country from the federal government and the people who support this same tyrannical terroristic organization. Congress is not blameless in this growing domestic terrorism by the government. For it was they who created the monster, and it is they who can pass legislation or resend legislation that has led to the abuse by the monster they created. It would be wise from what we are seeing today for the House of Representatives and the United States Senate to fix the alphabet agency soup they created before the people rise up against the same; due to the lack of action on the part of Congress, the Supreme Court and the President to reign in the government we pay for through our tax dollars.

I encourage and invite you all to add to the list in the comments below…

One last message before I sign off: Attention Government Employees and Officials: YOU are our hirelings, servants, and employees, NOT our parents, rulers, or lords and We the people are NOT your Customers!

We the People are the Ruler’s in America! We the People ARE the Last Word, NOT the Legislator, NOT the Supreme Court, NOT the President. When We Stand Together, our Hirelings have no choice but to Listen!

“The government is merely a servant―merely a temporary servant; it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn’t. Its function is to obey orders, not originate them.” ~ Mark Twain

UPDATE: Harry Reid doesn’t want Americans to get away with breaking laws, but if illegal aliens break the law; he gives them citizenship! Forget about the GOP’s so called war on women, so-called by democrats to distract. Think of the federal governments war on us ALL!

Also see:What Measures are actually taken by wicked and desperate Ministers to ruin and enslave their Country
Freedom of Speech the Same is Inseparable From Public Liberty: Cato Letter No. 15
Of Rebellion: Observations on the Boston Port-Bill by John Q. Adams 1774
Extract from Hyperion by “The Patriot” Josiah Quincy Jr., 1768
Appeal to the People Concerning the Heavy Hand of Government
The Reason Behind Low Congressional Approval Ratings “Far Too Long”
The Democrats Assault on the First Amendment in America
Sensible According to the Democrats
A System That Breeds Contempt In Its Children
The Consequence of Bad Legal Precedent in American Legislation
The Powers of Congress; House of Representatives and the Senate: Constitution Article I
The Powers of the Executive Branch i.e. the President: Constitution Article II
Weird Weather in the United States evidence of Climate Change?
A WARNING TO AMERICANS by John Dickinson 1732-1808
GRIEVANCES OF THE COLONISTS TO THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT by Richard Henry Lee 1775

Oversight Committees IRS Targeting Investigation Malfeasance

No wonder Democrat Minority Leader (Rep Elijah Cummings) in the House Oversight Committee Has Fought So Hard and Viciously to Impede the Oversights Committees Investigation into the IRS Targeting Tea Party, Religious, Jewish, and Conservative Organizations.

IRS“House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa on Wednesday accused his Democratic counterpart, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, of colluding with the IRS to attack one of the tea party groups that was targeted by the tax agency for intrusive scrutiny and long delays.

Mr. Issa and five other top Republicans said they just last week were given emails showing Mr. Cummings sought information from the IRS about True the Vote, a conservative tax-exempt organization that drew the ire of liberals for pushing states to eliminate potentially bogus names from their voter rolls.”

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/9/issa-irs-coordinated-dems-attack-tea-party-group/

Keep in mind North Carolina officials found over 36,000 cases of Voter Fraud just in their State during the 2012 election cycle. This should be one of the Greatest Crimes in America. Dealt the most severe punishment for it undermines the very bedrock of our Republic. When a person commits voter fraud, they are not only robbing each individual who votes, they are robbing our Republic of the very democratic principles of its founding.

Excerpt from page two of above linked story: “Sixty years ago, Joe McCarthy tried — and failed — to hold an American citizen in contempt after she professed her innocence and asserted her rights under the Fifth Amendment. I reject Chairman Issa’s attempts to re-create our committee in Joe McCarthy’s image, and I object to his effort to drag us back to that shameful era in which Congress tried to strip away the constitutional rights of American citizens under the bright lights of hearings that had nothing to do with responsible oversight and everything to do with the most dishonorable kind of partisan politics,” Mr. Cummings said.

This is pretty rich coming from Cummings who has done everything he can to impede the Oversights committees investigation into the IRS stripping away True American Citizens Rights. A government employee is the government, they are not an American citizen. If an American business person gives up their Constitutional Rights when entering into public commerce, then an American who enters into public service give up those same rights when entering that same service!

Here are the documents about Democrat Rep Cummings’  interactions with the IRS about a targeted conservative organization: True The Vote

Keep in mind hundreds of Progressive, Liberal, Democrat 501c Organizations have been politically active for decades. See it was just fine with the Democrats when it was only their side who took advantage of these tax-exempt organizations. These include to name a few:
Fierce;
Moveon.org;
Voto Latino;
Labor Unions;
Planned Parenthood;
The Ruckus Society;
Brennan Center for Justice;
The New World Foundation;
Americans United for Change;
The Black Alliance for Just Immigration;
Women’s Action for New Directions (WAND);

It is only when organizations who are opposed to the Democrats and in fact to some extent the leadership in the GOP that the 501 organizations suddenly need revision and fixing by Congress to reign in their political activity. Democrats do this all the time, they create legislation they take advantage of, then when their opposition takes advantage of the same. They then want to revise those rules, or repeal the legislation to keep the opposition from doing the same. Democrats, liberals and progressives truly are the biggest hypocrites in America. Cummings at the very least should be removed from his duties as a member of the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform.

Here are just a few of those average hard working Americans targeted by the IRS

A System That Breeds Contempt In Its Children

SpringBreakRiotWe see in the Spring Break riot in CA what happens when a school system that teaches children from their inception to despise the nation of their birth. When a school system teaches children to so despise the nation of their birth, it not only breeds contempt for the nation, it also breeds contempt for the law, and the very system and people who taught them that contempt. Just wait until they learn how they have been so completely lied to about the history of their country, then we will see that system pulled down around those who forced that contempt upon them, around the ears of those responsible.

You are hereby forewarned politicians, courts, and national education system, including the Government bureaucracy, the NEA, Department of education and so called liberal progressives, who are nothing but leftist tyrannical malcontents who have such disgust for themselves, they can see no good in the nation that has blessed them with its existence.

The Democrats Assault on the First Amendment in America

Due to the Supreme Court’s failure to address an issue concerning the Rights of Conscience and Religious Liberty today, and the growing trend among the Fascist Leftist to silence those they disagree with the following is appropriate:

If an American businessman surrenders their Rights as an individual when entering business, then government workers surrender their Rights as individuals when they enter the Public Service, therefore they who are indeed the government since they are part of that government cannot invoke the 5th Amendment as we see with Lois Lerner. The Constitution was written and made the Supreme Law of the Land to Protect individuals and citizens from the government, not the government from the people. It is past time for the abuse of our Rights and the promotion of government who was given no Rights to end!

I try hard to be respectful and tolerant of others, leftists, especially the ones in the LBGT community are making that almost impossible

I’ll have to give Mitch a thumbs up on this one

McConnell: Growing threats to our First Amendment rights
Today, (Friday, June 15, 2012) Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell spoke at the American Enterprise Institute on the growing threats to our First Amendment rights. Rather than editing or filtering his comments, his extensive remarks are provided:

One of the things that has always distinguished Americans as a people is the eagerness with which they’ve organized around issues and causes they believe in. As Alexis de Tocqueville put it more than a century and a half ago, “In no country in the world has the principle of association been more successfully used or applied to a greater multitude of objects than in America.”

And yet today, this principle faces a grave external threat. The danger comes from a political movement that’s uncomfortable with the idea of groups it doesn’t like speaking freely, and from an administration that has shown an alarming willingness itself to use the powers of government to silence these groups.

This dangerous alliance threatens the character of America. And that’s why it is critically important for all conservatives — and indeed all Americans — to stand up and unite in defense of the freedom to organize around the causes we believe in, and against any effort that would constrain our ability to do so.

The bulwark of this freedom is the First Amendment. And defending it is what I’d like to talk about today.

It’s hard to imagine a more broadly accepted proposition than the fact that Americans are free, above all else, to speak their minds openly and freely, without fear of punishment or reprisal from government authorities. Human nature being what it is, however, I think we would all have to admit that there will always be a temptation, particularly among those in power, to muffle one’s critics.

But for politicians in this country, it is a temptation always to be resisted. Because any inclination to do so would demonstrate a deeply misguided notion of our proper place in a government that was established, as the preamble to the Constitution makes clear, by the people. For the framers, the highest form of speech, the form of speech most needful of absolute protection, is political speech, particularly at those moments of national decision we call elections.

In other places, at other times, those in authority may have asserted a right to limit speech. But not here. In this country, the government simply does not have the authority. This point was so obvious to the founders that the primary author of the Federalist Papers could suggest that the Bill of Rights was not only unnecessary, but dangerous, since by identifying the things that government can’t do, it might lead some to think that whatever wasn’t listed was fair game.

And, of course, Hamilton was dead on to fear that future governments would attempt to assume powers they were never intended to have. And it’s precisely for this reason that we should all be glad he lost this particular debate, and that the Bill of Rights survived.

Without it, we’d have far less to point to in defending the principles of our founding. And over the past few years, Americans have needed all the help they can get.

Now, for many of us in this room, the constitutional debates we’ve been engaged in over the past few years have been deeply encouraging. They’ve revealed a broad appreciation of our founding principles and a capacity for civic engagement that some had feared was in decline. For me personally, they’ve also provided strong validation of a fight I’ve waged for nearly three decades against those within the government who would micromanage political speech.

At times, this fight has compelled me to take positions that weren’t exactly popular. Opposing a constitutional amendment to ban flag burning was not a popular position in Kentucky, I assure you. My views on so-called campaign finance reform were far from universal, even within my own party. And with very rare exceptions, the media has been merciless.

But as the years have gone by, many of the early critics have begun to come around. And it’s my firm conviction that in the years ahead, I’ll prevail. Since McConnell v. FEC, I’ve filed six amicus briefs in subsequent court battles, with a seventh in the works. But all I’ll really need to win is all I’ve ever needed in this fight: and that’s the 45 words of the First Amendment, and the determination to see their true meaning vindicated.

It’s the same approach that millions of other citizens have taken in battling this administration’s attempts to assume powers it simply does not have under the Constitution. And I’m confident that they’ll be vindicated too. Every one of these fights is winnable, as long as we all keep at it.

But I think that precisely because we’ve been fighting on so many fronts, it’s easy to overlook the growing severity of certain individual threats, including the threat to speech. We see instances of it here and there, but engaged as we are in so many other battles, we risk losing sight of the size and scope of this one. So if you’ll allow me, I’d like to spend a few moments just running through some of what we’ve seen. And then I’ll lay out the stakes as I see them.

The attacks on speech are legion. Perhaps the most prominent is the so-called DISCLOSE Act.

This is the Democrats’ legislative response to Citizens United, in which the Supreme Court correctly ruled that Congress may not ban political speech based on the identity of the speaker. The DISCLOSE Act aims to get around this ruling by compelling certain targeted groups to disclose the names of their donors, while excluding others, such as unions, from doing the same.

Now, to most people the idea of disclosure sounds perfectly reasonable. And throughout my career, I too have consistently called for the full and timely disclosure of all contributions to candidates and parties. But what we’re talking about here is entirely different. What this bill calls for is government-compelled disclosure of contributions to all grassroots groups, which is far more dangerous than its proponents are willing to admit.

Because if disclosure is forced upon some but not all, it’s not an act of good government, it’s a political weapon. And that’s precisely what those who are pushing this legislation have in mind. This is nothing less than an effort by the government itself to exposes its critics to harassment and intimidation, either by government authorities or through third-party allies. And that should concern every one of us.

Those pushing the DISCLOSE Act have a simple view: if the Supreme Court is no longer willing to limit the speech of those who oppose their agenda, they’ll find other ways to do it.

You’ve all heard about the Idaho businessman who’s become a personal target of the President for speaking out on behalf of candidates and causes the President opposes. Shortly after being publicly singled out by the President’s campaign, people were digging through his divorce records, cable television hosts were going after him on air, and bloggers were harassing his kids.

Charles and David Koch have become household names, not for the tens of thousands of people they employ, not for their generosity to charity, and not for building up one of the most successful private corporations on the planet; but because of their forceful and unapologetic promotion and defense of capitalism.

In return for their decades of work, one of the President’s top aides exposed them to public scrutiny by insinuating that they’d done something shady on their taxes. And earlier this year, the President’s own campaign manager sent a mass email to the campaign’s supporters, notifying them of a Koch-backed event, presumably to incite just the kind of mob that showed up.

The results have been predictable. The Koch brothers, along with Koch employees, have had their lives threatened, received hundreds of obscenity-laced hate messages, and been harassed by left-wing groups. One e-mail carried a typical message. It read: “Choose your expiration date.”

If the President of the United States opposed these kinds of tactics, all he’d have to do is condemn them. Instead, he’s joined the effort.

President Obama has publicly accused the Koch’s of being part of a, quote, “corporate takeover of our Democracy,” whatever that means. And not only did his campaign publish a list of eight private citizens it regards as enemies — an actual old-school enemies list — it recently doubled down on the effort when some began to call these thuggish tactics into question.

None of this should be surprising for a former community organizer who told a radio audience shortly before the 2010 mid-term election that Latino voters should vote with the idea of punishing their enemies and rewarding their friends. But all of it should be surprising to a former community organizer who happens to be President.

What’s more, the tactics I’m describing extend well beyond the campaign headquarters in Chicago. To an extent not seen since the Nixon administration, they extend deep into the administration itself.

News reports suggest that top White House officials have long participated in a weekly conference call with a left-wing organization in Washington whose stated purpose is to track conservative media voices, seize on potentially offensive content, and then use it to mount corporate intimidation campaigns aimed at driving these voices clear out of the public square.

Earlier this year, dozens of Tea Party-affiliated groups across the country learned what it was like to draw the attention of the speech police when they received a lengthy questionnaire from the IRS demanding attendance lists, meeting transcripts, and donor information. One of the group’s leaders described the situation this way: “[groups like ours] either drown … in unnecessary paper work … or you survive, and give them everything they want, only to be hung.”

The head of one national advocacy group has released documents which show that his group’s confidential IRS information found its way into the hands of a staunch critic on the Left who also happens to be a co-chairman of President Obama’s re-election committee. The only way this information could have been made public is if someone leaked it from inside the IRS.

And just last week we learned of an IRS decision revoking the tax-exempt status of small political nonprofit groups that undoubtedly foreshadows an effort to do the same to bigger groups on the Right that the Obama Administration regards as a threat to its campaign.

Those who have the resources and the will to fight these things should be commended. Those who don’t should be able to count on our support. But let’s be very clear: no individual or group in this country should have to face harassment or intimidation, or incur crippling expenses, defending themselves against their own government, simply because that government doesn’t like the message they’re advocating.

One person who grasps this issue better than most is Justice Clarence Thomas. And if you haven’t read Justice Thomas’s partial dissent in Citizens United, I highly recommend it. His opinion reminds us that the courts have found the chilling effect of harassment and intimidation on free speech can actually run afoul of the First Amendment.

This is why the FEC has exempted the Socialist Worker’s Party from any public disclosure since 1979. As long as they’re able to show that disclosure has led to harassment, the FEC has been happy to exempt them on First Amendment grounds. As the Court put it in Buckley, “the evidence offered need show only a reasonable probability that the compelled disclosure of a party’s contributors’ names will subject them to threats, harassment, or reprisals, from either government officials or private parties.”

The Court used similar reasoning when it told the state of Alabama back in 1958 that it couldn’t compel the NAACP to reveal the names and addresses of its members. In NAACP v. Alabama, the Court found that compelling disclosure of affiliation with groups that are engaged in advocacy infringed upon the freedom of people to associate with whatever group they like and violated their First Amendment rights.

All of this explains why Justice Thomas thought the majority opinion in Citizens United didn’t go far enough. Citing recent accounts of people who’ve been blackmailed, threatened, and targeted for retaliation for speaking out on various political issues over the past couple of years, he said the Court failed to acknowledge their constitutional significance.

Among others examples, Justice Thomas cites the case of a Los Angeles woman who was forced to resign from a job she’d held for 26 years managing a family-owned restaurant because protesters kept showing up at the restaurant shouting “shame on you” at customers. According to press reports, the police had to show up in riot gear one night just to quell the mob.

The woman’s supposed crime: writing a $100 check in support of California’s Prop 8.

Justice Thomas goes on to note that the advent of the Internet has made these tactics even easier to pull off, and thus increases the likelihood that the public will be discouraged from participating in the political process. It’s a point that’s underscored by recent news reports of a tactic known as Swatting, something Andrew Breitbart raised the alarm about in one of his final interviews.

Here’s how it works. Somebody who knows how to hack into phones calls 911, ostensibly from your phone, and tells the police they just killed somebody. Within minutes, the local SWAT team shows up at your house, guns drawn, helicopters swirling overhead. And while this tactic is clearly criminal and should be prosecuted aggressively, the goal is equally reprehensible – namely to scare people who’ve dared to speak, write, or otherwise support a cause that the Swatters don’t like.

Justice Thomas pretty well sums up my own sentiments on tactics like this in the closing paragraph of his opinion in Citizens United: “I cannot endorse a view of the First Amendment,” he wrote, “that subjects citizens of this nation to death threats, ruined careers, damaged or defaced property, or pre-emptive and threatening warning letters as the prices for engaging in core political speech, the primary object of First Amendment protection.”

Now, what Justice Thomas is describing here — the harassment and intimidation by private citizens of those who choose to participate in the political process — is deplorable. But I think we would all have to admit that it’s of a different order of magnitude from the government itself facilitating or encouraging these things … or the government using its own powers to harass or intimidate those who participate in the political process. And that’s precisely what we’ve seen.

Fortunately, Republicans have been alert to these dangers. One of the most important things we did in the past few years was to block passage of DISCLOSE. But the assaults keep coming.

Democrats in the House and Senate recently proposed the so-called “People’s Rights Amendment”, which basically repeals the First Amendment. And just this week, citing Citizens United, the President’s top political advisor, David Axelrod, told an audience in Manhattan that, quote, “When we win, we will use whatever tools are out there, including a constitutional amendment, to turn [it] back.”

This, my friends, is all you need to know about this administration’s view of free speech. The courts have said that Congress doesn’t have the authority to muzzle political speech. So the President himself will seek to go around it by attempting to change the First Amendment.

Amending the First Amendment for the first time in history would be the ultimate act of radicalism.

And yet these are not the only ways the administration is aiming to restrict speech. In a standard tactic of the Left, what they haven’t been able to achieve through the courts or Congress, they’re already attempting to achieve through regulations.

Over at the FEC, the Democrat commissioners are pushing a rule to compel third-party groups to reveal their donors. They’re deadlocked at the moment, with all three Republican commissioners standing strong. But this effort isn’t limited to the FEC.

The FCC just finalized a rule requiring broadcasters to list the names of any groups that pay for, or want to pay for, television ads online. The National Association of Broadcasters is fighting back right now in court.

Last year, the SEC proposed a rule requiring shareholder approval or disclosure of political activities. And under pressure from left wing groups, many companies have already included the question on their proxy statements.

During the health care debate, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a gag order on Humana and other private health insurers, saying they can’t inform seniors about what Obamacare meant for them. More recently, HHS spent $20 million in taxpayer money to promote Obamacare. So they’re stifling speech that’s critical of the bill, even as they tell taxpayers they’ve got to foot the bill for the administration’s own efforts to promote it.

And it’s not just the agencies.

Over at the White House, the President’s lawyers recently circulated a draft executive order that would have required anyone bidding for a government contract to disclose political donations, including those of affiliates and subsidiaries, officers and directors in excess of $5,000. The message of the order was clear: if you want a government contract, you better support our causes, or at least keep your mouth shut when it comes to the causes we oppose.

It’s the same message that an administration official sent last week when asked about Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s relationship with the administration after he had the nerve to speak his mind about the President’s attacks on private equity. “He’s dead to us,” he said.

My own view has always been that if you can’t convince people of the wisdom of your policies, then you should come up with some better arguments. But for all its vaunted tolerance, the political Left has consistently demonstrated a militant intolerance for dissent. Sadly, a growing number of people on the Left, and now within government itself, appear to have concluded that they can’t win on the merits. So they’ve resorted to bullying and intimidation instead. And the potential consequences are grave.

Which brings me to another point.

It should go without saying that the political Left has always faced an uphill climb in a country in which there are two self-identified conservatives for every self-identified liberal. America is not Western Europe. In order to succeed in this environment, liberals have generally resorted to one of the three tactics I’ve already identified: obscuring their true intent, pursuing through regulation and the courts what they can’t through legislation, or muzzling their critics.

But there’s another element to these efforts that’s less widely understood, but that I believe is essential to understanding why it is that liberals have been working so hard to regulate political speech over the past four decades. It involves the great assumption behind all of their campaign finance efforts: that the collision of private interests with politics is somehow inherently corrupting.

This is the great untested premise behind all these efforts to regulate political speech. And few people stop to think of just how radical it is. Because whether it’s the public financing of campaigns, or the attempt to impose limits on the political speech of any business or group that doesn’t happen to own a newspaper or a news studio, what all these efforts have in common is a deep suspicion of the private sphere.

All these efforts are for the purpose of limiting the ability of those engaged in private enterprises – or certain disfavored private groups or associations – to influence the direction of our country by participating in the electoral process. The goal is to hermetically seal off Congress from anyone engaged in the private economy or in certain kinds of advocacy, for that matter, outside the public sector.

And the assumption behind all these proposals is the same assumption that appears to underlie this President’s economic and regulatory policies; that anyone who makes a profit is either cheating their customers, mistreating their employees, or both. Their motives are impure, those who interact with them are somehow duped, and therefore they’re not entitled to the full protections of the First Amendment.

For those who hold this view, the legislative Holy Grail has always been taxpayer-funded campaigns. If the advocates of this approach had their way, government would control how much is spent on elections, and how it’s directed, courtesy of the taxpayer.

But the question is, who would have sway over the politicians then?

With private interests pushed to the sidelines, the only voices lawmakers could be expected to respond to would be the self-appointed tribunes of the public interest. Private interests would end up with minimal influence on the direction of public policy, and the odds of people running toward public sector solutions would increase dramatically.

If you write the rules of the game, it’s easier to win the game — especially for incumbent politicians, I would add. And that’s what the so-called reform crowd has always had in mind.

Now, it’s important to remember that one of the things that makes effective the harassment and intimidation tactics I’ve described is their selectivity. There aren’t exactly a lot of folks running to the ramparts to defend oil company executives and hedge fund managers. But we all need to understand something: the minute we allow ourselves to be convinced that some people stand outside the protections of the First Amendment, we’re all in trouble.

These rights don’t exist to protect what’s popular. They exist precisely to protect what isn’t. That’s why it’s a mistake to view the recent HHS mandate as merely a “Catholic” issue. And that’s why it’s a mistake to view the attacks we’ve seen on “millionaires and billionaires” as outside our concern. Because it always starts somewhere; and the moment we stop caring about who’s being targeted is the moment we’re all at risk.

If we don’t protect unpopular speech, no speech is safe.

If we don’t protect unpopular expressions of belief, then no belief is safe.

Let people support whomever they want as much as they want to, and let the best man or woman win. Then government could finally get out of the business of divvying up speech rights that it has no authority to confer. That’s what the founders intended. In my view, no one who values our freedoms should accept anything less.

As the Court put it in Buckley: “The concept that government may restrict the speech of some elements of our society in order to enhance the relative voice of others is wholly foreign to the First Amendment, which was designed to secure the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources, and to assure unfettered interchange of ideas for the bringing about of political and social changes desired by the people.”

Campaign contributions are speech, and in case anybody thinks unlimited contributions are a bad idea, or somehow far-fetched, just look across the Potomac to Virginia, which imposes no restrictions on contributions whatsoever. Last I checked, elected officials in Virginia are no more prone to scandal than officials in states that impose contribution limits.

And corporations are no more taking over politics there than they are anywhere else. Indeed, for all the talk after the Citizens United ruling about the corporate takeover of politics, not a single Fortune 100 company contributed a penny to the eight Super PACs that supported the Republican primary candidates. And that includes Big Oil, Wall Street banks, and health insurers — the three corporate bogeymen that President Obama himself warned us about in the wake of the Court’s ruling.

Here’s my larger point.

One of the traditional strengths of the conservative movement has always been its great diversity. We don’t all agree on everything. But my message to you today is there are certain principles that should always unite us: and one of them is the inviolability of the First Amendment. And that’s why we’ve all got to unite against these tactics, wherever we see them. If you see these things, speak up. Call out the offenders. Get ready for the criticism. And fight back.

For me, that’s meant a very long-battle against efforts to constrain political speech. It may not be the most glamorous issue out there. And it didn’t make me any friends on any editorial boards that aren’t run by Paul Gigot. But a great freedom is at stake. And having been in this fight for a long time, I can tell you this: when you’ve got an administration that’s willing to throw core constitutional protections out the window for the sake of an election, we’re in very dangerous territory indeed.

This may not be the fight that brought you to Washington. But it may very well be the one that keeps you from achieving your goals. Especially if you’re a conservative, your ability to speak out on behalf of that cause is very much at stake right now. But as I said at the outset, this isn’t just a conservative fight. It affects all of us. Because everyone in this room, liberal or conservative, is engaged in what they regard as very important battle of ideas. And the First Amendment makes all of that possible. If we lose the right to speak, we’ve lost these battles before they’ve even been waged.

I know that as November draws near, some of those running for office will feel the need to choose their battles. There will be a very strong temptation, particularly among conservatives, to take this particular issue off the table, to make concessions. My advice is to resist the temptation. Because, as I’ve said, everything we’re fighting for is contingent on our ability to speak our minds.

And so my plea to you is this: unite. Send a message to the next generation of leaders, whatever their stripe, that the First Amendment is something about which there can be no compromise. We may not win every fight, but we can at least guarantee we’ll always have a place in the debate. And in the end, I’m confident, the best ideas will always win out.

After all, that’s how free markets work. Whether it’s a market for goods or, the market of ideas, the best product will win in the end. And no American should ever be afraid of that.

As Oliver Wendell Holmes put it nearly a century ago, “The best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market”

And the best defense of this truth we have is still found in that sweeping command: “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech.”

Thank you.

Source of transcript ARRA News Service by Dr. Bill Smith

Sensible According to the Democrats

TheEducatorIgnorantSelfSeekingSo according to the Democrats the lives lost at Benghazi are not important because they were diplomats and they knew the risk.

The 100,000+ lives lost in Syria before the chemical attack were not as important as the 100’s of lives lost in the chemical attack.

The lives of the hundred children in the Syria chemical attack were only important because they were killed by chemicals instead of IED’s

The children killed at Sandy Hook and other schools were only important because they were outside their mothers womb

It’s okay that Muslims kill and terrorize Christians but it is not okay for anyone to say anything against Islam

It’s okay to put a crucifix in a bottle of pee and call it art, but it is not okay to depict Mohammed in a cartoon.

It is okay to persecute all Christians because of a few, yet it is not okay to paint Islam with a broad brush of hate filled rhetoric taught in Mosques

It is okay to maim and stone women in the name of Islam, honor killings, and Sharia law, but it is not okay for a Christian man to assume the traditional male role as head of the house in a family.

Sure,,,it all makes sense,,,doesn’t it?

The Reason Behind Low Congressional Approval Ratings “Far Too Long”

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Attention Congress & Elected Government Officials: When the people we elect to fix the problems of governmental abuse of the citizenry (for decades now) continually refuse to address those issues and be more concerned with their re-elections than in doing what is right for America, it’s veterans and it’s citizenry. It is getting U.S. closer and closer to the 2nd Revolution that many seem to be hoping for, including those in government who seem to want the same. It would be wise if you in Congress who we give the power of the purse and of legislation, work to scale back the bureaucracy and the power they weld and use to abuse We The People. Do not mistake this for a threat or a call to any drastic measures by we the American people. I am not writing this to stir up strife, division, hatred, or anything of such manner. I and others like me do not stir the pot, it is our government who has been stirring it for far too long, and our congress and courts failing to do anything about it. This is simply a friendly piece of advice from an American son and father with his ear to the ground, who is praying we can fix these problems before it is too late and hoping it is not too late already. As we can see with recent events, more and more people are getting fed up with the abuse, corruption, malfeasance, cronyism and treason we have been experiencing from our governmental bureaucracies for far too long.

It’s easy to see why the Congress of the United States have such low approval ratings. Our elected officials in Congress seem to be inept and clueless in regards to the American people and their plight. While you have bi-partisan bickering going on over issues that are only important to those in Washington D.C. and their political aspirations, the Federal Government and the bureaucracies that it involves are escaping unharmed and unaccountable for the abuse they have meted out to the citizenry for far too long, under far too many presidential administrations.

Thomas Paine quote Politicians

Barack Obama is not the first president to preside over the alphabet soup agencies that go to make up the federal bureaucracy, he is only the latest in a long line of them since at least Richard Nixon, a republican who was also a progressive. I would argue it was long before his time as president that it started, but since he presided over the institution of the EPA, I will begin with him.

Obama is also not the first president to utterly fail to faithfully enforce the law when it comes to immigration. The GOP and the Democrats have both unlawfully ruled against the American peoples interest in this. Both parties have listened to everyone, other than those people whose votes mean nothing once the politicians are elected. This is shown on the latest deal with the presidents illegal amnesty, I knew the Congress would fail to address it with the new majority.The immigration system was never “broken”, it was just our politicians refused to enforce the laws that exist!

It doesn’t matter what the people who elected the politicians want, it doesn’t matter what is good for the American people, it only matters what the lobbyists, big money players, the US Chamber of Commerce, and other special interests want.

The members elected to Congress never listen to the voters who put them there, it only matters what the political pundits and consultants say, the voters are too dumb to know why the voters elected a certain politician or group of politicians. No, the politicians cannot ask the people who elected them directly why they voted for them, they need paid political consultants to tell us voters why we elected them.

Far too many politicians these days seem to think it is more important for we the people to listen to them, than it is for the politicians to listen to us!

This new Congress couldn’t even get Keystone pipeline accomplished. The only time Congress ever accomplishes anything is when they join together to pass more legislation that is harmful to the American people and the government bureaucracy can use to force more onerous regulations on us that further stifles our liberty, the economy, and fundamental principles of the Republic.

I’m not going to go into a long list or details about the individual instances of this abuse, most of you that care about it and pay attention know the many stories, those of you who don’t, the stories are easily found on the internet through search engines and on youtube. I will mention some of the latest such as the NSA spying, the IRS targeting of conservatives, the EPA abuses that happen on a regular basis, the case of Justina Pelletier in Massachusetts, the Fast and Furious scandal that took place during two presidential administrations, the list is long and it is growing by leaps and bounds under the current administration. Add the latest and most egregious abuse, the abuse that has led to the deaths of veterans who depended on the VA and the bureaucracy that serves them, it is all adding up.

It is clear that Congress has failed for far too long to address the abuses by the federal government and the bureaucracy has gotten far too out of hand. It’s members it seems, have been involved in the bureaucracy far too long, to be effective in their representation of the people’s and liberties interests. If this Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate cannot refrain from only having bi-partisan agreement on issues, laws and regulations that only do further harm to the American people and their liberties, then it is time we the people replace them all with those, who still have more than just a foothold in the communities they are elected to serve!

It is time for Congress to get off their fancy derrieres, put aside their politics and bickering, and get back to the work we the people have elected them to do. They need to not only reign in the alphabet soup agencies, that go to make up the federal bureaucracy, they need to eliminate them. They are the monsters of Congress’s creation, and it is up to Congress to correct the mistakes of their past. It is time they repeal these regulations, and pass laws that outright ban these agencies from making more, the more regulations they create, the more onerous they become, and it leads the agencies involved to abuse their power with more and more impunity and aggression towards the citizens, Congress people are elected to represent. It is time for the malfeasance and abuse of power to end!

See also: Appeal to the People Concerning the Heavy Hand of Government
The heavy hand of government has become completely unacceptable in the US, Barack Obama likes to lecture US about American Values. He and his Whitehouse’s administration of the Federal Government are the antithesis and in Direct Opposition to everything our Constitution and the … Continue reading →

The Greatest Domestic Terrorist Organization in America is the Federal Government

The federal government has become the greatest domestic terrorist organization, and the greatest threat to peace and happiness in America. The continuing slide towards a police state we see in America today, is on a trajectory that cannot be … Continue reading →

 

Weird Weather in the United States evidence of Climate Change?

TempSwings

FREAKS OF NATURE IN THE U.S.

History now and then repeats itself in respect to long cold winters, as that through which we have recently passed. Several such winters are remembered in the annals of our State, and some far more rigorous than it was. In the winter of 1842-3, snow fell to the depth of two feet or more, and remained on the ground for many weeks, with the temperature ranging from 10 to 38 degrees below zero. For duration and continued cold it exceeded the famous “winter of the deep snow,” that of 1830-31. On the other hand, many strangely mild winters have been experienced in this latitude—that of 1889-90, as an instance, when, in January, snakes emerged from their hibernation, insects flitted about in the sunshine and farmers plowed up their old meadows.

But the most notable natural phenomena are the sporadic freaks very seldom, if ever, repeated. Of this class was the singular “dark day,” during the Revolutionary war. The sky was clear and the sun was not eclipsed by interposition of the moon; but the total obscuration of light— throughout the United States—commencing in the morning of May 19th, 1780—continued until the next morning. The sun shining brightly early in the day, seemed to set prematurely. The birds ceased their songs and disappeared in the woods; the barn-yard fowls flew up to their roosts; candles were lighted in the houses and all out-door work was suspended. The true cause of that mysterious darkness has never been satisfactorily explained. In this class of capricious processes of nature may be mentioned the “hurricanes” that in pioneer times swept with terrific force over the country—particularly in the southern portion of this State, leaving their course marked by streaks of prostrated trees, through the timbered regions, as if purposely cleared for railroad tracks. They are now, as “cyclones” or “tornadoes,” well understood, but none the less dreadful or dreaded. The earthquake of 1811-12 was another freakish caper of nature, fortunately not repeated, to the same extent, in this locality; but leaving us no assurance that it may not again occur. The appalling drout of 1820 that wilted and withered all vegetation and lowered the Mississippi so that at Alton, a man on horseback forded it; and the fearful overflows of 1844 which enabled a large steamboat to cross the American Bottom, starting from Main street in St. Louis, to the Illinois bluffs, are marked instances of the instability of our whimsical climate.

The most wonderful of all the sportive eccentricities of nature seen here—and not since repeated, but often described—was the “falling stars” in 1833. A short time after midnight on the morning of Nov. 13th of that year the display commenced. Myriads of meteors, igniting on coming in contact with the atmosphere, fell like a fiery snow storm, lighting the night with a weird brilliancy and continued until extinguished by the stronger light of the risen sun. A memorable meteorological freak was the “Cold Tuesday,” Dec. 20, 1836. A warm rain had fallen all day until about 2 o’clock in the afternoon, when a black cloud was seen in the northwest swiftly approaching, propelled by a piercing cold wind; within an hour the temperature fell 78 degrees—to 18 below zero—at once freezing solid the mud and water, and forming ice on the Illinois river thick enough to catch and hold the canoes of fishermen before they could reach the shore. But, perhaps, not since the glacial epoch, has the great ice sheet or sleet, of November, 1881, been paralleled in this State. The entire surface of the earth was literally encased in ice from one to three inches in thickness. Trees and shrubbery were broken and crushed by its weight; ice-coated twigs were cut weighing 20 pounds, that denuded [stripped] of the ice, weighed barely one pound.

One of the worst weather freaks of recent times—still remembered by many—was the “Big Frost” of 1863. July had been unusually warm, but as August advanced, the nights became quite cool, until on Sunday morning, the 23rd, the thermometer here registered but 27 degrees above zero, and frost covered the ground like snow. Its destruction of garden and field products was general and well nigh complete. Late corn was ruined or fit only for cow feed; sweet potatoes and melons were killed and Irish potatoes badly damaged, and, in some localities, peaches and apples almost mature were frozen on the trees.

The early settlers of southern Illinois raised sufficient tobacco and cotton for their domestic consumption and castor beans enough for export. Those crops—very sensitive to the action of frost—have been entirely abandoned in this State since the “Big Frost” of 1863. But that event, the “Cold Tuesday,” the “Great Sleet” and occasional winters of unusual severity, are only exceptional atmospheric freaks, of no value as proof that the climate has undergone any permanent change of average mean temperature since the first European settlement of this country.

Excerpt: Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Volume 5: By Illinois State Historical Society 1913
See also: CLIMATE CHANGE: UNITED STATES NOTICES OF REMARKABLY COLD WINTERS

CLIMATE CHANGE: UNITED STATES NOTICES OF REMARKABLY COLD WINTERS

Thomas Paine quotes taxes

Thomas Paine explains why there is now a great push for the Climate Change agenda and Carbon taxes (Click to enlarge)

 United States The “Real” Blizzard of 1888

Cold Winters in Philadelphia Pennsylvania and area, previous to 1790

Cold and Stormy Winters in Europe From A.D. 202 – 1841

History of Climate Change Hysteria and Fear Mongering

Weird Weather in the United States evidence of Climate Change?

I am adding these accounts from history, in light of the Climate Change and Global Warming Fear-Mongering and Hysteria by all the Democrats and leftist ideologues in the United States and elsewhere. Here are some stats from much earlier than the Climate Change computer models take into account, since the computer models and the so-called “experts” only use data from the last 100 years.

“We have had such a winter here as is not on record. The mercury was 18 1/2° below freezing on Reaumur’s scale, and I think it was nearly two months varying between that and zero. It gave occasion for a display of the benevolent character of this nation, which, great as I had thought it, went beyond my expectations. There seems to be a very general apprehension of the want of bread this spring. Supplies are hoped from our country, and indeed they have already reduced the price of flour at Bordeaux from 361 to 331 the barrel.” —Thomas Jefferson to Count De Moustier. (Paris, March 1789)

 

It is so cold that the ink freezes in my pen, so that my letter will scarcely be legible. * * * In the winter of 1779-80, the mercury in Fahrenheit’s thermometer fell at Williamsburg once to six degrees above zero. In 1783-84, I was at Annapolis without a thermometer, and I do not know that there was one in that State; I heard from Virginia, that the mercury was again down to six degrees. In 1789-90, I was at Paris. The mercury here was as low as eighteen degrees below zero, of Fahrenheit. These have been the most remarkable cold winters ever known [by Europeans] in America. We are told however, that in 1762, at Philadelphia, it was twenty-two degrees below zero; in December. 1793, it was three degrees below zero there by my thermometer. On the 31st of January, 1796, it was one and three-fourth degrees above zero at Monticello. I shall, therefore, have to change the maximum of our cold, if ever I revise the Notes on Virginia; as six degrees above zero was the greatest which had ever been observed.—Thomas Jefferson to Mr. Volne; Jan., 1797

Notices of Remarkably Cold Winters in the United States Years 1717-1864: Defeating the Myth of Global Warming and Climate Change. Man Made ‪Climate Change‬ is a Man Made Myth started by Charlatan’s to fool man-made fools into giving up their lifestyles, freedoms & money to Con men.

Great Plains Blizzard of 1948-49 Livestock froze on the hoof where they stood, and snow didn’t melt until June.

The winter of 1835 – 6, had, according to some, in the Eastern and Middle States, been one of the longest and severest of which we have any knowledge. There was a considerable fall of snow on the 23d of November; and from that time the sleighing continued in the vicinity of Boston, without being, at any time, entirely interrupted, till about the last of March; and in the interior of New England till the middle and in some parts till the last of April, or often later; nor did the snow in and about Boston entirely disappear till the 1st of May. The quantity of snow was very great; in some parts of the country it was four, and even five feet deep on a level.

See also: History of Climate Change Hysteria and Fear Mongering
Benjamin Franklin Concerning Record Snows in Pennsylvania

The quantity of snow was doubtless greater during the past winter, than it has been in any other winter since the year 1780. Persons who recollect the winter of 1779 – 80, represent not only the quantity of snow to have then been greater, but the cold also to have been more severe, than during the past winter. At that time accurate registers of the thermometer were so rare, that we have not the means of making a satisfactory comparison. In the vicinity of Boston, the number of days in which the thermometer fell to zero or below, was greater during the past winter than during any other winter of which we possess accurate thermometrical observations. The observations of Dr. Holyoke at Salem (which will be found noticed in the following pages, 174 and 175.) were commenced in 1786. Previous to that time thermometrical observations in this country were comparatively rare.

TempSwings

Notices are here given of some of the most remarkable winters for snow and cold, that have been known since the settlement of this country.

Notice of the “Great Snow” of February, 1717.

This snow storm is thus spoken of in the 5th volume of the First Series of the Mass. Hist. Coll. p. 209: —”In the ‘Boston News-Letter,’ there is an account of the snow which fell in Feb. 1717, commonly called the great snow, as it exceeded any ever known before or since.”

The “Boston News-Letter” of Feb. 26th, 1717, says: — “Besides several snows, we had a great one on Monday the 18th current; and, on Wednesday the 20th, it began to snow about noon, and continued snowing till Friday the 2?d, so that the snow lies in some parts of the streets about six feet high. The extremity of the weather has hindered all the three posts from coming in; neither can they be expected till the roads (now impassable by a mighty snow upon the ground) are beaten.”

In Dr. Holmes’s “History of Cambridge,” it is stated:—”The funeral of Mr. Brattle [minister of Cambridge] was attended on the 20th of February [1717] a day rendered memorable by the great snow. The principal magistrates and ministers of Boston and of the vicinity, assembled on this occasion, were necessarily detained at Cambridge by the snow for several days.”

In the 8th vol. Hist. Coll. page 176, it is mentioned with respect to the Rev. Samuel Treat, minister of Eastham, that, ” he died soon after the remarkable storm, distinguished in the annals of New England by the name of the great snow. The snow was heaped up in the road to an uncommon height. It was in vain to attempt making a path. His body was therefore kept several days, till an arch could be dug, through which it was borne to the grave.”

Dr. Harris in his “Chronological and Topographical Account of Dorchester,” has the following notice : — “1717, Feb. 24. — â€?Snow in drifts 25 feet dee ; in the woods a yard generally on a level.’ ”

In the “Boston News-Letter” of March 25th, it is stated ; — “The mail went on snow shoes. The carrier was 9 days in reaching Portsmouth, and 8 in returning: — 17 days in going 120 miles! He says that in the woods the snow is 5 feet deep, and in some places between 6 and 14 feet deep.”

John Winthrop of New London, in a letter to Dr. C. Mather, dated Sept. 12th, 1717, (see Hist. Coll. Vol. II. p. 13,) says, in relation to this snow : — ” The storm continued so long and severe, that multitudes of all sorts of creatures perished in the snow drifts. We lost, at the island and farms, above 1100 sheep, besides some cattle and horses interred in the snow. And it was very strange, that 28 days after the storm, the tenants at Fisher’s Island, pulling out the ruins of one hundred sheep, out of one snow-bank in a valley (where the snow had drifted over them 16 feet), found two of them alive in the drift, which had lain on them all that time, and kept themselves alive by eating the wool off the others, that lay dead by them. As soon as they were taken out of the drift, they shed their own fleeces ; and are now alive and fat.”

The Winter of 1740 – 41.

Dr. Noah Webster says:—”The winter of 1741 was of great severity. My father, who was a witness of the winter of 1741 and 1780, considered the cold of the former quite equal to that of 1he latter. But I have seen no thermometrical observations made in New England in the year 1741. By Mr. Jefferson’s observations in his ‘ Notes,’ it appears that the winter of 1780 was the most severe ; as in 1740 – 41, York River was not frozen over, whereas in 1780, the Chesapeake was-covered with solid ice from its head to the mouth of the Potomac. At Annapolis, where the bay is more than five miles wide, the ice was five inches thick.”

The following notices relating to this winter are extracted from the numbers of the “Boston News-Letter,” of the several dates given.— Jan. 22. “Last night and this day, we have a very great N. E. storm of wind and snow. The snow is higher than has been known among us since the vast snow we had on the 19th Feb. 1717.”

Feb. 12. — “On Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday last, we had here a great storm of snow and wind at the N. E., which has done a great deal of damage to man and beast; and ever since we have had the most severe season for cold, frost, and snow, that ever was known in the memory of the oldest man living here,”

March 5. — “We hear from Stratford, in Conn., that the Sound is frozen over, so that people ride every day from thence to Long Island, which is 3 leagues across, which was never known before.”

April 2.— From “Dorchester, March 28. — We have had the severest winter that has been known in the memory of the oldest among us. Our river has been so hard and so long frozen, that people from Thompson’s Island, Squantum, and the adjacent neighborhood, have come 15 sabbaths successively upon the ice to our meeting! We have had 30 distinct, settled snows.”

April 24. — “We whose names are underwritten, on the 1st day of this month [April] passed over the Connecticut River, from Hadley to Northampton, on the ice, in company with Dr. Porter, who had with him a large horse. We suppose the like has never been known in any age.”

According to Mr. Alonzo Lewis. ” A manuscript Journal, kept daily, for 44 years, by an inhabitant of Lynn, [Mass.] says, that the rivers were frozen in October; snow began to fall Thanksgiving day, Nov, 13ih, and on the 4th of April, it covered the fences.”

The Winter of 1770-1780.

The winter of 1770 – 80 is now often spoken of as one of extraordinary severity, and surpassing all that have yet succeeded it with respect to the quantity of snow. The depth of the snow was so great that almost all the roads in New England were closed for some weeks, and there was little or no travelling from one town to another except by the use of snow-shoes; and it has been stated with respect to various places in Massachusetts, that the snow did not melt so that any water dropped from the eaves of houses for the space of six weeks. The Boston Chronicle of January 28th, 1780, contains the following notice, dated Worcester, Jan. 28th. — “Travelling has not been so much obstructed by snow for forty years. Except on the great road from Boston to Hartford, all are filled, and no passing without snow-shoes.”

Registers of the thermometer were at that time rarely kept in this country; but from such statements as we have seen, it does not appear that the cold was so severe as it has been in some subsequent winters. We do not, however, possess the means of giving a satisfactory comparison. The following notice of this winter in Connecticut, together with the state of the thermometer from Jan. 1st to Feb. 5th, is given by Dr. Noah Webster.

“In the winter of 1770-80, the first snow-storm occurred about the 25th of November, and subsequent fills of snow raised it to the height of three or [In some other parts of New England the snow was considerably deeper] four feet upon a level. The wind for several weeks from the northwest, was cold, the snow was so dry and so continually driven by the wind, that no good path could be made; and travelling was almost impeded. I passed often half a mile on drifts as high as the fences. Farmers could do little else abroad than feed their cattle, and provide them with water. For about six weeks the cold was so intense, that no snow melted on the south side of buildings. The Sound between Long Island and the main was nearly all covered with ice between New York and Staten Island. Since that, as in 1788, the ice in the East River, has been passable for a footman for a few hours only at a time.— Almost all the birds of the forest perished. Here and there only a solitary warbler was heard the next summer.”

Thermometrical Observations made at Hartford, Conn., in 1780, at sunrise.

The following notices are extracted from a thermometrical register kept by President Stiles at Yale College: 1780, Jan. 23, — 3J; Jan. 29, —1; Feb. 6, (coldest) +6.

The following remarks of Mr. Jefferson are extracted from the 3d volume of his Works, page 343 : —“In the winter of 1779-80, the mercury in Fahrenheit’s thermometer fell at Williamsburg once to six degrees above zero. In 1783 – 84, I was at Annapolis without a thermometer, and I do not know that there was one in that State : I heard from Virginia, that the mercury was again down to six degrees. In 1789-90, I was at Paris. The mercury here was as low as eighteen degrees below zero, of Fahrenheit. These have been the most remarkably cold winters ever known in America. We are told, however, that in 1702, at Philadelphia, it was 22 degrees below zero: in December, 1793, it was 3 degrees below zero there by my thermometer. On the 31st of Jan., 1796, it was one. and three-fourth degrees above zero at Monticello. I shall therefore have to change the maximum of our cold, if ever I revise the Notes on Virginia; as six degrees above zero was the greatest which had ever been observed.

The Winter of 1798 – 9.

The following notice is extracted from the Columbian Centinel (Boston) of April 27th, 1799.

“The last winter has been one of the most inclement ever remembered. In Europe many men and cattle have frozen to death, particularly at the review of the Russian troops at Brinn, in December last; and the ice has obstructed the navigation of the northern seas and channels. The river Thames has been frozen over, and the roads in many parts of England rendered impassable.

“In America the winter set in seriously, early in November, and on Wednesday last, we experienced a severe snow-storm of several hours. The mail sleigh, from this town to Walpole, in New Hampshire, ran 18 weeks successively.”

THE storms of November, 1871, should not be regarded as belonging to the usual order of climatic experiences in Kansas. So great a degree of cold, so early in the season, has not heretofore been known, and is of rare occurrence in any of the winter months. A depression of temperature in Kansas severe enough to destroy life, occurring on the 18th of November, must be classed with those exceptional phenomena which at times spread suffering and destruction over large areas of the continent, and which are not peculiar to any part, but are inexplicable in all. “A great range of extremes,” says Blodgett, in his Climatology , “is one of the leading features of the climate of the Eastern United States.” We may add that it is likewise a feature of the climate of the Western States; and we may note here, as there, “the oscillations of temperature, atmospheric weight on the barometer, humidity, quantity of rain, wind, etc., passing through larger measures than in Europe, or on the West coast, as a constant and regular order of things.” “The leading element,” he continues, “about which all others are arranged, is temperature; and the low extremes of temperature have the greatest importance because of their relation to cultivation.” But these extremes are not peculiar to Kansas. In February, 1835, nearly the whole area of the Eastern United States was swept by a simultaneous refrigeration, reducing the temperature on an average fifty degrees below the mean for that month,—in Maine 65, in New York 60, and in Georgia 62 degrees; and it would be just as fair to measure the February climate of Maine,

New York and Georgia by the extraordinary weather of February, I835, as to measure the November climate of Kansas by the unprecedented weather of November, 1871.

Numerous instances of unusual depressions of temperature are given in Mr. Blodgett’s work, all of which, as he remarks, “are irregular in position and duration, and when severe, they occupy a large area.” Such great extremes as he cites “are rare, and they may not occur more than twice or three times in a century, yet they are within the probabilities of the climate,” and are shown to occur in an “absolutely non-periodic manner.”

Before the commencement of thermometric records, there are instances of great reductions of temperature in the winter months. In 1717 the “great snow” occurred, often mentioned in New England history. It continued from the 19th to the 24th of February, and was from five to six feet deep on a level at Boston, and over all the settled parts of New England. “Multitudes of all sorts of creatures perished in the drifts,” wrote John Winthrop in a letter to Dr. C. Mather, the cold was “so long and severe.” The winter of 1740-41 was distinguished both in America and Europe for intense cold. It was commonly called in the Colonies “the cold winter,” and was noted in Virginian history for extreme severity. In England the Thames was frozen over, and there was much suffering. The winters of 1748-49 and of 1765-66 were very severe at the South, destroying the fruit trees; and in the latter the olive trees were generally killed along the Rhone in France. Another severe winter in Louisiana was in 1768, and still another in 1772 . In 1780, “the most signal and severe depression of temperature occurred belonging to our entire history, except, perhaps, that of 1856.” Jefferson, in his Notes on Virginia, says: “In 1780, the Chesapeake Bay was frozen solid from its head to the mouth of the Potomac. At Annapolis, the ice was five to seven inches in thickness quite across, five and a half miles, so that loaded carriages went over it. York River was frozen over at Williamsport, so that people walked across it.” Dr. Webster speaks of an immense snow fall in New England, and states that for six weeks no snow melted. “The Sound was entirely covered with ice between Long Island and the main, and between New York and Staten Island.” Troops crossed on the ice from New York to attack the British forces on Staten Island. Hugh Gaines’s diary, under date of February 6th, 1780, says: “This day eighty-six sleighs went to Staten Island on the ice, with provisions for the troops.” According to Darby, “Bayou St. John (New Orleans) was frozen for a considerable time, a phenomenon that did not occur again until December, 1814,” a period of thirty-five years. The Delaware River was closed from the 1st of December, 1779, to the 14th of March following, the ice being two to three feet thick; during January the mercury was several times ten to fifteen degrees below zero, and only once during the month didn’t rise to thirty-two degrees.

The winter of 1783-4 was also severe at Philadelphia. The Delaware closed as early as November 28th, and continued ice-bound until the 18th of March; the mercury was several times below zero, reaching twelve degrees below. Dr. Noah Webster records at Hartford, Conn., the following temperatures: Feb 10th, 1784 -10 degrees, 11th -12 degrees, 12th -13 degrees, 13th -19 degrees, 14th -20 degrees, 15th -12 degrees, 16th -16 degrees, 17th -16 degrees. Averaging for 8 days 14 Âľ degrees below zero. Dr. Webster remarks: “This is the most extraordinary instance of intense cold that I have ever known.”

The winter of 1788 was severe in lower Georgia and the South; below Savannah the ground was frozen in January, and ice formed in ditches. At Philadelphia, “the whole winter was intensely cold; the Delaware was closed from the 26th of December to the 10th of March.” In 1790, an extreme degree of cold was observed at Quebec; the thermometer remaining from five to thirty-three degrees below zero from the 8th to the 13th of February. In 1796-97 the winter was severe, all the rivers of the West, according to Darby and Drake, being frozen up “the Mississippi and Ohio and their confluents were frozen to their junction.” Dr. Wilson observed the thermometer at 17° at Charleston, South Carolina, in December, 1796. In this month the mercury fell to 14 degrees below zero at Cincinnati; and on January 8th, I797, to 18 degrees below.

In 1800 the cold was more severe in the Southern States than it had been since 1780. Holmes, in Memoirs American Academy, says: “On January 10th, 1800, there fell at Savannah the deepest snow ever known in Georgia. By a letter from Midway, I am informed that snow has been three feet deep in places, and 16 to 18 inches deep on a level.” Snow and hail fell the whole day on January 10th, at St. Mary’s, Florida, and on the 11th the snow was five inches deep. Near Natchez the mercury went down to 12°. Daily speaks of severe storms of sleet and snow in Louisiana during 1800.

For a considerable period subsequent to 1800, there are no records of excessive cold in the winter months. There is no month from 1800 to 1828 in which the mean temperature at Salem, Massachusetts, falls more than a trifle below 20°, and the single readings below zero are so great as 10 degrees only in 1817, 1818, and 1821. But during this period the most remarkable depressions of temperature in the summer months known to all history of thermometric measurements occurred, between 1811 and 1817. The years 1812 and 1816 were the coldest, the reduction being continued over all the months in each year, in a greater or less measure, but of no considerable amount in winter. The records show a great reduction from the average of summer heat, especially, and both 1812 and 1816 are memorable for “cold summers” in all the Northern United States. Snows and frosts occurred in every month of both summers. Indian corn did not ripen, and fruits and grains of every sort were greatly reduced in quantity or wholly cut off. Prof. Dewey, at Williamstown, Massachusetts, remarks: “There was frost in every month of this summer (1816) ; on June 7th a light snow; very little Indian corn ripened.” Thompson’s History  of Vermont says: “It is universally conceded that the year 1816 was the coldest ever known in Vermont. Snow is said to have fallen and frosts to have occurred at some place in the State in every month of that year. On the 8th of June snow fell in all parts of the State, and upon the high lands and mountains to the depth of five or six inches. It was accompanied by a hard frost, and on the morning of the 9th ice was half an inch thick on shallow standing water, and icicles were to be seen a foot long. The weather continued so cold that several days elapsed before the snow disappeared. Corn and other vegetables were killed to the ground, and upon the high lands the leaves of the trees withered and fell off.” In England 1816 was almost as extreme as in the United States. Both 1812 and 1816 were “famine years” in England, and the latter equally so in France and Germany. Frost occurred at Philadelphia in July, 1816.

From 1816 to 1830 the cold extremes were less important, though some very severe local depressions occurred. In February, 1818, various laurarea, the Sassafras and others, were killed, in Ohio. At Marietta the mercury fell to 22° below zero; peach trees were killed; and not again till 1852, and the still more severe cold of 1856, was there similar injury to forest and fruit trees in that State. At New York, the winter of 1820-21 was “one of the four during a century in which the Hudson River between Paulus Hook and New York was crossed on the ice.”

In the winter of 1830-31 the greatest refrigeration was at the North-west. Single readings of the thermometer during each of the three months were 20, 24 and 26 degrees below zero at the military posts of Wisconsin. The monthly means were to degrees below the average for January and February, 1831, at St. Louis. In Florida this was a severe winter also.

At the close of 1831 a severe and widespread depression of temperature occurred. The month of December was 15 degrees below its average at the North-west, and also from St. Louis to New York and Norfolk. At New Orleans it was 9 degrees below the average. Of this winter Dr. Hildreth says: “The Mississippi was frozen over in December for 130 miles below the mouth of the Ohio, a circumstance before unknown. The river was also covered with floating ice below Natchez, and at New Orleans ice was formed strong enough to skate on.” At Fayetteville, Vermont, “ it was colder than any other month in the last half century.“ (Field)

In 1835 a destructive severity of cold occurred over many of the States. In the South tropical fruits were cut off, which had been uninjured for half a century. In the Eastern and Northern States the first severe cold was in January—“ when the mercury froze at Lebanon, New York.” At Marietta, Ohio, “the lowest temperature in January was 20 degrees below zero.” (Hildreth) This cold extended to Washington, where it was 16 degrees below zero, but did not reach the Gulf coast or the larger portion of the valley of the Mississippi. In February the greatest depression was south and west of the first area, though it was nearly as great at the east and north as in January. Nearly all the surface of the United States as then observed, or all that east of the Great Plains, was below zero on February 8th, 1835; Natchez at the South-west and Savannah on the Atlantic coast being the limits, though a large inland area of the north of Florida was also below zero, its limits there being about the 29th parallel. In many parts of New England snow remained from December until May. At Washington snow lasted two months, a very rare occurrence. Long Island Sound was closed by ice, and the Boston harbor was nearly closed. The cold was greatest in February, and the weather continued severe through March and April.

In the winter of 1845-46 another general depression of temperature occurred, and, as in many other cases, it was severest at the South. In Georgia it was considered second only to that of 1835. There was snow in Mississippi and ice in New Orleans. December was the coldest month, and the mean was 6 to [0 degrees below the average over the entire coast of the Gulf.

The winter of 1851—52 was 3 to 8 degrees below zero in each month in the Eastern States, but not so at the West, where it was on the whole warmer than usual. In the Central and Southern States, January was 6 to IO degrees below the average, with damaging effects on the vegetation. The Susquehanna was frozen over at Havre de Grace for seven weeks, and the Potomac at Washington for three weeks. Snow fell in New Orleans and remained several days. Snow fell at Charleston, S. C., and Jacksonville, Fla., through the entire day on 13th January; and also at Matamoras and Tampico, Mexico, on the 14th. The East River at New York was closed, and was crossed on the ice on the 20th, and for three days following. Dr. Hildreth cites temperatures in the Muskingum Valley, Ohio, 30 degrees below zero, with destruction of native kalmias and rhododendrons; also the pyrus japonica and other shrubs. Thick ice was formed at Charleston from 13th to 20th of January. . �

In 1853-54 severe cold occurred, which was spread over a large area, occurring in â€?the interior and on the Pacificâ€? coast, and also in England. At Fort Snelling, the thermometer fell to the freezing point of mercury. The reporting officer at Fort Ripley, latitude 46″ 19’, and 1130 feet above the sea, gives the lowest extreme at 50° below zero, and says: “ The mercury receded entirely into the bulb of the thermometer, and fifty grains placed in a charcoal cup were completely frozen.” At Fort Gibson the thermometer was 1° above zero, at Fort Tuson 3° below; at Santa Fe 6°, and at Fort Defiance, N. M., 20° below; at Fort Kearney 16”, and Fort Laramie 21° below. “ In England the thermometer fell to 4’â€? below zero on the 1st of January, and, as in the United States, storms of excessive severity continued for most of the month. It is noticeable that the cold there was nearly simultaneous with that in the United States, even to the Pacific coast.” (Blodgett.)

In the winter of 1855-56, “a still more severe degree of refrigeration occurred, which was central to the middle latitudes of the United States, disappearing at the north at about the 46th parallel. This was a reproduction of the winter of 1780 more nearly than any other, both in degree and in position. The district of the great lakes was but little affected, and the line of the greatest severity was at the 35th to the 38th parallels. The tropical coasts of Central America were in some degree influenced, apparently rendering the winter a stormy season instead of one of the usual calmness.” Mr. Blodgett gives the following citations :

Washington, Jan. 10, 1856 …. -10° below zero.
Philadelphia, Jan. 10, 1856…. -7° below zero.
Pittsburgh, Jan. 9, 1856….  -18° below zero.
St. Louis, Jan. 9, 1856…. -18° below zero.
Chicago, Jan. 10, I856…. -30° below zero.
Fort Snelling, Jan. 9, 1856 …. -26° below zero.
For! Gibson, Jan. 29, 1856 …. -15° below zero.

“The severity of the cold,” says Mr. Blodgett, “continued nearly three months, and in both the months following the dates given the extremes of temperature fell nearly as low as those cited. Snow remained in large quantity at Washington from the first of January to the middle of March; ice covered the Potomac for the same period; Chesapeake Bay at Annapolis was closed from January 8th to March 14th; the harbors of Baltimore and Philadelphia were closed until late in March; Long Island Sound was closed to navigation from January 25th to February 27th; and the harbor of New York was; much obstructed by ice, which several times made temporary connection across East River. The Western rivers were equally obstructed by ice, and it formed in the Mississippi as low as Vicksburg Mississippi, floating in vast quantities below Natchez. At all points in Louisiana ice formed for weeks, and some places had heavy falls of snow. It was the same in all places bordering the Gulf.”

So far we have compiled from the valuable work of Mr. Blodgett, published in 1857. All who remember the winter of 1855-56 will recognize the truth of his remark, that “An almost instantaneous refrigeration had fallen: on all the United States east of the: Rocky Mountains on the 23d and 24th: of December, giving the sharpest extremes very soon after this date in Texas, and prolonging its effects at the north and east.” During that remark— able winter the ice in the Mississippi at St. Louis attained such strength that a large steam fire-engine, nearly as heavy as a locomotive, was crossed on it. The ice remained several weeks.

The year 1864. opened with a remarkable degree of cold in many localities. From the records of the Department of Agriculture, we get the following measures of temperature for the first of January 1864: Kelley’s Island, Ohio, 11°; Cincinnati, Ohio, 12°; Ann Arbor, Mich., 22°; New Albany, Ind., 10°; South Bend, Ind., 20 degrees; Ottawa, Ill., 25°; Galesburg, Ill., 23°; Pekin, Ill., 20°; St. Paul, Miss., 35°; Debuque, Iowa, 29°; St Louis, Missouri, 22°; Lawrence, Kan., 17°; Fort Riley, Kan., 12°:

Later in January, 1844, a depression of -26° below zero was reached in the State of New York, and about the same in Northern Illinois and Wisconsin. But the latter part of January showed a high temperature over a large area. Although the 1st day of the month had been cold enough to kill peach trees in St. Louis county, Missouri, yet on the 27th the mercury stood at 71°; the snow had disappeared, and the ground in gardens could be spaded, ready for spring planting. On the 27th the thermometer marked 69° at Lawrence and Fort Riley, in Kansas, and 53° at Bellevue, Nebraska. In February, 1864, the mercury fell below zero in several of the States on the 17th, 18th, and 19th; but in Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska the cold was so intense as in the other States; the lowest record being 10 degrees below zero at Harrisonville, Missouri, 2 degrees below zero at Bellevue, Nebraska, and 9° above zero at Fort Riley.

The Kansas mean temperature for the month 5° higher than in Illinois, and nearly 1° higher than in Missouri. The figures previously given for the 1st day of January show that the thermometer fell 5° lower in Missouri on that day than in Lawrence, and 10° lower than at Fort Riley. There are no records at hand for points in the Plains west of Fort Riley, which would probably show a still less degree of cold.

A record cold wave settled in over the Northern Virginia, Maryland region. Records set in Maryland during this period remain to the present day. It was close, but not quite cold enough to break the records in Virginia set during the February 1899 “Great Arctic Outbreak”. The cold wave of 1912 hit on January 5 and continued until February 16. It was one of the most severe and longest in duration on record. Ice formed on the rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. On January 13, Oakland in far western Maryland recorded the state’s all time record low temperature of -40°F. In Washington, DC, it reached -8°F. On the 14th, College Park reported -26°F, Hagerstown -27°F, Frederick -21°F, Laurel -19°F, Baltimore -2°F and Washington, DC -13°F. The coldest temperatures in Virginia were -25° at Lincoln (Loudoun County) and Dale Enterprises near Harrisonburg. Fredericksburg was -11°F and Culpeper fell to -20°F. In the Eastern West Virginia Panhandle, temperatures ranged from -14° at Lost City in Hardy County to -30° at Bayard in Grant County.

Sources:
Loudonhistory.org
The American Almanac and Repository of Useful Knowledge for the Year 1837; (by Jared Sparks, Johann Schobert, Francis Bowen, George Partridge Sanger)
The Kansas Magazine, Volume 1 January to June 1872; Entered by Act of Congress into Library of Congress 1872

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Appeal to the People Concerning the Heavy Hand of Government

TheEducatorPrinceTyrant
 

The heavy hand of government has become completely unacceptable in the US, Barack Obama likes to lecture US about American Values. He and his Whitehouse’s administration of the Federal Government are the antithesis and in Direct Opposition to everything in our Constitution and the True American Values that Obama claims to be an authority on!

If he, big if, was not directly involved in and directing all of the targeting and other abuse / malfeasance by this government, then as I have said, the officials and workers in the bureaucracy of the federal government, have been waiting for just the right President to be elected, who doesn’t mind a little tyranny!

 
See also: THE LIBERTY OF THE INDIVIDUAL by John Stuart Mill
What Measures are actually taken by wicked and desperate Ministers to ruin and enslave their Country
Natural Rights Of The Colonists As Men by Founder Samuel Adams Nov 20, 1772
Founder Samuel Adams: The Duty of Citizens in Electing Their Representatives
 

ADDRESS TO THE PEOPLE OF GREAT BRITAIN. Congress, on the eleventh day of October, 1774, appointed Mr. Richard Henry Lee, Mr. William Livingston and Mr. John Jay a committee to prepare a memorial to the people of British America, and an address to the people of Great Britain. It was agreed in the committee that Mr. Lee should prepare the former, and that Mr. Jay should prepare the latter. On the eighteenth, Mr. Jay reported a draught of the address, which was discussed and amended on the day following, and on the twenty-first was approved by Congress.

Friends And Fellow-Subjects [Called Subjects because they were under a Monarchy]: When a nation led to greatness by the hand of liberty [the Magna Carta Libertatum, the Petition of Right, the Habeas Corpus,the Bill of Rights, and the Act of Settlement; these are the fundamental laws of England, and form the skeleton of the British Constitution] and possessed of all the glory that heroism, munificence [great generosity], and humanity can bestow, descends to the ungrateful task of forging chains for her friends and children, and instead of giving support to freedom, turns advocate for slavery and oppression, there is reason to suspect she has either ceased to be virtuous or been extremely negligent in the appointment of her rulers.

In almost every age, in repeated conflicts in long and bloody wars, as well civil as foreign, against many and powerful nations, against the open assaults of enemies, and the more dangerous treachery of friends, have the inhabitants of your island, your great and glorious ancestors, maintained their independence and transmitted the rights of men and the blessings of liberty to you, their posterity [descendants, i.e. children, grand-children].

Be not surprised, therefore, that we who are descended from the same common ancestors, that we whose forefathers participated in all the rights, the liberties, and the constitution you so justly boast of, and who have carefully conveyed the same fair inheritance to us, guaranteed by the plighted faith of government, and the most solemn compacts with British sovereigns, should refuse to surrender them to men who found their claims on no principles of reason, and who prosecute them with a design that, by having our lives and property in their power, they may, with the greatest facility, enslave you.

The cause of America is now the object of universal attention; it has at length become very serious. This unhappy country has not only been oppressed, but abused and misrepresented; and the duty we owe to ourselves and posterity, to your interest, and the general welfare of the British empire, leads us to address you on this very important subject.

Know, then, That we consider ourselves, and do insist, that we are, and ought to be as free as our fellow-subjects in Britain, and that no power on earth has a right to take our property from us without our consent.

That we claim all the benefits secured to the subject by the English constitution, and particularly that inestimable one of trial by jury. [habeas corpus]

That we hold it essential to English liberty that no man be condemned unheard, or punished for supposed offences, without having an opportunity of making his defense.

That we think the legislature of Great Britain is not authorized by the constitution to establish a religion fraught with sanguinary and impious tenets [filled with bloodshed and immoral beliefs]; or to erect an arbitrary form of government [subject to individual will or judgment without restriction; contingent solely upon one’s own discretion] in any quarter of the globe. These rights we, as well as you, deem sacred; and yet, sacred as they are, they have, with many others, been repeatedly and flagrantly violated. [Flagrant; so obviously inconsistent with what is right or proper as to appear to be a flouting of law or morality]

Are not the proprietors of the soil of Great Britain lords of their own property? Can it be taken from them without their consent? [i.e. Imminent Domain]  Will they yield it to the arbitrary disposal of any man or number of men whatever? You know they will not.

Why, then, are the proprietors of the soil of America less lords of their property than you are of yours? or why should they submit it to the disposal of your Parliament, or any other parliament or council in the world, not of their election? Can the intervention of the sea that divides us cause disparity [inequality] in rights, or can any reason be given why English subjects who live three thousand miles from the Royal Palace, should enjoy less liberty than those who are three hundred miles distant from it?

Reason looks with indignation on such distinctions, and freemen can never perceive their propriety [the state or quality of conforming to conventionally accepted standards of behavior or morals]. And yet, however chimerical [fantastic] and unjust such discriminations are, the Parliament assert that they have a right to bind us, in all cases, without exception, whether we consent or not; that they may take and use our property when and in what manner they please; that we are pensioners [dependents] on their bounty for all that we possess, and can hold it no longer than they vouchsafe [promise] to permit. Such declarations we consider as heresies [a belief or opinion that does not agree with the official belief] in English politics, and which can no more operate to deprive us of our property than the interdicts of the Pope can divest kings of scepters which the laws of the land and the voice of the people have placed in their hands.

At the conclusion of the late war—a war rendered glorious by the abilities and integrity of a minister to whose efforts the British empire owes its safety and its fame; at the conclusion of this war, which was succeeded by an inglorious peace, formed under the auspices [support, sponsorship] of a minister of principles, and of a family, unfriendly to the Protestant cause, and inimical [harmful] to liberty—we say at this period, and under the influence of that man, a plan for enslaving your fellow-subjects in America was concerted, and has ever since been pertinaciously [perversely persistent; stubborn or obstinate] carrying into execution.

Prior to this era yon were content with drawing from us the wealth produced by our commerce: you restrained your trade in every way that could conduce [lead] to your emolument [profit]. You exercised unbounded sovereignty over the sea. You named the ports and nations to which alone our merchandise should be carried, and with whom alone we should trade; and though some of these restrictions were grievous, we nevertheless did not complain. We looked up to you as to our parent state, to which we were bound by the strongest ties, and were happy in being instrumental to your prosperity and your grandeur.

We call upon you, yourselves, to witness our loyalty and attachment to the common interest of the whole empire. Did we not, in the last war [French and Indian War], add all the strength of this vast continent to the force which repelled our common enemy? Did we not leave our native shores and meet disease and death to promote the success of British arms in foreign climates? Did you not thank us for our zeal, and even reimburse us large sums of money, which you confessed we had advanced beyond our proportion, and far beyond our abilities? You did.

To what causes, then, are we to attribute the sudden change of treatment, and that system of slavery, which was prepared for us at the restoration of peace?

Before we had recovered from the distresses which ever attend war, an attempt was made to drain this country of all its money, by the oppressive stamp act. Paint, glass, and other commodities, which you would not permit us to purchase of other nations, were taxed; nay, although no wine is made in any country, subject to the British state, you prohibited our procuring it of foreigners without paying a tax, imposed by your Parliament, on all we imported. These, and many other impositions [unreasonable demands], were laid upon us, most unjustly and unconstitutionally, for the express purpose of raising a revenue. In order to silence complaint, it was indeed provided that this revenue should be expended [spent] in America for its protection and defense. These exactions [taxes, fees], however, can receive no justification from a pretended necessity of protecting and defending us. They are lavishly squandered on court favorites [cronies] and ministerial [government] dependants, generally avowed enemies to America, and employing themselves by partial representations to traduce [slander] and embroil [involve] the colonies. For the necessary support of government here, we ever were and ever shall be ready to provide. And whenever the exigencies [urgent needs] of the state may require it, we shall, as we have heretofore done, cheerfully contribute our full proportion of men and money. To enforce this unconstitutional and unjust scheme of taxation, every fence that the wisdom of our British ancestors had carefully erected against arbitrary power, has been violently thrown down in America, and the inestimable [priceless] right of trial by jury taken away, in cases that touch both life and property. It was ordained that whenever offences should be committed in the colonies against particular acts, imposing various duties and restrictions upon trade, the prosecutor might bring his action for the penalties in the Courts of Admiralty, by which means the subject lost the advantage of being tried by an honest, uninfluenced jury of the vicinage [vicinity, proximity, immediate area], and was subjected to the sad necessity of being judged by a single man, a creature of the crown, and according to the course of a law which exempts the prosecutor from the trouble of proving his accusation, and obliges the defendant either to evince [show clearly] his innocence or to suffer. To give this new judicatory [tribunal] the greater importance, and as if with design to protect false accusers, it is further provided, that the judge’s certificate of there having been probable causes of seizure and prosecution, shall protect the prosecutor [exempt] from actions at common law for recovery of damages.

By the course of our law, offences committed in such of the British dominions in which courts are established, and justice duly and regularly administered, shall be there tried by a jury of the vicinage. There the offenders and the witnesses are known, and the degree of credibility to be given to their testimony can be ascertained.

In all these colonies justice is regularly and impartially administered; and yet, by the construction of some, and the direction of other acts of Parliament, offenders are to be taken by force, together with all such persons as may be pointed out as witnesses, and carried to England, there to be tried in a distant land, by a jury of strangers, and subject to all the disadvantages that result from the want of friends, want of witnesses, and want of money.

When the design of raising a revenue from the duties imposed on the importation of tea into America, had in great measure been rendered abortive by our ceasing to import that commodity, a scheme was concerted [planned] by the ministry with the East India Company, and an act passed, enabling and encouraging them to transport and vend [sale] it in the colonies. Aware of the danger of giving success to this insidious [causing harm in a way that is gradual or not easily noticed] maneuver, and of permitting a precedent of taxation thus to be established among us, various methods were adopted to elude the stroke. The people of Boston, then ruled by a governor whom, as well as his predecessor, Sir Francis Bernard, all America considers as her enemy, were exceedingly embarrassed. The ships which had arrived with the tea were, by his management, prevented from returning. The duties would have been paid; the cargoes landed and exposed to sale; a governor’s influence would have procured [secured] and protected many purchasers. While the town was suspended by deliberations on this important subject the tea was destroyed. Even supposing a trespass was thereby committed and the proprietors of the tea entitled to damages, the courts of law were open, and judges, appointed by the crown, presided in them. The East India Company, however, did not think proper to commence any suits, nor did they even demand satisfaction, either from individuals or from the community in general. The ministry, it seems, officiously made the case their own, and the great council of the nation descended to intermeddle with a dispute about private property. Divers [numerous] papers, letters, and other unauthenticated ex parte evidence, were laid before them. Neither the persons who destroyed the tea, nor the people of Boston, were called upon to answer the complaint. The ministry, incensed by being disappointed in a favorite scheme, were determined to recur from the little arts of finesse to open force and unmanly violence. The port of Boston was blocked up by a fleet, and an army placed in the town. Their trade was to be suspended, and thousands reduced to the necessity of gaining subsistence from charity, till they should submit to pass under the yoke and consent to become slaves, by confessing the omnipotence of Parliament, and acquiescing [submit or comply silently or without protest] in whatever disposition [arrangement] they might think proper to make of their lives and property.

Let justice and humanity cease to be the boast of your nation! Consult your history; examine your records of former transactions; nay, turn to the annals [chronicles, accounts] of the many arbitrary states and kingdoms that surround you, and show us a single instance of men being condemned to suffer for imputed [blamed for; made-up] crimes, unheard, unquestioned, and without even the specious [falsely appearing to be fair, just, or right] formality of a trial; and that, too, by laws made expressly for the purpose, and which had no existence at the time of the fact committed. If it be difficult to reconcile these proceedings to the genius and temper of your laws and constitution, the task will become more arduous [difficult] when we call upon our ministerial enemies to justify, not only condemning men untried and by hearsay, but involving the innocent in one common punishment with the guilty, and for the act of thirty or forty to bring poverty, distress, and calamity on thirty thousand souls, and those not your enemies, but your friends, brethren, and fellow-subjects.

It would be some consolation to us if the catalog of American oppressions ended here. It gives us pain to be reduced to the necessity of reminding you, that under the confidence reposed [relied upon] in the faith of government, pledged in a royal charter from a British sovereign, the forefathers of the present inhabitants of the Massachusetts Bay left their former habitations, and established that great, flourishing, and loyal colony. Without incurring or being charged with a forfeiture of their rights, without being heard, without being tried, without law and without justice, by an act of Parliament their charter is destroyed, their liberties violated, their constitution and form of government changed; and all this upon no better pretense than because in one of their towns a trespass was committed on some merchandise, said to belong to one of the companies, and because the ministry were of opinion that such high political regulations were necessary to compel due subordination and obedience to their mandates.

Nor are these the only capital [most serious] grievances under which we labor. We might tell of dissolute [depraved, immoral], weak and wicked governors having been set over us; of legislatures being suspended for asserting the rights of British subjects; of needy and ignorant dependents on great men advanced to the seats of justice, and to other places of trust and importance; of hard restrictions on commerce, and a great variety of lesser evils, the recollection of which is almost lost under the weight and pressure of greater and more poignant calamities.

Now mark the progression of the ministerial plan for enslaving us.

Well aware that such hardy attempts to take our property from us; to deprive us of that valuable right of trial by jury; to seize our persons, and carry us for trial to Great Britain; to blockade our ports; to destroy our charters and change our forms of government; would occasion, and had already occasioned, great discontent in the colonies, which might produce opposition to these measures, an act was passed to protect, indemnify [protect], and screen from punishment, such as might be guilty even of murder, in endeavoring to carry their oppressive edicts [rules, proclamations] into execution; and by another act, the dominion of Canada is to be so extended, modeled and governed, as that, by being disunited from us, detached from our interests, by civil as well as religious prejudices; that by their numbers daily swelling with Catholic emigrants from Europe, and by their devotion to an administration so friendly to their religion, they might become formidable to us, and on occasion be fit instruments, in the hands of power, to reduce the ancient free Protestant colonies to the same state of slavery with themselves.

This was evidently the object of the act; and in this view, being extremely dangerous to our liberty and quiet, we cannot forbear complaining of it, as hostile to British America. Superadded [add to what has already been added] to these considerations, we cannot help deploring the unhappy condition to which it has reduced the many English settlers who, encouraged by the royal proclamation, promising the enjoyment of all their rights, have purchased estates in that country. They are now the subjects of an arbitrary government, deprived of trial by jury, and when imprisoned, cannot claim the benefit of the habeas corpus act—that great bulwark and palladium of English liberty. Nor can we suppress our astonishment, that a British Parliament should ever consent to establish in that country, a religion that has deluged your island in blood, and dispersed impiety, bigotry, persecution, murder and rebellion through every part of the world.

This being a true state of facts, let us beseech you to consider to what end they may lead.

Admit that the ministry, by the powers of Britain and the aid of our Roman Catholic neighbors, should be able to carry the point of taxation, and reduce us to a state of perfect humiliation and slavery: such an enterprise would doubtless make some addition to your national debt, which already presses down your liberties, and fills you with pensioners and placemen. We presume, also, that your commerce will somewhat be diminished. However, suppose you should prove victorious, in what condition will you then be? What advantages or laurels will you reap from such a conquest?

May not a ministry, with the same armies enslave you? It may be said, you will cease to pay them—but remember the taxes from America, the wealth, and we may add the men, and particularly the Roman Catholics of this vast continent, will then be in the power of your enemies; nor will you have any reason to expect that after making slaves of us, many among us should refuse to assist in reducing you to the same abject state.

Do not treat this as chimerical. Know that in less than half a century, the quit rents reserved to the Crown, from the numberless grants of this vast continent, will pour large streams of wealth into the royal coffers, and if to this be added the power of taxing America at pleasure, the Crown will be rendered independent of you for supplies, and will possess more treasure than may be necessary to purchase the remains of liberty in your island. In a word, take care that you do not fall into the pit that is preparing for us.

We believe there is yet much virtue, much justice, and much public spirit in the English nation. To that justice we now appeal. You have been told that we are seditious, impatient of government, and desirous of independency. Be assured that these are not facts, but calumnies [slander, character assignation]. Permit us to be as free as yourselves, and we shall ever esteem a union with you, to be our greatest glory, and our greatest happiness; we shall ever be ready to contribute all in our power to the welfare of the empire; we shall consider your enemies as our enemies, and your interest as our own.

But, if you are determined that your ministers shall wantonly sport with the rights of mankind—if neither the voice of justice, the dictates of the law, the principles of the Constitution, or the suggestions of humanity, can restrain your hands from shedding human blood, in such an impious cause, we must then tell you, that we will never submit to be hewers of wood or drawers of water, for any ministry, or nation in the world.

Place us in the same situation that we were in, at the close of the last war, and our former harmony will be restored.

But lest the same supineness [Marked by or showing lethargy, passivity, or blameworthy indifference], and the same inattention to our common interest, which you have for several years shown, should continue, we think it prudent to anticipate the consequences.

By the destruction of the trade of Boston, the ministry have endeavored to induce submission to their measures. The like fate may befall us all. We will endeavor, therefore, to live without trade, and recur for subsistence to the fertility and bounty of our native soil, which will afford us all the necessaries, and some of the conveniences of life. We have suspended our importation from Great Britain and Ireland; and, in less than a year’s time, unless our grievances should be redressed, shall discontinue our exports to those kingdoms, and the West Indies.

It is with the utmost regret, however, that we find ourselves compelled, by the overruling principles of self-preservation, to adopt measures detrimental in their consequences, to numbers of our fellow-subjects in Great Britain and Ireland. But, we hope, that the magnanimity and justice of the British nation will furnish a Parliament of such wisdom, independence, and public spirit, as may save the violated rights of the whole empire, from the devices of wicked ministers and evil counselors, whether in or out of office; and thereby restore that harmony, friendship, and fraternal affection between all the inhabitants of his Majesty’s kingdoms and territories, so ardently wished for by every true and honest American.

Prophetic: Necessity of a Pure National Morality by Lyman Beecher

Lyman_Beecher

Prophetic Sermon by Lyman Beecher; the father of Henry Ward Beecher

Necessity of a Pure National Morality; by Lyman Beecher (1775 – 1863) Presbyterian minister.

Ezekiel, xxxiii. 10.

Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; thus ye speak, saying, if our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?

At the time this direction was given to the prophet, the nation of Israel had become very wicked, and were suffering in captivity the punishment of their sins; and yet they did not reform. They affected to doubt whether, if they did reform, the Most High would pardon them; and if he would, it would afford them no consolation, for reformation, they insisted, had become hopeless. “Our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live?” The burden has increased, until we are crushed beneath it—the disease has progressed, until it has become incurable.

They were correct in the inference that if they did not reform they must die; but they erred lamentably in the conclusion that reformation was hopeless.

To wipe off such an aspersion from his character, and to banish from the minds of his people such desponding apprehensions, the Most High condescends to expostulate with them. Have I any pleasure in the death of him that dieth? Is it my fault, that nations are wicked? Do I constrain them to sin, or prevent their reformation? As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: “turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”

We are brought, therefore, by the text and its connections, to the doctrine,

That A Work Of Reformation, In A Time Of Great Moral Declension, Is A Difficult, But By No Means An Impracticable Work.

In the illustration of this doctrine, it is proposed to consider,

I. Some of the difficulties, which may be expected to impede a work of reformation.

II. Show that such a work is, notwithstanding, entirely practicable.

III. Consider some of the ways, in which it may be successfully attempted. And

IV. The motives to immediate exertion.

With respect to the difficulties which may be expected to attend a work of reformation, one obvious impediment will be found in the number and character of those who must be immediately affected by such a work.

The sons of Belial, in a time of declension, are numerous and daring. Emboldened by impunity, they have declared themselves independent both of God and man, and are leagued by a common interest and a common feeling, to defend their usurped immunities. They are watchful and zealous; and the moment an effort is made to execute the laws, every mouth is open against the work; and their clamors, and sneers, and threatenings, and lies, like the croakings of Egypt, fill the land.

This direct opposition, may be expected to receive from various sources collateral aid. In this wicked world, where the love of money is the root of evil, there are not a few who traffic in the souls and bodies of men. Not immoral always, in their own conduct, they thrive by the vices of other men; and may be tempted to resist a reformation which would dry up these impure sources of revenue. They would not justify intemperance, nor the means of promoting it; but pretexts are never wanting to conceal the real motives of men, and justify opposition to whatever they deem inconsistent with their interest. Though reformation, therefore, might be admitted to be desirable, either the motives of those who make the attempt, or the means by which they make it, will always be wrong; and it will be impossible ever to devise a right way, till their interest is on the other side. In many cases, it is to be hoped, that integrity would get the victory over cupidity; but in many more, it is to be feared, that avarice, secretly or openly, would send recruits to the standard of opposition.

This phalanx may receive some augmentation from those, whose pride may be wounded through the medium of their unhappy relatives. They could endure to see them live in infamy, and die in despair, while they shrink from the imagined disgrace of applying a remedy which may rescue the victim, or limit the influence of his pestilent example. How long shall it be, ere men will learn that sin is infamy, and that reformation is glory and honor!

To the preceding, must be added the opposition of all the timid, falsely called, peace makers.

They lament bitterly the prevailing evils of the day, and multiply predictions of divine judgments and speedy ruin; but if a voice be raised, or a finger be lifted to attempt a reformation, they are in a tremor lest the peace of society be invaded. Their maxim would seem to be, �better to die in sin, if we may but die quietly, than to purchase life and honor by contending for them.’ If men will be wicked, let them be wicked, if they will but be peaceable. But the mischief is, men freed from restraint will be wicked, and will not be peaceable. No method can be devised more effectual to destroy the peace of society, than tamely to give up the laws to conciliate the favor of the flagitious. Like the tribute paid by the degenerate Romans to purchase peace of the northern barbarians, every concession will increase the demand, and render resistance more hopeless.

Another class of men will encamp very near the enemy, through mere love of ease.

They would have no objection that vice should be suppressed and good morals promoted, if these events would come to pass of their own accord; but, when the question is asked, ‘What must be done?’ this talk of action is a terrific thing; and if, in their panic, they go not over to the enemy, it is only because the enemy also demands courage and enterprise. In this dilemma, it is judged expedient to put in requisition the resources of wisdom, and gravely to caution against rashness, and innovation, and zeal without knowledge, until all about them are persuaded that the safest, and wisest, and easiest way, is to do nothing.

There is another class of men, not too indolent, but too exclusively occupied with schemes of personal enterprise, to bestow their time or labor upon plans which regard only the general good.

If their fields bring forth abundantly, if their profession be lucrative, if they can buy, and sell, and get gain, it is enough. Society must take care of itself. Distant consequences are not regarded, and generations to come must provide for their own safety. The stream of business hurries them on without the leisure of a moment, or an anxious thought concerning the general welfare.

Another impediment to be apprehended when the work of reformation is attempted, is found in the large territory of neutral ground, which, on such occasions, is often very populous.

Many would engage in the enterprise cheerfully, were they quite certain it could be done with perfect safety. But perhaps it may injure their interest, or affect their popularity. They take their stand therefore, on this safe middle ground—they will not oppose the work, for perhaps it may be popular; and they will not help the work, for perhaps it may be unpopular. They wait therefore, till they perceive whether Israel or Amalek prevail, and then, with much self complacency, fall in on the popular side. This neutral territory is especially large in a republican government, where so much emolument and the gratification of so much ambition depend upon the suffrages of the people. It requires no deep investigation to make it manifest to the candidate for suffrage, that if he lend his influence to prevent travelling on the sabbath, the sabbath-breaker will not vote for him; if he lay his hand upon tippling shops and drunkards, the whole suffrage of those who are implicated will be turned against him. Hence, many who should be a terror to evil doers, will bear the sword in vain. They will persuade themselves that theirs is a peculiar case; and that it is not best for them to volunteer in the work of reformation.

To reduce the power of this, temptation, it may be laid down as a maxim, that when the toleration of crimes becomes the price of public suffrage, when the people will not endure the restraint of righteous laws, but will reward magistrates who violate their oath and suffer them to sin with impunity, and when magistrates will sell their consciences and the public good for a little brief authority,’ then the public suffrage is of but little value, for the day of liberty is drawing to a close, and the night of despotism is at hand. The people are prepared to become slaves; and the flagitious to usurp the government, and rule them with a rod of iron. No compact formed by man is more unhallowed or pernicious, than this tacit compact between rulers and the people to dispense with the laws, and tolerate crimes.

In the midst of these difficulties, there are not a few who greatly magnify them by despondency. Like the captive Israelites, they sit down, and fold their hands, and sigh, and weep, and wish that something might be done, but inculcate unceasingly the disheartening prediction, that nothing can be done. “It is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants; and we were in our oivn sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.” Because the work cannot be done at once, they conclude that it can never be done. Because all that might be desirable cannot, perhaps ever, be obtained, they conclude that nothing can be obtained. Talk of reformation, and the whole nation with all its crimes rises up before them, and fills them with dismay and despair. It seems never to have occurred to them, that if we cannot do great good, it is best to do a little; and that, by accomplishing with persevering industry all that is practicable, the ultimate amount may be great, surpassing expectation.

There is yet another class of people who by no means despair of deliverance, but they have no conception that human exertion will be of much avail. ‘If we are delivered, God must deliver us, and we must pray and wait, till it shall please him to come and save us.’ But, upon this principle we may pray and wait forever, and the Lord will not come. The kingdom of God is a kingdom of means, and though the excellency of the power belongs to him exclusively, human instrumentality is indispensable.

It is by no means improbable that some may be aroused to oppose any special efforts at reformation, merely from their novelty. It is lamentable that such efforts should be a novelty in a world, where they are always so necessary to keep back the encroachments of vice—but so it is. If the exertions, however good and proper, have not been made before, it seems to be with some a valid reason why they never should be made.—’ What new thing is this? Did our fathers ever do so?’ They had not the same occasion. But because they did not make special efforts to repel an enemy which did not assail them, shall we neglect to resist an enemy which is pouring in like a flood, and threatening to sweep us away? There are some who look with cold philosophic eye upon the progress of crimes, as a part of that great course of events which will roll on resistless in spite of human endeavor. And we know, that the genius of the government, the progress of science, and the refinement of wealth and luxury, will draw after them a train of consequences which no human efforts can prevent. But are these consequences evil only? Are not certain vices left behind in the rude age, and certain virtues produced by the age of refinement? If there be greater facilities of committing crimes, are there not also increased facilities of preventing them? And if the balance be, on the whole, against us, is this an argument that we can do nothing; or only that we should double our diligence as dangers increase? Because nations have not resisted this tide of human events, does it follow that it cannot be resisted? May not the deleterious causes be modified and counteracted, and their results delayed, if not averted? Will the christian religion and its institutions exert no saving influence in our favor? Because Greece and Rome who had not this precious system, perished by their vices, is it certain that nations must perish now, who experience its preserving influence? We have seen what idols can do, and we have before us the results of atheism. Let us now, with double diligence water the tree whose leaves are for the healing of the nations; and not despair of its restoring influence, till the experiment has been faithfully made and has failed.

But not a few, after all, it may be feared, will stand aloof from the work of reformation, from the persuasion that we are in no danger. â€?The world is no worse than it always has been, and this pretence of growing wickedness, is only a song of alarm sung by superstition, from age to age.’ Surely then, if we may credit testimony, the world has been uniformly bad enough to make reformation desirable; and if, without special efforts, it has been stationary, the prospect of improvement by exertion is bright, and we are utterly inexcusable if we do not make the attempt.

But is it true that nations do not decline? Whence then the punishment of the Israelites for this sin, and whence the maxim we have just combated, that they must and will decline? Were the morals of the Roman empire as good when it was sold at auction, as at any antecedent period? Was the age of Charles the Second in England as favorable to virtue, as any preceding age? Did the late war produce in our own land, no change for the worse? Are the morals of New England as pure now, as they ever have been? Is the God of heaven as universally worshipped in the family? Are children as much accustomed to subordination, and as faithfully instructed in religion? Are the laws against immorality as faithfully executed, and the occasions for their interference as few, as at any former period? Has there been no increase of slander, falsehood, and perjury? Is the sabbath day remembered and kept holy, with its ancient strictness? Did our fathers journey, and labor in the field, and visit, and ride out for amusement on that holy day, and do these things with impunity? Has there been no increase of intemperance? Was there consumed, in the days of our fathers, the proportion of five gallons of ardent spirits for every man, woman, and child in the land; and at an expense, more than sufficient to support the Gospel, the civil government, and every school and literary institution? Did our fathers tolerate tippling-shops all over the land, and enrich merchants and beggar their families, by mortgaging their estates to pay the expenses of intemperance? Did the ardent spirits consumed by laborers amount, not unfrequently, to almost half the price of their labor; and did they faint often ere the day was past, and fail before the summer was ended, and die of intemperance in the midst of their days? It is capable of demonstration, that the vigor of our countrymen, the amount of productive labor and their morals, are declining together under the influence of this destructive sin.

We are to show

II. That notwithstanding all these impediments, a reformation is entirely practicable.

If it were not practicable, why should it be commanded, and disobedience be followed with fearful punishment? Shall not the judge of all the earth do right? Are not all his requisitions according to what a man hath, and not according to what he hath not? The commands of God are the measure and the evidence of human ability. He is not an hard master, reaping where he has not sowed, and gathering where he has not strawed. The way of the Lord is not unequal—he never demands of men the performance of impossibilities. We conclude therefore, that reformation is practicable, because it is the unceasing demand of heaven, that nations, as well as individuals, do turn from their evil ways.

But facts corroborate theory. Reformations great and difficult, have been achieved. Such was the reformation from Popery begun by Luther. Who, before the event, would have conceived it possible, that an individual could awake half of Europe from the slumber of ages, and shed upon the nations that light, which is shining more and more to the perfect day.

The abolition of the slave trade in England, and in our own country, is a memorable exhibition of what may be done by well directed, persevering efforts. The inhuman traffic was sanctioned by custom, defended by argument, and, still more powerfully, by a vast monied capital embarked in the trade. It is not yet fifty years since this first effort was made, and-now the victory is won. Who produced this mighty revolution? A few men at first lifted up their voice, and were reinforced by others, till the immortal work was done.

A thousandth part of the study, and exertion, and expense, and suffering, endured to achieve our independence, would be sufficient with the divine blessing, to preserve our morals and perpetuate our liberties forever. Should a foreign foe invade us, there would be no despondency; every pulse would beat high, and every arm would be strong. It is only when criminals demand the surrender of our laws and institutions, that all faces gather paleness and all hearts are faint. Men, who would fly to the field of battle to rescue their country from shame, tremble at the song of the drunkard, and flee, panic struck, before the army of the aliens.

But we have facts to produce, facts, more decisive than a thousand arguments, to prove that such reformation as we need is practicable.

Desperate as the state of the Jews was in their own estimation, they were reformed, and did not at that time, pine away and die in their sins. And never, perhaps, was such a work attended with circumstances of greater difficulty. The whole order of God’s worship had been superseded by the captivity, and was again to be restored. Many of the people had contracted unlawful marriages; and husbands and wives were to be separated, and parents and children. Some had been in the habit of treading the wine press on the sabbath day, and bringing in sheaves, and wine, and grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens. The people held also constant intercourse with Syrian merchants, who came into their city on the sabbath and traded with them. But great as were the difficulties, Nehemiah and Ezra and the elders of the land undertook, and by the help of God accomplished the work of reformation.

Other efforts of the same kind have been crowned with similar success. A society was established in London about the year 1697, to suppress vice by promoting the execution of the laws. The moral state of the city and nation at that time, and the success of their association, are thus described by a respectable historian:

“It is well known, to our shame, that profane swearing and cursing, drunkenness, and open lewdness and profanation of the Lord’s day have been committed with great impunity, and without control, without either shame, or fear of laws, so that they were seen and heard at noon day, and in the open streets. Debauchery had diffused itself through the whole body of the nation, till, at last, our morals were so corrupted, that virtue and vice had with too many changed their names. It is was reckoned breeding, to swear—gallantry, to be lewd—good humor, to be drunk—and wit, to despise serious things. In this state of things, reformation was indeed talked of as an excellent thing, but vice was looked upon as too formidable an enemy to be provoked; and public reformation was thought to be so difficult a thing, that those who gave it very good words, thought it not safe to set about it. When things were in this dismal, and almost desperate state, it came into the hearts of five or six private gentlemen to engage in this hazardous enterprise. This was such an undertaking, as might well be expected soon to alarm the enemy, and which the patrons of vice would attempt to defeat, before any progress could be made—and so it proved. The champions of debauchery put themselves in array to defend their infamous liberties, to ridicule, to defame, and to oppose this design. And others, whom in charity we could not look upon as enemies, were forward to censure these attempts as the fruit of an imprudent zeal. But notwithstanding a furious opposition from adversaries, and the unkind neutrality of friends, these gentlemen not only held their ground, but made advances into the territory of the enemy. The society, commencing with five or six, soon embraced numbers and persons of eminence in every station. In imitation of this society and for the same purpose, other societies were formed in every part of the city, and among the sober of almost every profession and occupation. Beside these, there were about thirty-nine religious societies in and about London, who, among other objects, made that of reformation a prominent one.

“The effects of these combinations were favorable beyond the most sanguine expectation. From their vigilance and promptitude the growing vices of the day were checked, insomuch, that it was soon found difficult to detect a single criminal in the streets and markets, where, a little before, horrid oaths, curses, and imprecations might be heard, day and night. Multitudes of drunkards, profaners of the Lord’s day, besides hundreds of disorderly houses, were brought to justice, and such open vices suppressed. Nor were the good effects of these associations limited to the city. They soon extended to most of the principal towns and cities of the nation, to Scotland and Ireland; so that a great part of the kingdom have been awakened in some measure to a sense of duty, and thereby a very hopeful progress is made towards a general reformation.”

Similar societies have been formed in England, at different times, ever since. In 1802, a very respectable society of the above description was established in London. It experienced, at first, most virulent opposition, but has completely surmounted every obstacle, and now commands fear, and respect, and gratitude. Such has been its influence in preventing crimes, that at one annual meeting the number of convictions reported was an hundred and seventy-eight, at the next, only seventy. As it respects the observation of the sabbath particularly, the whole city of London exhibits, to a considerable degree, a new face. A vast number of shops which used to be open on that day, are closed. The butchers of several markets have thanked the society for compelling them to an act which they find productive of so much comfort to themselves; and have even associated to secure that triumph, which the labors of the society had won.

Their useful and disinterested labors have received the commendation and thanks of the Lord Chief Justice, of more than one of the judges, and of a variety of magistrates. We desire also to bring our gift to their altar, (says the Christian Observer, from which work we have taken this account,) and to add the feeble testimony of our opinion, that this society deserves well of its country.

In this country, about the year 1760, a society was formed in the State of Maryland, to aid the civil magistrate in the execution of the laws. And so well, it is said, did the society succeed, as to induce numbers in different States to imitate their example. From that time to the present similar associations have been formed in various places, as exigencies have demanded, and with good effect, whenever their exertions have been made with prudence and decision.

We consider the fact, therefore, as now established, that reformation in a season of prevailing moral declension, is entirely practicable. And if it be so, it is a glorious fact, shedding light upon the darkness of the present day.

We are to consider

III. Some of the ways, in which this great work may be successfully attempted.

And doubtless, in the first place, the public attention must be called to this subject, and the public mind must be impressed with a proper sense of danger, and of the necessity of reformation.

From various causes,nations are prone to sleep over the dangers of moral depravation till their destruction comes upon them. A small portion only of the whole mass of crimes is seen at any one point. A few tippling shops are observed in a particular place, impoverishing families, and rearing up drunkards, but it is not considered that thousands, with like pestilential influence, are at work all over the land, training up recruits to hunt down law and order. A few instances are witnessed of needless travelling, or labor, or amusement on the sabbath, which excite a momentary alarm. But it is not considered that a vast army, probably three millions of people, are assailing at the same time this great bulwark of christian lands.

The progress of declension is also so gradual, as to attract from day to day but little notice, or excite but little alarm. Now this slow but certain approximation of the community to destruction must be made manifest. The whole army of conspirators against law and order, and the shame, and the bondage, and the woe, which they are preparing for us, must be brought out and arrayed before the public eye.

This exposition of public guilt and danger is the appropriate work of Gospel ministers. They are watchmen set upon the walls of Zion to descry and announce the approach of danger. And if, through sloth, or worldly avocations, or fear of man, they blow not the trumpet at the approach of the enemy, and the people perish, the blood of the slain will the Lord require at their hands. Civil magistrates are also ministers of God, attending continually upon this very thing. It is their exclusive work, “to see to it, that the commonwealth receives no detriment.” Indeed, every man is bound to be vigilant, and firm, and unceasing, in this great work. And by sermons, and conversation, and tracts, and newspapers, and magazines, and legislative aid, the point may be gained. The public attention may be called up to the subject, and just apprehensions of danger may be excited; and when this is done, the greatest danger is past—the work is half accomplished.

The next thing to be attempted, is the reformation of the better part of the community.

In a time of general declension, some who are comparatively virtuous, perhaps professedly pious, yield insensibly to the influence of bad example. Habits are formed, and practices are allowed, which none would, indulge in better days but the openly vicious. Each says of his own indulgence, “Is it not a little one?” But the aggregate guilt is great; and the aggregate demoralizing influence of such license in such persons, is dreadful. It annihilates the influence of their good example; tempts the inexperienced to enter, and the hardened to go on, in the downward road; and renders all efforts to save them unavailing. If we would attempt therefore^ successfully, the work of reformation, we must make the experiment first upon ourselves. We must cease to do evil, and learn to do well, that with pure hands and clear vision, we may be qualified to reclaim others. If our liberty, even in things lawful, should become a stumbling block to the weak or the wicked, it may be no superfluous benevolence to forego gratifications innocent in themselves, that we may avoid the appearance of evil, and cut off occasion of reproach from all whom our exertions may provoke to desire occasion.

The next thing demanding attention, is the religious education of the rising generation.

When the subject of reformation is proposed, multitudes turn their eyes to places of the greatest depravation, and to criminals of the most abandoned character, and because these strong holds cannot be carried, and these sons of Belial reformed, they conclude that nothing can be done. But reformation is not the work of a day, and, if the strong holds of vice cannot be stormed, there is still a silent, certain way of reformation. Immoral men do not live forever; and if good heed be taken that they draw no new recruits from our families, death will achieve for us a speedy victory. We may stand still, and see the salvation of God. Death will lay low the sons of Anak, and a generation of another spirit will occupy without resistance their fortified places.

From various causes the ancient discipline of the family has been extensively neglected. Children have neither been governed nor instructed in religion, as they were in the days of our fathers. The imported discovery that human nature is too good to be made better by discipline, . that children are enticed from the right way by religious instruction, and driven from it by the rod, and kept in thraldom [the state of being a thrall; bondage; slavery; servitude] by the conspiracy of priests and legislators, has united not a few in the noble experiment of emancipating the world by the help of an irreligious, ungoverned progeny. The indolent have rejoiced in the discovery that our fathers were fools and bigots, and have cheerfully let loose their children to help on the glorious work, while thousands of families, having heard from their teachers, or believing in spite of them, that morality will suffice both for earth and heaven, and not doubting that morality will nourish without religion, have either not reared the family altar, or have put out the sacred fire, and laid aside together the rod and the Bible as superfluous auxiliaries in the education of children. From the school too, with pious regard for its sacred honors, the Bible has been withdrawn, lest, by a too familiar knowledge of its contents, children should learn to despise it; as if ignorance were the mother of devotion, and the efficacy of laws depended upon their not being understood. With similar benign wisdom has not only the rod, but government, and catechetical instruction, and a regard to the moral conduct of children been exiled from the school. These sagacious counsels emerging from beneath, were heedlessly adopted by many as the wisdom from above, until their result began to disclose their different origin. For it came to pass in many places, that the school, instead of a nursery of piety, became often a place of temptation, where children, forgetting the scanty instruction of the family, learned insubordination by indulgence and impiety, and immorality, by the example of those who were permitted to sin with impunity. The consequence has been, that on all sides our ancient institutions are assailed, and our venerable habits and usages are passing away.

To retrieve these mischiefs of negligence and folly, a general effort must be made to restore our ancient system of education. There must be concert, new zeal, and special exertion; and let no man predict that the holy enterprise cannot succeed. Because we have listened to the siren song of vain philosophy, and floated listlessly down the stream till the precipice appears, shall we despair to row back when danger inspires courage, and calls aloud for a common effort?

Our fathers were not fools; they were as far from it as modern philosophers are from wisdom. Their fundamental maxim was, that man is desperately wicked, and cannot be qualified for good membership in society, without the influence of moral restraint. With great diligence therefore, they availed themselves of the laws and institutions of revelation, as embodying the most correct instruction and the most powerful moral restraint. The word of God was daily read, and his worship celebrated in the family and in the school, and children were trained up under the eye ol Jehovah. In this great work, pastors and churches and magistrates co-operated. And what moral restraint could not accomplish, was secured by parental authority and the coercion of the law. The success of these efforts corresponded with the wisdom of the system adopted, and the fidelity with which it was reduced to practice. Our fathers established and, for a great while preserved the most perfect state of society, probably, that has ever existed in this fallen world.

The same causes will still produce the same effects, and no other causes will produce them. New England can only retain her pre-eminence, by upholding those institutions and habits which produced it. Divested of these, like Samson shorn of his locks, she will become as weak and as contemptible as any other land. But let the family and the school be organized and ordered according to the ancient pattern; let parents, and schoolmasters, and pastors, and churches, and magistrates, do their duty, and all will be well. The crown of glory will return, and the most fine gold will shine again in all its ancient luster.

But we must here state more particularly, the indispensable necessity of executing promptly the laws-against immorality.

Much may be done in the way of prevention; but, in a free government, moral suasion and coercion must be united. If children be not religiously educated, and accustomed in early life to subordination, the laws will fail in the unequal contest of subduing tigers to their yoke. But if the influence of education and habit be not confirmed and guarded by the supervening influence of law, this salutary restraint will be swept away by the overpowering force of human depravity. To retrieve therefore our declension, it is indispensable, not only that new fidelity pervade the family, the school, and the church of God, but that the laws against immorality be restored to their ancient vigor. Laws unexecuted are worse than nothing; mere phantoms, which excite increased audacity, when the vain fears subside which they have inspired. If the stream must have its course, it is better not to oppose obstructions which will only increase its fury, and extend the desolation when they are swept away.

But in a season of great moral declension, how shall we raise from the dust neglected laws, and give to them life and vigor? The multiplication of new prohibitions and penalties will not avail, for the evil to be redressed is the non-execution of laws already competent, if executed, to our protection., Shall the government itself stand forth the watchful guardian of its own laws? Too often it may lack the inclination, and it will always be too much occupied by other concerns, to exercise the minute agency that is requisite.

Shall the work then be delegated to a subordinate magistracy? The neglect of official duty is the very evil for which we now seek a remedy. Shall individuals then, volunteer their assistance? It is possible, that they may sometimes experience a rebuke from the magistrate to whose aid they come. The workers of iniquity also, will conspire constantly to hunt them down; while thousands of prudent well wishers to the public morals will look on and see them sacrificed, pitying their rashness, and blessing themselves, that they were wise enough to stand aloof from enterprises of so much danger.

Direct evils compel men to execute the law, while crimes full of deadly consequences are suffered to prevail with impunity. With relentless zeal the sword pursues the fugitive thief and murderer, and no city of refuge affords them a sanctuary; while thousands devote themselves to the work of training up thieves and murderers, and in open day cut the moral ties which bind them, and let them loose upon society. And yet the sword sleeps; and judgment is turned away backward; and justice standeth afar off; while truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.

To secure then, the execution of the laws against immorality in a time of prevailing moral declension, an influence is needed distinct from that of the government, independent of popular suffrage, superior in potency to individual efforts, and competent to enlist and preserve the public opinion on the side of law and order.

This most desirable influence as we have before observed, has been found in local voluntary associations of the wise and the good, to aid the civil magistrate in the execution of the laws. These associations are eminently adapted to answer their intended purpose. They awaken the public attention, and by the sermons, the reports, and the conversation they occasion, diffuse much moral instruction; they combine the wisdom and influence of all who desire to prevent crimes, and uphold peace and good order in society; they have great influence to form correctly the public opinion, and to render the violation of the law disgraceful, as well as dangerous; they teach the virtuous part of the community their strength, and accustom them to act, as well as to wish and to pray; they constitute a sort of disciplined moral militia, prepared to act upon every emergency, and repel every encroachment upon the liberties and morals of the State. By their numbers, they embolden the timid, and intimidate the enemy; and in every conflict, the responsibility being divided among many, is not feared. By this auxiliary band the hands of the magistrate are strengthened, the laws are rescued from contempt, the land is purified, the anger of the Lord is turned away, and his blessing and protection restored.

If, beside these local associations, a more extended concert of wise and good men could be formed, to devise ways and means of suppressing vice and guarding the public morals, to collect facts and extend information, and, in a thousand nameless ways, to exert a salutary general influence, it would seem to complete a system of exertion, which, we might hope, would retrieve what we have lost, and perpetuate forever civil and religious institutions. Associations of this general nature for the promotion of the arts and sciences, have exerted a powerful influence with great success; and no reason, it is presumed, can be given, why the cause of morals may not be equally benefitted by similar associations.

Finally; To counteract the prevalent declension, and raise the standard of public morals, it is peculiarly necessary to preserve indissoluble the connection between sin and shame.

A sense of shame will deter multitudes from the commission of crimes, whom conscience alone would not deter. Happily, in New England, immorality of every description has from the beginning been associated with disgrace. But the prevalence of wickedness in high places, and the growing frequency of crimes have at length paralyzed the public sensibility, and lightened the tax of shame. Hence, criminals whom our fathers would have abhorred, have been first “endured, then pitied, then embraced.” This compromise with crimes if persisted in, will undo us. Let the profligate be received with complacency into virtuous society, and enjoy without impediment the suffrage of the community, and the public conscience will be seared as with a hot iron; the distinctions between right and wrong will disappear; the wicked, openmouthed, will walk on every side, and tread down with impunity the remnants of law and order. If we would reform the land we must return therefore to the stern virtue of our ancestors, and lay the whole tax of shame upon the dissolute and immoral.

Let this circumspection concerning moral character attend us in the selection of schoolmasters to instruct our children; of subordinate magistrates to manage the concerns of the town, and to execute the laws of the State; and in selecting the members of our State and National Legislatures; and we shall soon experience the good effects of our caution. But disregard this single consideration, and clothe with power irreligious and immoral men, and we cannot stop the prevalence of crimes. From the bad eminence to which we exalt the wicked, the flood of iniquity will roll down upon us, and the judgments of God will follow and sweep us away.

IV. We are to consider some of the motives which should animate the wise and the good to make immediate and vigorous exertion for the reformation of morals, and the preservation of our laws and institutions.

And certainly, the importance of the interest in jeopardy demands our first and most serious regard.

If we consider only the temporal prosperity of the nation, the interest is the most important earthly interest that ever called forth the enterprise of man. No other portion of the human race ever commenced a national existence as we – commenced ours. Our very beginning was civilized, learned, and pious. The sagacious eye of our ancestors looked far down the vale of time. Their benevolence laid foundations, and reared superstructures, for the accommodation of distant generations. Through peril, and tears, and blood, they procured the inheritance, which, with many prayers, they bequeathed unto us. It has descended in an unbroken line. It is now in our possession impaired indeed by our folly, perverted and abused, but still the richest inheritance which the mercy of God continues to the troubled earth. Nowhere beside, if you search the world over, will you find so much real liberty; so much equality; so much personal safety, and temporal prosperity; so general an extension of useful knowledge; so much religious instruction; so much moral restraint; and so much divine mercy, to make these blessings the power of God, and the wisdom of God unto salvation. Shall we throw away this precious bequest? Shall we surrender our laws and liberties, our religion and morals, our social and domestic blessings, to the first invader? Shall we despair and die of fear, without an effort to avert our doom? What folly! What infatuation! What madness to do so! With what indignation, could indignation be in heaven, would our fathers look down upon the deed? With what lamentation, could tears be in heaven, would they weep over it? With what loud voices, could they speak to us from heaven, would they beseech their degenerate children to put their trust in God, and contend earnestly for those precious institutions and laws for which they toiled and bled.

2. If we do not awake and engage vigorously in the work of reformation, it will soon be too late.

Though reformation be always practicable if a people are disposed to reform, there is a point of degradation from which neither individuals nor nations are disposed to arise, and from which the Most High is seldom disposed to raise them. When irreligion and vice shall have contaminated the mass of the people, when the majority, emancipated from civil and moral restraint shall be disposed to set aside the laws and institutions and habits of their fathers, then indeed it may be feared that our transgressions and our sins will be upon us, and that we shall pine away and die in them. The means of preservation passing into other hands, will become tiie means of destruction. Talents, and official influence, and the power of legislation, and all the resources of the State may be perverted to demolish our institutions, laws and usages, until every vestige of ancient wisdom and prosperity is gone.

To this state of things we are hastening, and, if no effort be made to stop our progress, the sun in his course is not more resistless than our doom. Our vices are digging the grave of our liberties, and preparing to entomb our glory. We may sleep, but the work goes on. We may despise admonition, but our destruction slumbereth not. Travelling, and worldly labor, and visiting, and amusement on the sabbath, will neither produce nor preserve such a state of society, as the conscientious observance of the sabbath has helped to produce and preserve; the enormous consumption of ardent spirits in our land will produce neither bodies nor minds like those which were the offspring of temperance and virtue. The neglect of family government, and family prayer, and the religious education of children, will not produce such freemen as were formed by early habits of subordination, and the constant influence of the fear of God; the neglect of official duty in magistrates to execute the laws, will not produce the same effects, which were produced by the vigilance and fidelity of our fathers, to restrain and punish crimes.

Our institutions, civil and religious, have out-lived that domestic discipline and official vigilance in magistrates to execute the laws which rendered obedience easy and habitual. The laws now are beginning to operate extensively upon necks unaccustomed to the yoke, and when they shall become irksome to the majority, their execution will become impracticable. To this situation we are already reduced in some districts of the land. Drunkards reel through the streets, day after day, and year after year, with entire impunity. Profane swearing is heard, and even by magistrates, as though they heard it not. Efforts to stop travelling on the sabbath, have in all places become feeble, and in many places, they have wholly ceased. Informing officers complain that magistrates will not regard their informations, and that the public sentiment will not bear them out in executing the laws; and conscientious men who dare not violate an oath, have begun to refuse the office. The only proper characters to sustain it, the only men who can retrieve our declining state, are driven into the back ground, and their places filled with men of easy conscience, who will either do nothing, or by their own example help on the ruin. The public conscience is becoming callous by the frequency and impunity of crimes. The sin of violating the sabbath is becoming in the public estimation a little sin, and the shame of it, nothing. The disgrace is divided among so many, that none regard it. The sabbath is trodden down by a host of men, whom shame alone, in better days, would have deterred entirely from this sin. In the mean time, many, who lament these evils are augmenting them by predicting that all is lost, encouraging the enemy, and weakening the hands of the wise and good. But truly, we do stand on the confines of destruction. The mass is changing. We are becoming another people. Our habits have held us, long after those moral causes which formed them have in a great degree ceased to operate. These habits, at length, are giving way. So many hands have so long been employed to pull away foundations, and so few to repair the breaches, that the building totters. So much enterprise has been displayed in removing obstructions from the current of human depravity, and so little to restore them, that the stream at length is beginning to run. It may be stopped now, but it will soon become deep, and broad, and rapid, and irresistible.

The crisis then has come. By the people of this generation, by ourselves probably, the amazing question is to be decided, whether the inheritance of our fathers shall be preserved, or thrown away—whether our sabbaths shall be a delight, or a loathing—whether the taverns on that holy day, shall be crowded with drunkards, or the sanctuary of God with humble worshippers—whether riot and profanity shall fill our streets, and poverty our dwellings, and convicts our jails, and violence our land; or whether industry, and temperance, and righteousness, shall be the stability of our times— whether mild laws shall receive the cheerful submission of freemen, or the iron rod of a tyrant compel the trembling homage of slaves. Be not deceived. Human nature in this nation is like human nature everywhere. All actual difference in our favor is adventitious, and the result of our laws, institutions, and habits. It is a moral influence which, with the blessing of God, has formed a state of society so eminently desirable. The same influence which has formed it, is indispensable to its preservation. The rocks and hills of New England will remain till the last conflagration; but, let the sabbath be profaned with impunity, the worship of God be abandoned, the government and religious instruction of children be neglected, and the streams of intemperance be permitted to flow, and her glory will depart. The wall of fire will no more surround her, and the munition of rocks will no longer be her defense. But,

3. If we do neglect our duty, and suffer our laws and institutions to go down, we give them up forever. It is easy to relax, easy to retreat, but impossible, when the abomination of desolation has once passed over, to rear again the prostrate altars, and gather again the fragments, and build up the ruins of demolished institutions. Neither we nor our children shall ever see another New England, if this be destroyed. All is lost irretrievably when the landmarks are once removed, and the bands which now hold us are once broken. Such institutions, and such a state of society, can be established only by such men as our fathers were, and in such circumstances as they were. They could not have made a New England in Holland. They made the attempt but failed. Nowhere could they have succeeded, but in a wilderness; where they gave the precepts, and set the example, and made, and executed the laws. By vigilance, and prayer, and exertion, we may defend these institutions, retrieve much of what we have lost, and perpetuate a better state of society than can elsewhere be made by the art of man. But, let the enemy come in like a flood, and overturn, and overturn, and no place will be found for repentance, though it be sought carefully with tears.

4. If we give up our laws and institutions, our guilt and misery will be very great.

We shall become slaves, and slaves to the worst of masters. The profane and the profligate, men of corrupt minds, and to every good work reprobate, will be exalted to pollute us by their example, to distract us by their folly, and impoverish us by fraud and rapine. Let loose from wholesome restraint, and taught to sin by the example of the great, a scene most horrid to be conceived, but more dreadful to be experienced, will ensue. No people are more fitted to destruction, if they go to destruction, than we ourselves. All the daring enterprise of our countrymen emancipated from moral restraint, will become the desperate daring of unrestrained sin. Should we break the bands of Christ, and cast his cords from us, and begin the work of self-destruction, it will be urged on with a malignant enterprise which has no parallel in the annals of time; and be attended with miseries, such as the sun has never looked upon.

The hand that overturns our laws and altars is the hand of death unbarring the gate of Pandemonium, and letting loose upon our land the crimes and the miseries of hell. Even if the Most High should stand aloof, and cast not a single ingredient into our cup of trembling, it would seem to be full of superlative woe. But he will not stand aloof. As we shall have begun an open controversy with him, he will contend openly with us; and never, since the earth stood, has it been so fearful a thing for nations to fall into the hands of the living God. The day of vengeance is in his heart— the day of judgment has come—the great earthquake which is to sink Babylon is shaking the nations, and the waves of the mighty commotion are dashing upon every shore. Is this, then, a time to remove foundations, when the earth itself is shaken? Is this a time to forfeit the protection of God, when the hearts of men are failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth? Is this a time to run upon his neck, and the thick bosses of his buckler, when the nations are drinking blood, and fainting, and passing away in his wrath? Is this a time to throw away the shield of faith, when his arrows are drunk with the blood of the slain; to cut from the anchor of hope, when the clouds are collecting, and the sea and the waves are roaring, and thunders are uttering their voices, and lightning’s blazing in the heavens, and the great hail is falling from heaven upon men, and every mountain, sea, and island is fleeing in dismay from the face of an incensed God?

5. The judgments of God which we feel, and those which impend, call for immediate repentance and reformation. Our country has never seen such a day as this.[1812] By our sins we are fitted to destruction. God has begun in earnest, his work, his strange work, of national desolation. For many years the ordinary gains of industry have, to a great extent, been cut off. The counsels of the nation have by one part of it been deemed infatuation, and by the other part oracular wisdom; while the action and reaction of parties have shaken our institutions to their foundations, debased our morals, and awakened animosities which expose us to dismemberment and all the horrors of civil war. But for all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. On our seaboard, are the alarms and the plagues of war. On our frontiers is heard the trumpet of alarm mingling with the war-whoop of the savage, and the cries and dying groans of murdered families. In the south, a volcano whose raging fires and murmuring thunders have long been suppressed, is now with loud admonition threatening an eruption. In the midst of these calamities the angel of God has received commission to unsheath his sword, and extend far and wide the work of death. The little child and the blooming youth, the husband and the wife, men of talents and usefulness, the ministers of the sanctuary and the members of the church of God, bow before the stroke, and sink to the grave. That dreadful tempest, the sound of which, till late, was heard only from afar as it was borne across the Atlantic, has at length begun to beat upon us, and those mighty burnings, the smoke of which we have hitherto beheld from afar, have begun in our nation their devouring course. Nothing can avert the tempest, and nothing can extinguish our burning, but repentance and reformation; for it is the tempest of the wrath of God, and the fire of his indignation.

6. Our advantages to achieve a reformation of morals are great, and will render our guilt and punishment proportionally aggravated, if we neglect to avail ourselves of them.

We are not yet undone. The harvest is not past; the summer is not ended. There is yet remaining much health and strength, in many parts of our land. This State especially, is by its laws thoroughly furnished to every good-.work. Let our laws be executed, and we may live for ever. Nor is their execution to be despaired of. In every town in the State the majority of the population are decidedly opposed, it is believed, to those immoral practices which our laws condemn. And in most towns, and societies, it is a small minority who corrupt with impunity the public morals. Let the friends of virtue, then, express their opinions, and unite their influence, and the laws can be executed. Crimes will become disgraceful, and the non-execution of the laws more hazardous to popularity than their faithful execution. The friends of good morals and good government, have it yet in their power to create a public opinion which nothing can resist.(1) The wicked are bold in appearance but they are cowards at heart; their threats and boasting are loud, but they are “vox et preterea nihil.” [“Mere noise and nothing else.”] God is against them— their own consciences are against them—the laws are against them—and let only the public opinion be arrayed against them, and five shall chase a thousand, and an hundred shall put ten thousand to flight.

It is not as if we were called upon to make new laws, and establish usages unknown before. We make no innovation. We embark in no novel experiment. We set up no new standard of morals. We encroach upon no man’s liberty. We lord it over no man’s conscience. We stand upon the defensive merely. We contend for our altars and our firesides. We rally around the standard which our fathers reared, and our motto is, ‘The Inheritance Which They BEQUEATHED, NO MAN SHALL TAKE FROM US.’ The executive, legislative, and judicial departments of the government are in the hands of men, who, w:e doubt not, will lend to the work of reformation their example, their prayers, their weight of character, official influence, and their active cooperation. And will not the clergy, and christian churches of all denominations array themselves on the side of good morals and the laws? Will they not like a band of brothers, and terrible to the wicked as an army with banners, contend earnestly for the precepts of the Gospel ?’ If with such means of self preservation, we pine away and die in our sins, we shall deserve to die; and our death will be dreadful.

7. But, were our advantages fewer than they are, the Lord will be on our side and will bless us, if we repent and endeavor to do our duty.

He commands us to repent and reform, and what he commands his people to do, he will help them to accomplish if they make the attempt. He has promised to help them.

He always has given efficacy, more or less, to the faithful exertions of men to do good. At the present time, in a peculiar manner does he smile upon every essay to do good. Not a finger is lifted in vain in any righteous cause, the result of every enterprise surpasses expectation, the grain of mustard becomes a tree, the little leaven, leavens the lump. The voice of providence now is, “In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy hand, for this and that shall both prosper.” The God in whose help we confide is also our fathers’ God, who remembers mercy to the thousandth generation of them that fear him, and keep his commandments. Within the broad circumference of this covenant we stand, and neither few nor obscure are the indications of his mercy in the midst of wrath.

8. The work of reformation is already, it may be hoped, auspiciously begun.

Though in some things there is a fearful declension of morals, which, if not arrested, will inevitably destroy us; yet, it ought to be gratefully acknowledged, that, in some respects, our moral state has for a considerable period been growing better. The progress of civilization and religion has softened the manners of the people, and banished to a great extent, that violence of passion which ended in broils and lawsuits. Those indecencies also, which too often polluted the intercourse of the sexes, and warred upon the best interests of society, have, to a great extent, given place to habits of refinement and virtue. Though at this time there be heresies, that they which are approved may be manifest; there has never been in this State, perhaps never in the nation, a more extensive prevalence of evangelical doctrine. Great efforts have been made also, and with signal success, to raise up a learned and pious ministry for the churches, from which, in time, a great reforming influence may be expected: for the morals of a nation will ever hold a close alliance with the talents and learning, the piety and orthodoxy, of its clergy. The number of pious persons has, in the course of fifteen years, been greatly increased, and has been attended with a more than correspondent increase of prayer. Those local weekly associations for prayer which are now spread over our land, are, most of them, of comparatively recent origin.

In perfect accordance with this increased spirit of prayer, has been the effusion of the Holy Spirit in the revival of religion. These revivals have been numerous, great, and glorious; and, blessed be God, they still prevail. Their reforming influence has been salutary beyond expression. Wherever they have existed, they have raised up the foundations of many generations. They have done more than all other -causes to arrest our general decline, and are this moment turning back the captivity of our land. The churches under their renovating influence, are beginning to maintain a more efficient discipline, and to superintend with more fidelity the religious education of their baptized children. The principles of infidel philosophy with respect to civil government, and the government and religious education of children, have it is hoped had their day, and are retiring to their own place, succeeded happily, by the maxims of revelation and common sense.

The missionary spirit which is beginning to pervade our land, promises also, an auspicious reforming influence. It teaches us to appreciate more justly our own religious privileges, and calls off the hearts of thousands from political and sectarian bickerings, to unite them in one glorious enterprise of love. Who, but the Lord our God, has created that extensive and simultaneous predisposition in the public mind, to favor a work of reformation? Who, in this day of clouds and tempest, has opened the eyes of the people to recognize their dependence upon God, and his avenging hand in the judgments which they feel, and turned their hearts to seek him to an unusual extent, by fasting, and humiliation, and prayer? Who, indeed, has poured out upon our land, a spirit of reformation as real, if not yet as universal, as the spirit of missions? The fact is manifest from the zeal of individuals, the reviving fidelity of magistrates in various places, the addresses of ecclesiastical bodies, and the formation of general and local associations to suppress crimes, and support the laws and institutions of our land.(2)

The Most High, then, has begun to help us. While his judgments are abroad, the nation is beginning to learn righteousness. These favorable circumstances do by no means supersede the necessity of special exertion; but they are joyful pledges that our labor shall not be in vain in the Lord. They are his providential voice, announcing that he is waiting to be gracious; and that, if we “hearken to him, he will soon subdue our enemies, and turn his hand against our adversaries; that the haters of the Lord shall submit themselves unto him, but that our time shall endure forever.” Therefore,

9. If we endure a little longer, the resources of the millennial day will come to our aid.

Many are the prophetic signs which declare the rapid approach of that day. Babylon the great is fallen. The false Prophet is hastening to perdition. That wicked one hath appeared, whom the Lord will destroy by the breath of his mouth and the brightness of his coming. The day of his vengeance is wasting the earth. The last vial of the wrath of God is running. The angel having the everlasting Gospel to preach to men, has begun his flight; and, with trumpet sounding long, and waxing loud, is calling to the nations to look unto Jesus and be saved. Soon will the responsive song be heard from every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, as the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying; hallelujah, for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

On the confines of such a day, shall we despair? While its blessed light is beginning to shine, shall we give up our laws and institutions, and sink down to the darkness and torments of the bottomless pit?

10. But considerations, before which the kingdoms of this, world fade and are forgotten, call us to instant exertion in the work of reformation.

Every one of us must stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Every one of us, as a friend, or an enemy, shall live under his government forever. We shall drink of the river of pleasure, or of the cup of trembling. We shall sing the song of Moses and the Lamb, or lift up our cries with the smoke of our torment. The institutions in danger, are the institutions of heaven, provided to aid us in fleeing from the wrath to come. The laws to be preserved, are laws which have lent their congenial influence to the immortal work of saving sinners. The welfare of millions through eternity, depends, under God, upon their preservation.

Ye parents—which of your children can you give up to the miseries of a profligate life, and the pangs of an impenitent death? Which, undone by your example, or negligence and folly, are you prepared to meet on the left hand of your Judge? Which, if by a miracle of mercy you should ascend to heaven, can you leave behind, to go away into everlasting punishment? Call around you the dear children whom God has given you, and look them o’er and o’er, and, if among them all you cannot find a victim to sacrifice, awake, and with all diligence uphold those institutions which the good shepherd has provided to protect and save them.

My fathers and brethren, who minister at the altar—the time is short. We mast soon meet our people at the bar of God; should we meet any of them undone by our example, or sloth, or unbelief, dreadful will be the interview! Shall we not lift up our voice as a trumpet, and do quickly, and with all our might, what our hands find to do?

Ye magistrates of a christian land, ye ministers of God for good—the people of this land, alarmed by the prevalence of crimes and by the judgments of God, look up to you for protection. By the glories and terrors of the judgment day, by the joys of heaven and the miseries of hell they beseech you, as the ministers of God, to save them and their children from the dangers of this untoward generation.

Ye men of wealth and influence—will ye not help in this great attempt to reform and save our land? Are not these distinctions, talents, for the employment of which you must give an account to God; and can you employ them better, than to consecrate them to the service of your generation by the will of God?

Let me entreat those unhappy men who haste to be rich by unlawful means, who thrive by the vices and ruin of their fellow men, to consider their end. How dreadful to you will be the day of death! How intolerable, the day of judgment! How many broken hearted widows, and fatherless children, will then lift up their voices to testify against you. How many of the lost spirits will ascend from the world of woe, to cry out against you, as the wretches who ministered to their lusts, and fitted them for destruction. In vain will you plead that if you had not done the murderous deed, other men would have done it; or that, if you had not destroyed them, they had still destroyed themselves. If other men had done the deed, they, and not you, would answer for it; if they had destroyed themselves without your agency, their blood would be upon their own heads. But as you contributed voluntarily to their destruction, you will be beholden as partakers in their sin, and their blood will be required at your hands. Why, then, will you” traffic in the souls and bodies of men, and barter away your souls for the gains of a momentary life?

To conclude; Let me entreat the unhappy men who are the special objects of legal restraint, to cease from their evil ways, and, by voluntary reformation, supersede the necessity of coercion and punishment. Why will you die? What fearful thing is there in heaven, which makes you flee from that world? What fascinating object in hell, that excites such frenzied exertion to burst every band, and overleap every mound, and force your way downward to the chambers of death? Stop, I beseech you, and repent, and Jesus Christ shall blot out your sins, and remember your transgressions no more. Stop, and the host who follow your steps shall turn, and take hold on the path of life. Stop, and the wide waste of sin shall cease, and the song of angels shall be heard again; “Glory to God in the highest; on earth peace, good will to men.” Stop, and instead of wailing with the lost, you shall join the multitudes which no man can number, in the ascription of blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, to him that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever.

Footnotes:

(1) The writer has lived to see that a new moral power must be applied by sabbath schools, revivals of religion, and bible, tract, and missionary societies, before immoralities in a popular government can be suppressed by law.

(2) A society was formed in Boston, on the 5tb of February, 1813, entitled “The Massachusetts Society for the Suppression of Intemperance.” The object of the society is stated to be, ” to discountenance and suppress the too frequent use of ardent spirits, and its kindred vices, profaneness, and gaming; and to encourage and promote temperance, and general morality. With a view to this object, the society will recommend the institution of auxiliary societies in different parts of the commonwealth; and hold correspondence with other societies which may be instituted for the same general object.

“Besides the usual officers of a society, there is a board of counsel consisting of eight persons, which is to act as the executive of the society, to make communications to the auxiliary societies, and to receive communications from them; to collect, combine, and digest facts, and general information, relating to the purposes of the society; to devise ways and means for the furtherance of these purposes; to apply the society’s funds according to direction; and, at each annual meeting, to report to the society their doings, a digest of the facts, and general information which they may have collected, and such measures as they may judge suitable for the society to adopt and pursue. They shall hold stated quarterly meetings.” —Panoptic for February, 1813. pp. 418, 419, 42

Of Rebellion: Observations on the Boston Port-Bill by John Q. Adams 1774

JohnQuincyAdamsQuotesAmericans

Of Rebellion; Resistance to Oppression:

To complain of the enormities of power, to expostulate with over-grown oppressors, hath in all ages been denominated sedition and faction; and to turn upon tyrants, treason and rebellion. But tyrants are rebels against the first laws of Heaven and society: to oppose their ravages is an instinct of nature, the inspiration of God in the heart of man. In the noble resistance which mankind make to exorbitant ambition and power, they always feel that divine afflatus which, paramount to everything human, causes them to consider the Lord of Hosts as their leader, and his angels as fellow soldiers. Trumpets are to them joyful sounds, and the ensigns of war the banners of God. Their wounds are bound up in the oil of a good cause; sudden death is to them present martyrdom, and funeral obsequies resurrections to eternal honour and glory, — their widows and babes being received into the arms of a compassionate God, and their names enrolled among David’s worthies: greatest losses are to them greatest gains; for they leave the troubles of their warfare to lie down on beds of eternal rest and felicity.

There are other parts of the Act now before us which merit notice, particularly that relative to the prosecution of suits in the ordinary courts of law, ” for anything done in pursuance of the Act;” by which the defendant is enabled ” to plead the general issue, and give the Act, and the general matter, in evidence;” whereupon it follows that, “if it shall appear so to have been done, the jury shall find for the defendant,” who, by an after clause, is to ” recover treble costs.” From this passage some have been led to conclude that the appearance of this matter was to be to the judge; and that if it had that appearance to him, and he should direct the jury accordingly, however it might appear to the jury, they must follow the directions of the judge, and acquit the defendant. But this is a construction which, as the words do not necessarily carry that meaning, I will not permit myself to suppose the design of the law. However, the late donations of large salaries by the crown to the justices of our superior courts, who are nominated by the Governor, and hold their commission durante beneplacito, have not a little contributed to the preceding apprehension.

Another passage makes provision for “assigning and appointing such and so many open places, quays, and wharfs, within the said harbour, creeks, havens, and islands, for the landing, discharging, lading, and shipping of goods, as His Majesty, his heirs, or successors, shall judge necessary and expedient;” and also for “appointing such and so many officers of the customs therein as His Majesty shall think fit; after which, it shall be lawful for any person or persons to lade or put off from, or to discharge and land upon, such wharfs, quays, and places, so appointed within the said harbour, and none other, any goods, wares, and merchandise whatsoever.” By which the property of many private individuals is to be rendered useless, and worse than useless, as the possession of a thing aggravates the misfortune of those who are deprived of a capacity to enjoy. But if the property of some few is to be rendered nothing worth, so that of many others is to be openly invaded. But why should we dwell upon private wrongs, while those of the multitude call for all our attention?

If any should now say, we are a commercial people, commercial plans can only save us; if any think that the ideas of the merchant are at this day to give spring to our nerves and vigour to our actions; if any say that empire in this age of the world is only founded in commerce, let him show me the people emancipated from oppression by commercial principles and measures. let him point me that unexplored land where trade and slavery flourish together, Till then, I must hold a different creed; and believe that though commercial views may not be altogether unprofitable, that though commercial plans may do much, they never can do all. With regard, then, to how much the merchant, the artificer, the citizen, and the husbandman may do, let us no longer differ. But let everyone apply his strength and abilities to that mighty burden which, unless removed, must crush us all. Americans have one common interest to unite them: that interest must cement them. Natural allies, they have published to the world professions of reciprocal esteem and confidence, aid and assistance; they have pledged their faith of mutual friendship and alliance. Not only common danger, bondage, and disgrace, but national truth and honour, conspire to make the colonists resolve to — stand or fall together.

Americans never were destitute of discernment; they have never been grossly deficient in virtue. A small share of sagacity is now needful to discover the insidious art of our enemies; the smallest spark of virtue will on this occasion kindle into flame.

Will the little temporary advantage held forth for delusion seduce them from their duty? Will they not evidence at this time how much they despise the commercial bribe of a British ministry; and testify to the world that they do not vail to the most glorious of the ancients, in love of freedom and sternness of virtue? But as to the inhabitants of this Province, how great are the number, how weighty the considerations to actuate their conduct? Not a town in this colony but have breathed the warmest declarations of attachment to their rights, union in their defence, and perseverance to the end. Should any one maritime town (for more than one I will not believe there can be), allured by the expectations of gain, refuse to lend their aid; entertaining the base idea of building themselves upon the ruins of this metropolis, and, in the chain of future events, on the destruction of all America, — what shall we say? — hours of bitter reflection will come, when their own feelings shall excite consideration; when remembrance of the past, and expectation of the future, shall fill up the measure of their sorrow and anguish. But I turn from the idea, which blasts my country with infamy, my species with disgrace.

The intelligent reader must have noticed that, through the whole of the Act of Parliament, there is no suggestion that the East India Company had made any demand for damage done to their property: if the company supposed they had received injury, it doth not appear whom they consider as guilty, and much less that they had alleged any charge against the town of Boston. But I presume that if that company were entitled to receive a recompense from the town, until they prosecuted their demand they are supposed to waive it. And we cannot but imagine that this is the first instance where Parliament hath ordered one subject to pay a satisfaction to another, when the party aggrieved did not appear to make his regular claim; and much more uncommon is it for such recompense to be ordered without ascertaining the amount to which the satisfaction shall extend.

But if the East India Company were now made easy, and Boston reduced to perfect silence and humiliation, how many “others” are there who would suggest that they ” suffered by the riots and insurrections abovementioned,” and demand “reasonable satisfaction” therefore. The singular texture, uncertainty, looseness, and ambiguity of this phrase in the statute seems so calculated for dispute, such an eternal bar to a full compliance with the requisitions of the Act, and of course to render permanent its evils, that I cannot speak upon the subject without trespassing upon those bounds of respect and decency, within the circle of which I have endeavoured to move.

Here, waiving further particular consideration of that subject which gave origin to this performance, I shall proceed to an equally interesting subject, — that of standing armies and civil society.

The faculty of intelligence may be considered as the first gift of God: its due exercise is the happiness and honour of man; its abuse, his calamity and disgrace. The most trifling duty is not properly discharged without the exertion of this noble faculty; yet how often does it lie dormant, while the highest concernments are in issue? Believe me, my countrymen, the labor of examining for ourselves, or great imposition must be submitted to; there is no other alternative: and, unless we weigh and consider what we examine, little benefit will result from research. We are at this extraordinary crisis called to view the most melancholy events of our day: the scene is unpleasant to the eye, but its contemplation will be useful, if our thoughts terminate with judgment, resolution, and spirit, worst and most unprofitable of the species. Against this exertion, and the principle which originates it. no vigilance can be too sharp, no determination too severe.

If at this period of public affairs, we do not think, deliberate, and determine like men, — men of minds to conceive, hearts to feel, and virtue to act, — what are we to do? — to gaze upon our bondage? While our enemies throw about firebrands, arrows, and death, and play their tricks of desperation with the gambols of sport and wantonness.

The proper object of society and civil institutions is the advancement of “the greatest happiness of the greatest number.” The people (as a body, being never interested to injure themselves, and uniformly desirous of the general welfare) have ever made this collective felicity the object of their wishes and pursuit. But, strange as it may seem, what the many through successive ages have desired and sought, the few have found means to baffle and defeat. The necessity of the acquisition hath been conspicuous to the rudest mind; but man, inconsiderate that “in every society there is an effort constantly tending to confer on one part the height of power, and to reduce the other to the extreme of weakness and misery,” hath abandoned the most important concerns of civil society to the caprice and control of those whose elevation caused them to forget their pristine equality, and whose interest urged them to degrade the best and most useful below the worst and most unprofitable of the species. Against this exertion, and the principle which originates it, no vigilance can be too sharp, no determination too severe.

But alas! as if born to delude and be deluded, to believe whatever is taught, and bear all that is imposed, successive impositions, wrongs, and insults awaken neither the sense of injury nor spirit of revenge. Fascinations and enchantments, chain and fetters, bind in adamant the understanding and passions of the human race. Ages follow ages, pointing the way to study wisdom; but the charm continues.

Sanctified by authority and armed with power, error and usurpation bid defiance to truth and right, while the bulk of mankind sit gazing at the monster of their own creation, — a monster, to which their follies and vices gave origin, and their depravity and cowardice continue in existence.

“The greatest happiness of the greatest number” being the object and bond of society, the establishment of truth and justice ought to be the basis of civil policy and jurisprudence. But this capital establishment can never be attained in a state where there exists a power superior to the civil magistrate, and sufficient to control the authority of the laws. Whenever, therefore, the profession of arms becomes a distinct order in the state, and a standing army part of the constitution, we are not scrupulous to affirm that the end of the social compact is defeated, and the nation called to act upon the grand question consequent upon such an event.

The people who compose the society (for whose security the labour of its institution was performed, and of the toils its preservation daily sustained), — the people, I say, are the only competent judges of their own welfare, and therefore are the only suitable authority to determine touching the great end of their subjection and their sacrifices. This position leads us to two others, not impertinent on this occasion, because of much importance to Americans: —

That the legislative body of the commonwealth ought to deliberate, determine, and make their decrees in places where the legislators may easily know from their own observation the wants and exigencies, the sentiments and will, the good and happiness of the people; and the people as easily know the deliberations, motives, designs, and conduct of their legislators, before their statutes and ordinances actually go forth and take effect; —

That every member of the legislature ought himself to be so far subject in his person and property to the laws of the state as to immediately and effectually feel every mischief and inconvenience resulting from all and every act of legislation.

The science of man and society, being the most extended in its nature, and the most important in its consequences, of any in the circle of erudition, ought to be an object of universal attention and study. Was it made so, the rights of mankind would not remain buried for ages under systems of civil and priestly hierarchy, nor social felicity overwhelmed by lawless domination.

Under appearances the most venerable and institutions the most revered, under the sanctity of religion, the dignity of government, and the smiles of beneficence, does the subtle and ambitious make their first encroachments upon their species. Watch and oppose ought therefore to be the motto of mankind. A nation in its best estate — guarded by good laws, fraught with public virtue, and steeled with martial courage — may resemble Achilles; but Achilles was wounded in the heel. The least point left unguarded, the foe enters: latent evils are the most dangerous; for we often receive the mortal wound while we are flattered with security.

The experience of all ages shows that mankind are inattentive to the calamities of others, careless of admonition, and with difficulty roused to repel the most injurious invasions. “I perceive,” said the great patriot Cicero to his countrymen, “an inclination for tyranny in all Caesar projects and executes.” Notwithstanding this friendly caution, not” till it was too late did the people find out that no beginnings, however small, are to be neglected.”  For that Caesar, who at first attacked the commonwealth with mines, very soon opened his batteries. Encroachments upon the rights and property of the citizen are like the rollings of mighty waters over the breach of ancient mounds,— slow and unalarming at the beginning; rapid and terrible in the current; a deluge and devastation at the end. Behold the oak, which stretcheth itself to the mountains, and overshadows the valleys, was once an acorn in the bowels of the earth. Slavery, my friends, which was yesterday engrafted among you, already overspreads the land, extending its arms to the ocean and its limbs to the rivers. Unclean and voracious animals, under its covert, find protection and food; but the shade blasteth the green herb, and the root thereof poisoneth the dry ground, while the winds which wave its branches scatter pestilence and death.

Regular government is necessary to the preservation of private property and personal security. Without these, men will descend into barbarism, or at best become adepts in humiliation and servility; but they will never make a progress in literature or the useful arts. Surely a proficiency in arts and sciences is of some value to mankind, and deserves some consideration. What regular government can America enjoy with a legislative a thousand leagues distant, unacquainted with her exigencies, militant in interest, and unfeeling of her calamities? What protection of property, when ministers under this authority shall overrun the land with mercenary legions? What personal safety, when a British administration (such as it now is, and corrupt as it may be) pour armies into the capital and senate-house, point their artillery against the tribunal of justice, and plant weapons of death at the posts of our doors?

Thus exposed to the power, and insulted by the arms! All this, and much more, hath Boston been witness to of Britain, standing armies become an object of serious attention. And, as the history of mankind affords no instance of successful and confirmed tyranny without the aid of military forces, we shall not wonder to find them the desiderata of princes, and the grand object of modern policy. What though they subdue every generous passion, and extinguish every spark of virtue, all this must be done, before empires will submit to be exhausted by tribute and plundered with impunity.

Amidst all the devices of man to the prejudice of his species, the institution of which we treat hath proved the most extensively fatal to religion, morals, and social happiness. Founded in the most malevolent dispositions of the human breast, disguised by the policy of state, supported by the lusts of ambition, the sword hath spread havoc and misery throughout the world. By the aid of mercenary troops, the sinews of war, the property of the subject, the life of the Commonwealth, have been committed to the hands of hirelings, whose interest and very existence depend on an abuse of their power. In the lower class of life, standing armies have introduced brutal debauchery and real cowardice; in the higher orders of state, venal haughtiness and extravagant dissipation. In short, whatever are the concomitants of despotism, whatever the appendages of oppression, this armed monster hath spawned or nurtured, protected or established, — monuments and scourges of the folly and turpitude of man.

The TEA Party Patriots: Are They The New Whig Party?

Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859)

Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859)

Whig Party: It seems to me that when I look back on our history I can discern a great party which has, through many generations, preserved its identity; a party often depressed, never extinguished; a party which, though often tainted with the faults of the age, has always been in advance of the age; a party which, though guilty of many errors and some crimes, has the glory of having established our civil and religious liberties on a firm foundation: and of that party I am proud to be a member. It was that party which on the great question of monopolies stood up against Elizabeth. It was that party which in the reign of James the First organized the earliest parliamentary opposition, which steadily asserted the privileges of the people, and wrested prerogative after prerogative from the Crown. It was that party which forced Charles the First to relinquish the ship-money. It was that party which destroyed the Star Chamber and the High Commission Court. It was that party which, under Charles the Second, carried the Habeas Corpus Act, which effected the Revolution, which passed the Toleration Act, which broke the yoke of a foreign Church in your country, and which saved Scotland from the fate of unhappy Ireland. It was that party which reared and maintained the constitutional throne of Hanover against the hostility of the Church and of the landed aristocracy of England. It was that party which opposed the war with America and the war with the French Republic ; which imparted the blessings of our free Constitution to the Dissenters; and which, at a later period, by unparalleled sacrifices and exertions, extended the same blessings to the Roman Catholics. To the Whigs of the seventeenth century we owe it that we have a House of Commons. To the Whigs of the nineteenth century we owe it that the House of Commons has been purified. The abolition of the slave-trade, the abolition of colonial slavery, the extension of popular education, the mitigation of the rigour of the penal code, all, all were effected by that party; and of that party, I repeat, I am a member. I look with pride on all that the Whigs have done for the cause of human freedom and of human happiness. I see them now hard pressed, struggling with difficulties, but still fighting the good fight. At their head I see men who have inherited the spirit and the virtues, as well as the blood, of old champions and martyrs of freedom. To those men I propose to attach myself. Delusion may triumph; but the triumphs of delusion are but for a day. We may be defeated; but our principles will gather fresh strength from defeats. Be that, however, as it may, my part is taken. While one shred of the old banner is flying, by that banner will I at least be found.

Lord Macaulay:
Speech at Edinburgh Election, 29 May, 1839.

It was also the Whigs in America that fought for our Freedoms and Liberty in the Revolutionary War.

Abraham: In Search of Public Virtue; A Warning to America by Richard Price

RichardPriceAmerica

THE following discourse was composed in some haste, and without any particular attention to the stile; and it is now published, with the addition of a few Notes, partly in compliance with the request of some who heard it and, partly, because it has been misrepresented. The notice which the author has taken of public measures, is such as came necessarily in his way in discussing the subject he had chosen, and in considering the present state of the kingdom. This, however, is the first time in which he has entered into politics in the pulpit, and, perhaps, it may be the last.

G E N. 18: 32.

And he said, O let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once. Peradventure ten Shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.

YOU must all of you recollect that these words are represented as addressed to the Deity by the Patriarch Abraham, when he was interceding with him for the city of Sodom. There can scarcely be a more affecting representation; and it is not possible that on the present occasion, I should speak to you on a more proper subject. The calamity by which Sodom and the whole country round it was destroyed, is one of the most ancient as well as the most tremendous events, of which we have any account in history. We have a particular relation of it in the 19th chapter of this book of Genesis; and, throughout all the subsequent parts of scripture, it is referred to, and held forth as an example and a warning to other countries.—Thus in Jude we read, that Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them, had been set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire; that is, a fire which totally consumed them, and which appeared to be even still burning, and would probably burn till the end of the world. So likewise in the prophecy of Jeremiah, the 50th chapter and 40th verse, it is said that Babylon should no more be inhabited for ever; and that as God had overthrown. Sodom and Gomorrah, and the neighboring cities, so should Babylon be overthrown. And in Deuteronomy the 29th and 23d, the prophetical denunciation against the children of Israel is, that if they forsook the Lord, and served other gods, their land should be turned into brimstone and salt and burning, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah. And in Luke 17 and 28th and following verses, our Lord, in admonishing his disciples to vigilance, directs them to think of the security and carelessness of the inhabitants of Sodom, before God rained fire and brimstone from Heaven, and destroyed them all. It is in allusion also to this event, that in the Revelation (ch. 19:20, and 21: 8.) the future extirpation of anti-christian delusion,, and of the workers of iniquity, is expressed by their being cast into a lake burning with fire and brimstone.

That part of the land of Judea, where these devoted cities stood, was rich and fertile above all the other parts of Judea. In Genesis, chap. 13 we are told that when Lot separated from Abraham, he looked over all the plain of Jordan, and saw that it was well watered everywhere, before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. This induced great numbers of people to settle in this part of Judea; and, particularly, it engaged Lot and his family to settle here. It was an extensive plain, bounded to the east and west by very high mountains, about seventy-two miles in length and eighteen in breadth. Here several cities were built, the principal of which were Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim and Zoar. The causes that produced the richness of the soil, and crowded this country with inhabitants, were such as at the same time produced a corruption of manners, and rendered its ruin unavoidable. The fertility of the soil proceeded from a warmth communicated to it by subterranean fires. And this, probably, joined to the ease and indulgences arising from a rich soil, contributed to enflame the passions of the inhabitants, and to render them so infamous as we are told they were for wickedness. But while they were rioting in voluptuousness, there was a dreadful enemy working below them, which had been destined by Divine justice to destroy them. The sun being risen upon the earth (as the history tells us) one morning; and Lot and his family (the only righteous persons left) having escaped by Divine direction, the flames burst forth, the whole country sunk at once, and water took its place. The Scriptures call this event God’s raining down from Heaven fire and brimstone. The truth is, that it was an event of the same kind with many that have happened since; or an eruption of liquid fire from the bowels of the earth, like the eruptions from volcanoes, attended with thunder and lightning and earthquakes. So shocking, in this instance, was the catastrophe, that a country, before one of the richest and best peopled in the world, was in one hour converted into a smoking lake, which has been ever since called the Asphaltic (1) lake, or the Dead Sea. The river Jordan had run through this country; but ever since it has discharged itself into this lake, and lost itself in it. Its water is salt and nauseous in the highest degree. Columns of smoke are seen at certain times to rise from it; and it is said, that in some parts of it ruins of buildings may still be seen [See Mr. Maundrell’s Travels, page 84, 85]. Profane historians, as well as the scriptures, bear witness to the calamity which befell these cities. Tacitus says, “that where “the Dead Sea now is, there were formerly fruitful fields and large cities, which were afterwards consumed by thunder and lightning.[Tacit. Hist. Lib. v. cap. 6] Josephus says, that the things which are related of Sodom are confirmed by ocular inspection, there being still visible relics of the fire sent from Heaven, and the shadows of the five cities. [Jos. deBell. Jud. Lib. iv. cap, 8]  In the book of Wisdom (10th chapter and 7th verse) it is said of the inhabitants of Sodom, that the waste land which yet smoketh, and the plants bearing fruit that never come to ripeness, bear testimony to their wickedness.

But it is most to my present purpose to give you an account of the notice which, in the verse before my text, the Deity is represented as giving to Abraham of his intention to destroy Sodom, and the intercession which Abraham is represented as making for Sodom. In the 17th verse, Jehovah is described as saying, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing whisk which I do? seeing that in him all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; and I know him that he will command his children, and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment. In the 22d verse we are told that Abraham drew near and said, Wilt thou destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous persons within the city: Wilt thou not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked. Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?—And Jehovah said, If I find in Sodom, fifty righteous, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.—And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak to the Lord, who am but dust and ashes. Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: Wilt thou destroy all the city for the lack of five?—And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.—And Abraham spoke yet again and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there.—And the Lord said, I will not destroy it for the sake of forty.—And Abraham said again, O let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak. Peradventure there shall be thirty found there.—And the Lord said, I will not destroy it if I find thirty there.— And Abraham said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord. Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for the sake of twenty.—And Abraham said, O let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once. . . Peradventure ten shall be found there. And the Lord said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.

Such is the account in this chapter. I suppose there is no occasion for telling you, that it is not to be understood, that there was on this occasion exactly such a dialogue as this between Abraham and the Governor of the World. It is, I apprehend, a kind of parabolical representation, contrived to impress our minds, and to convey, after the manner of the oriental nations in ancient times, a more distinct and forcible instruction. Indeed, the whole account in this and the next chapter of the appearance of Jehovah to Abraham, of Abraham’s intercession, of Jehovah’s replies, of his promise to spare Sodom had there been found in it but ten righteous persons, and of the extraordinary care which was taken, by the interposition of heavenly messengers, to provide for the deliverance of righteous Lot; I say, this whole account is adapted, with the most striking propriety and energy, to convey to our minds some of the most useful and important lessons. It is, without doubt, founded on real facts, the manner only of telling these facts being to be considered as disguised and veiled by a mixture of allegory. Nor should we at all wonder at such a manner of relating facts, did we know how the ancients wrote history, or by what methods the memory of important events was preserved and transmitted from one generation to another before the invention of letters.

The remarks I have now made mould be attended to in reading many of the other accounts in this book of Genesis; and particularly those of the Creation, the Fall, and the Deluge.—But waving all observations of this kind, I would take occasion from the account I have read, to desire you to consider a circumstance in the scripture history which is very remarkable, and which distinguishes it from all other histories; I mean, the tendency which it has to display the justice and spotless holiness of the Deity, as the moral governor of the world. Other histories carry our views no higher than second causes, or the natural means by which events are produced; but this history constantly and uniformly carries our views to the first cause, and leads us to conceive of the providence of God as guiding the course of nature, and of his love of righteousness, and hatred of iniquity, as the springs of all the blessings enjoyed by nations, and of all the calamities which befall them. Thus, in the present instance, we are taught distinctly that the cause of the destruction of Sodom was the anger of the Deity against the inhabitants for their wickedness; and we are further led to form the most lively ideas of this truth, by being acquainted that had there been in it but ten righteous persons it would have been saved. The natural Causes which produced its destruction would, in” this case, either never have existed, or their operations would have been so directed as to suspend or prevent the calamity they produced. Nothing certainly can be more unreasonable, than to conclude that because an event has been brought about by natural means, therefore the hand of God has not been in it; or that, because we can trace the blessings and the sufferings of beings to certain powers, which are their immediate causes, therefore they can be under no direction from the moral government of the first and supreme cause, A little philosophy may incline a person to this conclusion; but a deep insight into philosophy, and’ an enlarged view of the laws and constitution of nature, will convince us of the contrary. Irreligion and atheism must be derived from miserable inattention and ignorance. True knowledge will necessarily make us devout, and force us to acknowledge that God is the cause of all causes, that his power is the source of all efficacy in nature, and his righteous providence the guide of all that happens.

But to return to the remark which occasioned these observations.—The Scriptures, I have said, direct us to conceive of God’s love of righteousness and aversion to wickedness, as the principles which influence him in determining the fates of kingdoms. He regards communities with particular favor, on account of the number of virtuous persons in them; and he gives them up to Calamity, only when this number is so inconsiderable as not to afford a sufficient reason for saving them. In such circumstances, or when virtuous men are very scarce among a people, they become, as this history teaches us, a devoted people, and they fall a prey to dreadful calamities and judgments.

But we are farther taught by this history, that when a people for their iniquities are visited with judgments, particular care will be taken of such righteous persons as may be left among them. This care will be different in different circumstances; but it will be always, such as will produce an infinite difference between them and the wicked part of a community. Sometimes it may extend so far as even to provide for their temporal security and happiness. When the country, to which they belong, comes to be devoted, they may perhaps be conducted by the hand of Providence to a region of peace and safety, where they shall escape the general desolation. Such was the privilege granted to Lot and his family. He was taken from Sodom, lest he should be consumed in its iniquity. Gen. 19, 15. And it is remarkable, that the messengers of Divine vengeance are represented as so anxious about his safety, that when he lingered, they laid hold of his hand and pulled him away, saying, as we read in the 5th verse, they could, do nothing till he was safe. How high an idea does this give us of God’s care of virtuous men in a time of public calamity? In merciful condescension to our low conceptions, he is described as not having power to destroy this wicked country while there remained in it one virtuous man.

But there is a circumstance in this account still more remarkable. The place to which Lot was allowed to fly was a little town in the plain of Sodom, afterward called Zoar, which was itself one of the five devoted cities, but is represented as spared on purpose to provide an asylum for Lot. His virtue could not weigh so much, or avail so far, as to save the country but, at the same time, such was the regard paid to it, that for the sake of it, a part of the country was preserved and given to Lot as a reward for his probity and piety in the midst of prevailing wickedness. As soon (we read) as he was safe lodged in this little city, the desolating tempest began, and all the country was swallowed up. Gen. 19th and 23d. When Lot entered into Zoar, Jehovah rained fire and brimstone from Heaven, and overthrew all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities. So precious is righteousness in the sight of Heaven; and such favorites with the Judge of all the earth are all who practice it. In conformity to the representation on which I am insisting we are led to conceive, that should there (in a time of public calamity) be no distant country provided by Providence, to which the righteous may fly, yet there may be some part of the devoted country itself spared on their account; and, that though their virtue may not avail so far as to prevent or suspend the effects of Divine resentment, yet it may render them less extensive and destructive.

You must, however, remember, that in the common course of things it is not to be expected, that in either of these ways God will manifest his care of the righteous. There may be no distant country to which they can fly, nor may an exemption for their sakes be proper of any part of the country to be destroyed and, therefore, it may be necessary they should remain in it, and share its fate. The present world, we know, the righteous often suffer with the wicked, and indiscriminate distress is permitted. In such circumstances, however, the Deity will still manifest himself a favorer and friend of the virtuous. The loss of worldly blessings will be made up to them by infinitely nobler blessings. Instead of that treasure on earth, which may be taken from them, they shall have a treasure in Heaven, and instead of a temporal, they shall be blest with an eternal deliverance. The distress, in which they may be obliged to share, will be alleviated to them by the reflection on their having done their part to save their country; by the unspeakable satisfaction attending the consciousness of their own integrity; by communications of grace and support to their souls; by a sense of God’s love to them; and the assured hope of an interest in his favor, and of a place under a government of perfect virtue and peace in the Heavens. These are springs of relief and felicity, which no calamities can destroy. They will communicate sweetness to the bitterest draughts and render distress an occasion of joy and triumph. The worst that any calamity can do to a good man, is to take from him that which he does not value. His proper happiness is always secure; and the enemy that tears him from this life removes him to a better. There full amends will be made to him for all those sufferings in which he may be involved by his connections with wicked men in the present state. It is, indeed, in the other world only that a perfect discrimination will be made between men, according to their different moral characters. It is there only that the wicked will cease from troubling, and the weary be at rest; the righteous receive an adequate reward, and the wicked an adequate punishment. Let us, amidst the shocking scenes to which we are witnesses in this world, keep our eyes fixed on that awful state of universal retribution; and never forget the period when (according to the assurance of our Savior) the wicked shall be severed from the just, and the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their father.

These reflections may help to give you an idea of the importance of righteous men in a kingdom, and of the favor that will be shown them. It is to them that states owe their preservation. It is on them that the very being of a society depends; and when they cease or are reduced to a very small number, a nation necessarily sinks into ruin. But when this happens, and the Supreme Governor visits a nation with judgments, his providence watches over them, and we may consider him as saying to them in the words of Isaiah, 26th chapter and 20th verse, Come ye into your chambers, and shut your doors. Hide yourselves for a little moment, till the indignation be overpast; for behold I come out of my place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity. Or we may apply to good men in such circumstances the words in the 91st Psalm, thou shalt not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flieth by day. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold the reward of the wicked. Because thou haft made the Lord thy refuge, there shall no evil befall thee. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him and shew him my salvation.—Behold, says the prophet Malachi, the day cometh that shall burn, as an oven, and all that do wickedly shall be stubble, the day cometh which shall burn them up, faith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name, shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings. Mal. 4; 1, 2.

I cannot close these remarks without observing, that the striking lesson on which I am insisting, is farther taught us in a very extraordinary manner, by the account given us in this book of Genesis of the universal deluge. There are undoubted proofs that such a calamity has happened. The whole face of nature, as well as universal tradition, bear witness to it. The history in Genesis represents it as an effect of God’s justice, or a judgment inflicted by him on mankind for their wickedness. All flesh (it tells us) was become corrupt, and the whole earth was filled with violence, insomuch that only Noah and his family were found righteous. Of this small remnant the Deity is represented as taking particular care, by forewarning them of the calamity, and directing an ark to be built for their preservation. Gen. 7:1. And the Lord said unto Noah, come thou and all thy house into the ark, for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. Thus was a whole world destroyed for the wickedness of its inhabitants, except one virtuous family, which was preserved in an ark, and selected from the rest of mankind to be the founders of a new race.

The warning and admonitions, which such accounts give, should engage us to love and to seek righteousness above all things. When we consider what it is, we cannot wonder that it stands so high in the estimation of the Deity. It is his image in our souls. It is the foundation of all honor and dignity. It is the order by which the universe subsists. God, therefore, must delight in those who practice it, and we may with reason expect that his favor will extend itself to their connections; and that, on their account, .their families, their friends, and their country will be blest. I have been showing you that the Sacred History strongly inculcates this upon us. God will pardon a guilty nation for the sake of the righteous in it, if they are not too few. So we read in Jer. v. i. Run ye through the streets of Jerusalem, and see in the broad places thereof if you can find any one who executeth judgment, and seeketh the truth, and I will pardon Jerusalem. I can scarcely set before you a properer motive to the practice of virtue. If you are virtuous, you may save your country, by engaging God’s favor to it. Do you then love your country? Have you any desire to be the means of preserving and blessing it? If you have, do all you can to increase the number of the virtuous in it; or, should you despair of success in this, resolve at least that you will unite yourselves to that number. Thus will you be your country’s best friends; make yourselves powerful intercessors with the Deity for it, and stand in the gap between it and calamity. But should wickedness become so prevalent as to render calamity necessary, though, in this case, your country must suffer, yet care will be taken of you. Perhaps, you may be directed to some means of escaping from the common ruin; and a Zoar, or an Ark, may be provided for you, from whence you may view the storm, and find yourselves safe. Methinks, the friends of truth and virtue may now look across the Atlantic, and entertain some such hope. But should there be no resource of this kind left, the righteous will at least find resources of infinite value in their own minds; in the testimony of a good conscience; in the consolations of Divine grace; and the prospect of that country where they shall possess an undefiled and incorruptible inheritance.

My inclinations would lead me to address you some time longer in this way. But I must hasten to some observations of a different kind. My principal design on this occasion was to set before you the chief particulars in the characters of those righteous men who are a blessing to their country; and to point out to you the necessary dependence of the salvation of a country on such characters. I shall now desire your attention to what I shall say on these heads.

With respect to the character of those righteous men, who are likely to save a country, I would observe, First, that they love their country and are zealous for its rights. They obey the laws of the legislature that protects them, contribute cheerfully to its support, and are solicitous, while they give to God the things that are God’s, to give also to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s,. They are, therefore, loyal subjects. That is, they do all they can to promote the good order of the state by complying with its laws, and bearing a constant and inviolable allegiance to it. This alone is genuine loyalty; and not any attachment to the persons of princes, arising from a notion of their sacredness. There cannot be any notion more stupid or debasing. The people are the fountain of all civil jurisdiction, and theirs is the true majesty in a state. There is no individual, who, as a member of any community, is more sacred than another, except as far as he is invested with the authority of the community, and employed in executing its will. Civil governors are, in the intention of nature and reason, the servants (2) of the public; and whenever, forgetting this, they imagine they possess inherent rights of dominion, and attempt to establish their own authority, and to govern by their own will, they become dangerous enemies; and all that is valuable to a state requires they should be opposed. The righteous citizen, therefore, whose character I am describing, at the same time that he is loyal, can have no notion of passive obedience and non-resistance. His duty obliges him to enquire into his rights, and to be jealous of them; to attend to the manner in which the trust of government is discharged; and to do his part towards keeping the springs of legislation pure, and checking the progress of oppression. Thus only can he prove himself a worthy and useful citizen (3). It is a sad mistake to think that private men have nothing to do with the administration of public affairs; that there are mysteries in civil government of which they are not judges; and that, instead of ever complaining, it is their duty always to yield and follow. This is the same with saying that in every community the body of the people are only a herd of cattle, made to be led and disposed of as their owners please. Had such a vile principle been always acted upon, there would now have been no such thing as a free government upon earth, and every human right would have been overwhelmed under an universal and savage despotism.—It is thus, that in Religion, a set of holy usurpers have pretended that there are mysteries in religion of which the people are not judges, and into which they mould not enquire and that, for this reason, they ought to resign to them the direction of their faith and consciences. It would be a disgrace to virtue to suppose that it requires an acquiescence in such insolent claims; or that it is a part of the character of a righteous man that he is always ready to crouch to every tyrant, and never exercises his own judgment, or shows any sense of his own dignity as a rational creature and a freeman. Away with all such degrading and miserable sentiments. Let us remember that we are men and not cattle; that the sovereignty in every country belongs to the people; and that a righteous man is the best member of every community, and the best friend to his species, by being the most irreconcilable to slavery, the most sensible to every encroachment on the rights of mankind, the most zealous for equal and universal liberty, and the most active in endeavoring to propagate just sentiments of religion and government. In short, a virtuous man must be a firm and determined patriot. Power cannot awe him. Money cannot bribe him. He scruples no labor or expense in supporting any necessary measures of government; but at the same time he will resist any oppressive measures. If he is an elector, he is sure to give an uninfluenced and honest vote. If he is a magistrate, he is strictly just and impartial, a terror to evil doers, and a praise to all who do well. If he is a senator, he is uncorrupt and faithful. In every station he studies to promote the peace and prosperity of his country. He possesses integrity to assist in directing its councils, and courage to defend its honor and to fight its battles against all enemies.

Such is a righteous man in his public capacity, or as a member of a state. I must go on to observe that in his private capacity he practices every private and social virtue. He is industrious in his calling, upright in his dealings, and true to his engagements. He is a good husband, a good parent, a good neighbor, and a good friend, as well as a good citizen. Within the circle of his family and acquaintance, he maintains the same regard to equity and liberty, that he does in the more extended circle of his fellow subjects and fellow men. He renders to all their dues, honor to whom honor, custom to whom custom, and always acts to others as he desires that others would act to him. He is charitable and generous, as far as his abilities reach; but he avoids all parade and ostentation; and fixes his expenses below his income, that he may enjoy that happy independence which will place him above temptation. In every transaction of commerce, his fairness may be depended on. In the execution of every trust he is exact and faithful. He shuns all the excesses of pleasure and voluptuousness, never suffers his passions to carry him beyond the bounds of chastity and temperance, and within the enclosure of his own breast, where only one eye observes him, he is as just, and fair, and candid, as he appears to be on the open stage of the world.

Once more, He is conscientious and diligent in the discharge of all the duties of religion. This is the crowning part of his character. It is religion that gives dignity and efficacy to all our moral and public principles; nor is it possible there should be a consistent character of virtue without it. A virtuous man, therefore, must be a religious man. He worships God in private, in his family, and in public. He is governed in his whole conduct by a regard to the Deity; looks to him in all that happens; and joins constantly with his fellow-creatures in those social exercises of piety, which are the proper expressions of the homage and fealty which he owes to him as the Supreme Governor and Judge.

I will on this subject only add that the three particulars I have named are inseparable in a righteous character. Public virtue cannot subsist without private; nor can public and private virtue subsist without religion. As a truly virtuous and religious man must be a patriot, so a true patriot must be a virtuous and religious man. The obligations of righteousness are the same in all their branches, and a righteous man cannot violate them habitually in any instance Is it likely, that a man who is false to private engagements, will not be also false to public ones; or that a man, who, in his family is a tyrant, will not be likewise a tyrant as a magistrate? Is it likely that a man, who has given up to his passions his internal liberty, should be a true friend to liberty; or that a man, who will cheat his tradesmen or betray his friends, will not give a wicked vote, and betray his country? Can you imagine that a spendthrift in his own concerns will make an economist in managing the concerns of others; that a wild gamester will take due care of the stake of a kingdom; or that an unprincipled debauchee will make an upright judge or a sound statesman? Can a man who shows no regard to God his Maker, or to Christ his Savior; who is such an enemy to society as to neglect countenancing, by his example, those forms of worship on which the order of society depends; and so void of the fundamental principles of goodness, as to be capable of being habitually atheistical in his conduct: Can, I say, such a person possess any great regard for the interests of society?—Let us reject all such absurd imaginations. Treachery, venality and villainy must be the effects of dissipation, voluptuousness and impiety. These vices sap the foundations of virtue (4). They render men necessitous and supple, and ready at any time to sacrifice their consciences, or to fly to a court, in order to repair a mattered fortune, and procure supplies for prodigality. Let us remember these truths in judging of men. Let us consider that true goodness is uniform and consistent; and learn never to place any great confidence in those pretenders to public spirit, who are not men of virtuous characters. They may boast of their attachment to a public cause, but they want the living root of persevering virtue, and should not be depended on.

Having given you this account of righteous men, I am next to take notice of the causes which produce that dependence, intimated in my text, of the fate of a country on such men. This dependence is derived, first, from the natures of things. Such men are the health and vigor of a state. They are the order that preserve it from anarchy, and the vital springs which give it life and motion. When they are withdrawn, a nation as necessarily falls into ruin as a building falls when its pillars are destroyed, or as an animal body putrefies when the fluids stagnate, and the animal functions cease to be performed.—There is a distant country, once united to us, where every inhabitant has in his house (as a part of his furniture) a book on law and government [the Bible], to enable him to understand his civil rights; a musket to enable him to defend these rights; and a Bible to enable him to understand and practice his religion.—What can hurt such a country?—We have invaded, and for some time have been endeavoring to subdue this country. Is it any wonder that we have not succeeded? How secure must it be, while it preserves its virtue, against all attacks?

But Secondly; the dependence of states on the virtuous men in it is not only thus derived from the necessary course and operations of causes and effects, but from the positive will of the Deity. There is an invisible and almighty power which over-rules the operations of natural causes, and presides over all events. This power is a righteous power, and it must be friendly to the righteous; and therefore, will direct events for the advantage of the country where they reside. In consequence of the particular favor of God to them, and his delight in them, they stay his hand when lifted up to scourge a nation and we may consider him as saying, in the words already quoted, Gen. 19: 22, I cannot do anything till you are gone.

I am in danger of being too tedious on this subject. Nothing now remains but that I conclude with briefly applying the whole to the present state of this country.

On this occasion, I feel myself much at a loss how to address you, not knowing whether I should do it in the way of encouragement or despair. When I think of this congregation; when I recollect the many worthy persons among my acquaintance and friends; and consider what multitudes more there must be that I can never know, and in situations where perhaps I should not expect to find them—when I make only such reflections, I feel comfort, and am disposed to conclude, that all may be well, and that the number of the virtuous among us is still considerable enough to save us.

But when I extend my views, and look abroad into the world; when I consider the accounts I am often hearing of the court, the camp, and the senate, and the profligacy [shamelessly immoral or debauched] that prevails almost everywhere; I fall back into diffidence [meekness, humility], and am ready to believe there is no room for hope. . There are, it is true, among all our parties, political and religious, many excellent characters still left; but the comfort they give me is damped by the following considerations.

First; They are a smaller number than they were. Public and private virtue has been for some time declining. Never, perhaps, was there a time when men showed so little regard to decency in their vices, or were so shameless in their venality and debaucheries. When men are wanted for the business of any department of the state, do you ever find that only honest men are sought for; or that it is, on such an occasion, any objecting to a man that he scoffs at religion, or that he is known to be a drunkard, a gamester, an adulterer, or an atheist? What vacancies would be made in public offices, were all but men of pure manners and independent integrity taken from them?

As to Religion, nothing is plainer than that it was never at so low an ebb, Even among Protestant Non-conformists, the places of worship are almost deserted. In this great metropolis, several of our best congregations have sunk to nothing. Many are sinking, and few flourish. Our religious zeal is dying; and the most valuable part of the dissenting interest is likely soon to be ground to death between enthusiasm on the one hand, and luxury and fashion on the other.

But Secondly; Another discouraging circumstance in our present state is, that a considerable part of the righteous themselves, or of that description of men to whom we must look for the salvation of the kingdom, are only nominally righteous. They are a smaller number than they were; and of this number many are false and hollow. Nothing, indeed, is more discouraging, than to find that a man has been secretly wicked, who, for many years, has carried with him every appearance of the strictest probity and piety. We are all of us often making discoveries of this kind; and they have a tendency to destroy in us all confidence in our fellow-creatures. Take away from the honest men all that are dishonest, and from the religious men all the hypocrites, and what a melancholy reduction will be made of a party, which, without such a reduction, would be too small?—Among the persons to whom it is natural for us to look for the defense of our country, are those in high life, and among our senators, who have taken up the cry of public liberty and virtue, and oppose the oppressions of power. They seem, indeed,, a glorious band; and it is impossible not to admire their zeal. But alas! How often have we been duped by their professions? How often has their zeal proved to be nothing but a cover for ambition, and a struggle for places? How many instances have there been of their forgetting all their declarations, as soon as they have got into power? How often do you hear of their extravagance and immoralities? I have more than once, in the preceding discourse, spoken of Patriotism. I have mentioned it as one of the first and best qualities of a righteous man. But I have done this with pain, on account of the disgrace into which, what is so called has fallen. Patriotism, like Religion, is an excellent thing. But true Patriotism, like true Religion, is a scarce thing. In the State, as well as in the Church, there are , abominable impostors, who have blasted the credit of these divine excellencies to such a degree, that they cannot be mentioned as parts of a good character without an apology. Is it possible there should be a worse symptom in the state of a kingdom?—How mortifying is it to find the nation’s best friends falling so short as they do of our wishes? What measures for restoring a dying constitution? What reformation of abuses, what public points do they hold forth to us, and pledge themselves to accomplish? How little does it signify who are in, or who are out of power, if the constitution continues to bleed, and that system of corruption is not destroyed, which has been for some time destroying the kingdom? In short, where will you find the disinterested patriots, who are ready, in this time of distress, to serve their country for nothing?(5) Where will you find the honest statesmen, who are above making use of undue influence, and will trust for support to the rectitude of their measures; the virtuous electors or representatives, who fear an oath and have no price; or the professors of religion, who cannot be induced to do anything mean or base?—I wish not to be mistaken. I am far from meaning that none such can be found. I have acknowledged (and it is all my encouragement) that such may, be found among (6) all our parties. I only mean to intimate a doubt whether they are not blended with so many hypocrites, and decreased so much in number, as now no longer to make a body of men very discernible, and of sufficient consequence to save us. Would to God there was no reason for entertaining this doubt.

Perhaps we are, in general, too much disposed always to think the present times the worst. I am, probably, myself under the influence of this disposition; but, after studying to be upon my guard against it, I find myself incapable of believing that miserable declensions have not taken place among us.

As an evidence of this, and a farther alarming circumstance in the state of the nation, I would mention to you that levity and dissipation, and rage for pernicious diversions, which prevail among us. Not long ago play-houses were confined to London. But now there is scarcely a considerable town in the kingdom without them. In manufacturing towns they produce very bad effects; and yet there are not many of these towns where they are not established. Think here, particularly, of those scenes of lewdness and intemperance, our masquerades. These are late improvements in our public pleasures; but I question whether in Sodom itself anything much worse could have been found. We answer, indeed, too nearly to the account given by our Savior of this city before its destruction. They eat and drank. ‘They married and were given in marriage. They bought and sold, and planted and builded. That is, they enjoyed themselves in ease and mirth. They gave themselves up to sensuality and criminal indulgences, without thinking of any danger. But the same day that Lot went out, it rained fire and brimstone from Heaven and destroyed them all. Luke 17: 28. “With similar gaiety and security do we now give ourselves up to intrigue and dissipation in the midst of danger. Heaven is angry with us, and our existence is threatened; but it seems to give us no concern. In the course of a few years we have been reduced from the highest pinnacle of glory to the brink of ruin. A third of the empire is lost; and at the same time we see powerful enemies combining against us, our commerce languishing, and our debts and taxes, already insupportable, increasing fast, and likely soon to crush us. Not long ago, this would have produced an alarm which nothing could have quieted. In the last war, particularly, I remember that only the loss of Minorca threw the kingdom into a commotion, which cost an admiral his life, and produced a change of measures. But now, though in a condition unspeakably worse, the kingdom is insensible. We fly to feasts and amusements, and dance the round, of pleasure. The same measures go on. The same ministers direct these measures and sometimes we hear of new emoluments conferred upon them, just as if, instead of having brought us into imminent danger, they had saved us. One would have thought it impossible, that the stupefaction of luxury and vice could have proceeded so far in so short a period. But such torpors, like mortifications before death, have been the common forerunners of calamity. Seldom has it happened, when debauchery and extravagance and a pompous manner of living have come to their height, that they have not been followed by a sudden transition to slavery and misery.

I shall mention to you but one circumstance more that checks my hopes. I mean the fact just alluded to, or the uniform effect of all our public measures for the last four or five years. This is so remarkable, as naturally to dispose us to conclude that we are indeed forsaken by Heaven. Nothing has prospered. Several opportunities for getting back to security and peace have been neglected. Offers of reconciliation, which once would have been joyfully accepted, have been made too late. Every step has plunged us deeper into difficulties; so that now we see a quarrel about tea, which lenity and wisdom might have accommodated immediately, increased into a war more destructive than any in which this country has been ever engaged. Must we not in this see the hand of Providence? Does it not give us reason to fear that God, having no intentions of mercy towards us, ‘has infatuated our councils?—Will you give me leave to mention one particular, proof of this observation?

At the time the alliance with France was notified, it seems to me that an opening was left, by which we might have got back to safety and peace. The alliance was commercial and not exclusive;(7)  We might have consented to it, and determined to withdraw our forces from the colonies. Our situation was such as rendered this necessary; and, in consequence of it, we might in time have recovered their confidence, and secured, by a family compact, every advantage that could be derived from a connection with them. But we had not fortitude enough to consider properly our situation; nor wisdom and magnanimity enough to conform to it. National safety was forced to give way to national dignity. Hostilities against France were begun immediately. And now, with our strength spent, and public credit tottering, we seem to be just entering into a war with the combined powers of France, Spain, and America.

This is, indeed, a prospect so frightful, that I must turn my attention from it. Never did so dark a cloud hang over this nation. May Heaven avert the storm; or, if it must break, may its fury be mitigated, and the issue directed to the general advantage of the interest of truth, liberty and virtue. But, whatever happens, may you and I be found of the number of those righteous persons who have acted the part of faithful citizens, and with whom all shall go well for ever.

FINIS.

 

Footnotes:

(1)  That is, the lake of brimstone. The name of the Dead Sea has been given it from the immoveable stillness of its waters, produced by the bituminous and unctuous matter mixed with it, and floating upon it. Diodorus Siculus, (Lib. 10th, chap. 6.) in describing this lake, says, that though several rivers of sweet water empty themselves into it, the water of it is so bitter and stinking, that no fish can live in it; that great pieces of brimstone frequently rise from the bottom of it, and rest upon its surface like islands; and that the air on its coasts is so hot and infected by sulphureous steams, that the inhabitants are very unhealthy and short-lived. Tacitus calls it, lacus immense ambit u, specie marts, sapore corruptior, gravitate odoris accolis pestifer, Nejue venta mpellitur, neque piscet patitur,

(2) King James the First, in his first speech to his parliament, declared, that he “should never be ashamed to confess it his principal honor to be the Great Servant of the commonwealth.” But in the very same speech, he calls his people his Natural Vassals. It is, therefore, plain, he made this declaration from the same affected humility, or rather insolence, which has led the Pope to give himself the title of Servant of Servants.

(3) It is common to assert that resistance can be justified only in cases of extreme oppression. Mankind, in consequence of indolence and want of union, have generally acted agreeably to this principle; but it has lost the world its liberty. It implies, that resistance ought to be avoided, while oppression is growing, and till it becomes too late to resist successfully without setting every thing afloat, and producing dreadful convulsions. The truth is, that oppression cannot be resisted too soon; and that all the tendencies to it ought to be watched. Had this been always done, tyranny would have been crushed in its birth; and mankind would have been always happy. If an equal and virtuous representation of the people of a state makes an essential part of its legislature, this may be done easily, and every grievance may be redressed, as soon as it appears, without disturbance or tumult; and this forms one of the distinguishing excellencies of such a constitution of government as ours. But if through a general degeneracy, the representation becomes partial and corrupt, a despotism may arise from such a form of government, which will be the very worst possible, and under which no hope may be left, except from a calamity that shall destroy the means of corruption, and awaken to repentance.

Mr. Linguet, in a letter to Voltaire, says of the people, that they are condemned to have only hands, and that mischief arises, and all is lost, the moment they are put upon thinking, Voltaire observes in reply, that, on the contrary, all is lost when they are treated like a herd of bulls; for, in this case, they will use their horns, and sooner or later gore their owners to death. See Letter 8th and 9th in the collection of Mr, de Voltaire’s original letters.—Certain it is, indeed, that much greater evils are to be dreaded from the fury of a people, ignorant and blind, than from the resistance and jealousy of a people inquisitive and enlightened,

(4) Some of the expressions in this passage, and a few others in the latter part of this discourse, may perhaps be too strong. But I am not at liberty to suppress them. Every candid person must see that my views are general; and, should any one imagine the contrary, he will greatly injure me.

(5) One such the nation has lately heard of with admiration. I believe I am happy enough to know some more; and though their services may not be called for, God will recompense them

(6) In this I differ extremely from the learned and worthy and very liberal Bishop of Exeter, who (in a sermon preached on the 30th of January last, before the Lords spiritual and temporal) calls the great men who for some time have been opposing measures which have brought the kingdom near its last struggles, a desperate and daring faction. It is probable, therefore, that he thinks no good men can be found among them. This, at least, must be the opinion of the Archbishop of York, who, in a noted sermon, has called them a body of men, who are held together by the same bond that keeps together the “lowest and wickedest combinations” that is, “rogues and thieves,” as this censure was expressed in the pulpit. I have in this discourse been a little free in delivering censures; but had I delivered any such censures as these, I should have thought myself inexcusable.

(7) It was to become what it now is (offensive and defensive) Only in the event of its being resisted by this country.

What Measures are actually taken by wicked and desperate Ministers to ruin and enslave their Country

Thomas Paine quote Politicians

NOTE: My comments in brackets […] and italics.

Cato Letters No. 17: Saturday, February 18, 1721; What Measures are actually taken by wicked and desperate Ministers to ruin and enslave their Country. by John Trenchard

Sir,

As under the best princes, and the best servants to princes alone, it is safe to speak what is true of the worst; so, according to my former promise to the public, I shall take the advantage of our excellent King’s most gentle government, and the virtuous administration of an uncorrupt ministry, to warn mankind against the mischiefs which may hereafter be dreaded from corrupt ones. It is too true, that every country in the world has sometimes groaned under that heavy misfortune, and our own as much as any; though I cannot allow it to be true, what Monsieur de Witt has long since observed, that the English court has always been the most thievish court in Europe.

Few men have been desperate enough to attack openly, and barefaced, the liberties of a free people. Such avowed conspirators can rarely succeed: The attempt would destroy itself. Even when the enterprise is begun and visible, the end must be hid, or denied. It is the business and policy of traitors, so to disguise their treason with plausible names, and so to recommend it with popular and bewitching colors, that they themselves shall be adored, while their work is detested, and yet carried on by those that detest it.

Thus one nation has been surrendered to another under the fair name of mutual alliance: The fortresses of a nation have been given up, or attempted to be given up, under the frugal notion of saving charges to a nation; and commonwealths have been trepanned into slavery, by troops raised or increased to defend them from slavery.

It may therefore be of service to the world, to shew what measures have been taken by corrupt ministers, in some of our neighboring countries, to ruin and enslave the people over whom they presided; to shew by what steps and gradations of mischief nations have been undone, and consequently what methods may be hereafter taken to undo others: And this subject I rather choose, because my countrymen may be the more sensible of, and know how to value the inestimable blessing of living under the best prince, and the best established government in the universe, where we have none of these things to fear.

Such traitors will probably endeavor first to get their prince [the majority of the people] into their possession, and, like Sejanus, shut him up in a little island, or perhaps make him a prisoner in his court; whilst, with full range, they devour his dominions, and plunder his subjects. When he is thus secluded from the access of his friends, and the knowledge of his affairs, he must be content with such misrepresentations as they shall find expedient to give him. False cases will be stated, to justify wicked counsel; wicked counsel will be given, to procure unjust orders. He [The people] will be made to mistake his foes for his friends, his friends for his foes; and to believe that his their affairs are in the highest prosperity, when they are in the greatest distress; and that public matters go on in the greatest harmony, when they are in the utmost confusion.

They will be ever contriving and forming wicked and dangerous projects, to make the people poor, and themselves rich; well knowing that dominion follows property; that where there are wealth and power, there will be always crowds of servile dependents; and that, on the contrary, poverty dejects the mind, fashions it to slavery, and renders it unequal to any generous undertaking, and incapable of opposing any bold usurpation. They will squander away the public money in wanton presents to minions, and their creatures of pleasure or of burden, or in pensions to mercenary and worthless men and women, for vile ends and traitorous purposes. [They are doing this today with the National Debt]

They will engage their country in ridiculous, expensive, fantastical wars, to keep the minds of men in continual hurry and agitation, and under constant fears and alarms; and, by such means, deprive them both of leisure and inclination to look into public miscarriages. Men, on the contrary, will, instead of such inspection, be disposed to fall into all measures offered, seemingly, for their defence, and will agree to every wild demand made by those who are betraying them. [They do not only do this with wars these days; they use all manner of manufactured crisis also]

When they have served their ends by such wars, or have other motives to make peace, they will have no view to the public interest; but will often, to procure such peace, deliver up the strong-holds of their country, or its colonies for trade, to open enemies, suspected friends, or dangerous neighbors, that they may not be interrupted in their domestic designs. [We see all this also happening today]

They will create parties in the commonwealth, or keep them up where they already are; and, by playing them by turns upon each other, will rule both. By making the Guelfs afraid of the Ghibelines, and these afraid of the Guelfs, they will make themselves the mediums and balance between the two factions; and both factions, in their turns, the props of their authority, and the instruments of their designs. [This is talking about class warfare, racial divisions, i.e. strife among the people against each other]

They will not suffer any men, who have once tasted of authority, though personally their enemies, and whose posts they enjoy, to be called to an account for past crimes, though ever so enormous. They will make no such precedents for their own punishment; nor censure treason, which they intend to commit. On the contrary, they will form new conspiracies, and invent new fences for their own impunity and protection; and endeavor to engage such numbers in their guilt, as to set themselves above all fear of punishment. [Benghazi, DOJ, NSA, IRS, AP, James Rosen; Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, Barrack Obama, IRS Commissioners, Lois Lerner. This is all happening today]

They will prefer worthless and wicked men, and not suffer a man of knowledge or honesty to come near them, or enjoy a post under them. They will disgrace men of virtue, and ridicule virtue itself, and laugh at public spirit. They will put men into employments, without any regard to the qualifications for those employments, or indeed to any qualifications at all, but as they contribute to their designs, and shew a stupid alacrity to do what they are bid. They must be either fools or beggars; either void of capacity to discover their intrigues, or of credit and inclination to disappoint them. [We see this happening with the political leadership against the members of the Tea Party]

They will promote luxury, idleness, and expense, and a general deprivation of manners, by their own example, as well as by connivance [immoral or illegal act] and public encouragement. This will not only divert men’s thoughts from examining their behavior and politics, but likewise let them loose from all the restraints of private and public virtue. From immorality and excesses they will fall into necessity; and from thence into a servile dependence upon power.

In order to this, they will bring into fashion gaming, drunkenness, gluttony, and profuse and costly dress. They will debauch their country with foreign vices, and foreign instruments of vicious pleasures; and will contrive and encourage public revels, nightly disguises, and debauched mummeries [mummeries i.e. A pretentious or hypocritical show or ceremony.]

They will, by all practicable means of oppression, provoke the people to disaffection [hate, anger]; and then make that disaffection an argument for new oppression, for not trusting them any further, and for keeping up troops; and, in fine, for depriving them of liberties and privileges, to which they are entitled by their birth, and the laws of their country.

If such measures should ever be taken in any free country, where the people choose deputies to represent them, then they will endeavor to bribe the electors in the choice of their representatives, and so to get a council of their own creatures; and where they cannot succeed with the electors, they will endeavor to corrupt the deputies after they are chosen, with the money given for the public defence; and to draw into the perpetration of their crimes those very men, from whom the betrayed people expect the redress of their grievances, and the punishment of those crimes. And when they have thus made the representatives of the people afraid of the people, and the people afraid of their representatives; then they will endeavor to persuade those deputies to seize the government to themselves, and not to trust their principals any longer with the power of resenting their treachery and ill-usage, and of sending honester and wiser men in their room.

But if the constitution should be so stubbornly framed, that it will still preserve itself and the people’s liberties, in spite of all villainous contrivances [a thing that is created skillfully and inventively to serve a particular purpose] to destroy both; then must the constitution itself be attacked and broken, because it will not bend. There must be an endeavor, under some pretense of public good, to alter a balance of the government, and to get it into the sole power of their creatures, and of such who will have constantly an interest distinct from that of the body of the people. [We see Obama and the Democrat party doing this, in trying to get the majority back in the House of Representatives like they had in the first two years of his presidency, when they forced Obamacare on US]

But if all these schemes for the ruin of the public, and their own impunity, should fail them; and the worthy patriots of a free country should prove obstinate in defence of their country, and resolve to call its betrayers to a strict account; there is then but one thing left for such traitors to do; namely, to veer about, and, by joining with the [United Nations] enemy of their prince [the people] and country, complete their treason.

I have somewhere read of a favorite and first minister to a neighboring prince, long since dead, who played his part so well, that, though he had, by his evil counsels, raised a rebellion, and a contest for the crown; yet he preserved himself a resource, whoever got the better: If his old master succeeded, then this Achitophel, by the help of a baffled rebellion, ever favorable to princes, had the glory of fixing his master in absolute power: But, as his brave rival got the day, Achitophel had the merit of betraying his old master to plead; and was accordingly taken into favor.

Happy therefore, thrice happy, are we, who can be unconcerned spectators of the miseries which the greatest part of Europe is reduced to suffer, having lost their liberties by the intrigues and wickedness of those whom they trusted; whilst we continue in full enjoyment of ours, and can be in no danger of losing them, while we have so excellent a King, assisted and obeyed by so wise a Parliament.

T. I am, &c.

Freedom of Speech the Same is Inseparable From Public Liberty: Cato Letter No. 15

ChristianPatriotConscience

Cato Letter No. 15, Saturday, February 4, 1721: Freedom of Speech: That the same is inseparable from public Liberty; by Thomas Gordon

Sir,

Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom; and no such thing as public liberty, without freedom of speech: Which is the right of every man, as far as by it he does not hurt and control the right of another; and this is the only check which it ought to suffer, the only bounds which it ought to know.

This sacred privilege is so essential to free government, that the security of property; and the freedom of speech, always go together; and in those wretched countries where a man cannot call his tongue his own, he can scarce call any thing else his own. Whoever would overthrow the liberty of the nation, must begin by subduing the freedom of speech; a thing terrible to public traitors.

This secret was so well known to the court of King Charles I that his wicked ministry procured a proclamation to forbid the people to talk of Parliaments, which those traitors had laid aside. To assert the undoubted right of the subject, and defend his Majesty’s legal prerogative, was called disaffection, and punished as sedition. Nay, people were forbid to talk of religion in their families: For the priests had combined with the ministers to cook up tyranny, and suppress truth and the law. While the late King James, when Duke of York, went avowedly to mass; men were fined, imprisoned, and undone, for saying that he was a papist: And, that King Charles II might live more securely a papist, there was an act of Parliament made, declaring it treason to say that he was one.

That men ought to speak well of their governors, is true, while their governors deserve to be well spoken of; but to do public mischief, without hearing of it, is only the prerogative and felicity of tyranny: A free people will be shewing that they are so, by their freedom of speech.

The administration of government is nothing else, but the attendance of the trustees of the people upon the interest and affairs of the people. And as it is the part and business of the people, for whose sake alone all public matters are, or ought to be, transacted, to see whether they be well or ill transacted; so it is the interest, and ought to be the ambition, of all honest magistrates, to have their deeds openly examined, and publicly scanned: Only the wicked governors of men dread what is said of them; Audivit Tiberius probra queis lacerabitur, atque perculsus est. [Tiberius heard the reproaches of those of you whom are to be rent in pieces, and is struck by them] The public censure was true, else he had not felt it bitter.

Freedom of speech is ever the symptom, as well as the effect, of good government. In old Rome, all was left to the judgment and pleasure of the people; who examined the public proceedings with such discretion, and censured those who administered them with such equity and mildness, that in the space of three hundred years, not five public ministers suffered unjustly. Indeed, whenever the commons proceeded to violence, the great ones had been the aggressors.

Guilt only dreads liberty of speech, which drags it out of its lurking holes, and exposes its deformity and horror to day-light. Horatius, Valerius, Cincinnatus, and other virtuous and undesigning magistrates of the Roman commonwealth, had nothing to fear from liberty of speech. Their virtuous administration, the more it was examined, the more it brightened and gained by enquiry. When Valerius, in particular, was accused, upon some slight grounds, of affecting the diadem; he, who was the first minister of Rome, did not accuse the people for examining his conduct, but approved his innocence in a speech to them; he gave such satisfaction to them, and gained such popularity to himself, that they gave him a new name; inde cognomen factum Publicolae est; to denote that he was their favorite and their friend. Latae deinde leges. Ante omnes de provocatione, adversus magistratus ad populum, Livii lib. ii. cap. 8.

The best princes have ever encouraged and promoted freedom of speech; they knew that upright measures would defend themselves, and that all upright men would defend them. Tacitus, speaking of the reigns of some of the princes above-mentioned, says with ecstasy, Rara temporum felicitate, ubi sentire quae velis, & quae sentias dicere liceat: A blessed time, when you might think what you would, and speak what you thought!

The same was the opinion and practice of the wise and virtuous Timoleon, the deliverer of the great city of Syracuse from slavery. He being accused by Demoenetus, a popular orator, in a full assembly of the people, of several misdemeanors committed by him while he was general, gave no other answer, than that he was highly obliged to the gods for granting him a request that he had often made to them; namely, that he might live to see the Syracusians enjoy that liberty of speech which they now seemed to be masters of.

And that great commander, M. Marcellus, who won more battles than any Roman captain of his age, being accused by the Syracusians, while he was now a fourth time consul, of having done them indignities and hostile wrongs, contrary to the League, rose from his seat in the Senate, as soon as the charge against him was opened, and passing (as a private man) into the place where the accused were wont to make their defence, gave free liberty to the Syracusians to impeach him: Which, when they had done, he and they went out of the court together to attend the issue of the cause: Nor did he express the least ill-will or resentment towards these his accusers; but being acquitted, received their city into his protection. Had he been guilty, he would neither have shewn such temper nor courage.

I doubt not but old Spencer and his son, all honest men in England. They dreaded to be called traitors, because they were traitors. And I dare say, Queen Elizabeth’s Walsingham, who deserved no reproaches, feared none. Misrepresentation of public measures is easily overthrown, by representing public measures truly: When they are honest, they ought to be publicly known, that they may be publicly commended; but if they be knavish or pernicious, they ought to be publicly exposed, in order to be publicly detested.

To assert, that King James was a papist and a tyrant, was only so far hurtful to him, as it was true of him; and if the Earl of Strafford had not deserved to be impeached, he need not have feared a bill of attainder. If our directors and their confederates be not such knaves as the world thinks them, let them prove to all the world, that the world thinks wrong, and that they are guilty of none of those villainies which all the world lays to their charge. Others too, who would be thought to have no part of their guilt, must, before they are thought innocent, shew that they did all that was in their power to prevent that guilt, and to check their proceedings.

Freedom of speech is the great bulwark of liberty; they prosper and die together: And it is the terror of traitors and oppressors, and a barrier against them. It produces excellent writers, and encourages men of fine genius. Tacitus tells us, that the Roman commonwealth bred great and numerous authors, who writ with equal boldness and eloquence: But when it was enslaved, those great wits were no more. Postquam bellatum apud Actium; atque omnem potestatem ad unum conferri pacis interfuit, magna illa ingenia cessere. Tyranny had usurped the place of equality, which is the soul of liberty, and destroyed public courage. The minds of men, terrified by unjust power, degenerated into all the vileness and methods of servitude: Abject sycophancy and blind submission grew the only means of preferment, and indeed of safety; men durst not open their mouths, but to flatter.

Pliny the Younger observes, that this dread of tyranny had such effect, that the Senate, the great Roman Senate, became at last stupid and dumb: Mutam ac sedentariam assentiendi necessitatem. Hence, says he, our spirit and genius are stupefied, broken, and sunk for ever. And in one of his epistles, speaking of the works of his uncle, he makes an apology for eight of them, as not written with the same vigor which was to be found in the rest; for that these eight were written in the reign of Nero, when the spirit of writing was cramped by fear; Dubii sermonis octo scripset sub Nerone—cum omne studiorum genus paulo liberius & erectius periculosum servitus fecisset.

All ministers, therefore, who were oppressors, or intended to be oppressors, have been loud in their complaints against freedom of speech, and the licence of the press; and always restrained, or endeavored to restrain, both. In consequence of this, they have brow-beaten writers, punished them violently, and against law, and burnt their works. By all which they shewed how much truth alarmed them, and how much they were at enmity with truth.

There is a famous instance of this in Tacitus: He tells us, that Cremutius Cordus, having in his Annals praised Brutus and Cassius, gave offence to Sejanus, first minister, and to some inferior sycophants in the court of Tiberius; who, conscious of their own characters, took the praise bestowed on every worthy Roman, to be so many reproaches pointed at themselves: They therefore complained of the book to the Senate; which, being now only the machine of tyranny, condemned it to be burnt. But this did not prevent its spreading. Libros cremandos censuere patres; sed manserunt occultati & editi: [The books were burned the senate decreed; but they remained hidden and published] Being censured, it was the more sought after. “From hence,” says Tacitus, “we may wonder at the stupidity of those statesmen, who hope to extinguish, by the terror of their power, the memory of their actions; for quite otherwise, the punishment of good writers gains credit to their writings:” Nam contra, punitis ingeniis, gliscit auctoritas. [For on the contrary, the persecution of genius, fosters its influence] Nor did ever any government, who practiced impolitic severity, get any thing by it, but infamy to themselves, and renown to those who suffered under it. This also is an observation of Tacitus: Neque aliud [externi] reges, [aut] qui ea[dem] saevitiae usi sunt, nisi dedecus sibi, atque gloriam illis peperere. [No other of the external kings, or as He who gave them made ​​use of the same brutality, unless he procured infamy for themselves and the glory they won.]

Freedom of speech, therefore, being of such infinite importance to the preservation of liberty, every one who loves liberty ought to encourage freedom of speech. Hence it is that I, living in a country of liberty, and under the best prince upon earth, shall take this very favorable opportunity of serving mankind, by warning them of the hideous mischiefs that they will suffer, if ever corrupt and wicked men shall hereafter get possession of any state, and the power of betraying their master: And, in order to do this, I will shew them by what steps they will probably proceed to accomplish their traitorous ends. This may be the subject of my next.

Valerius Maximus tells us, that Lentulus Marcellinus, the Roman consul, having complained, in a popular assembly, of the overgrown power of Pompey; the whole people answered him with a shout of approbation: Upon which the consul told them, “Shout on, gentlemen, shout on, and use those bold signs of liberty while you may; for I do not know how long they will be allowed you.”

God be thanked, we Englishmen have neither lost our liberties, nor are in danger of losing them. Let us always cherish this matchless blessing, almost peculiar to ourselves; that our posterity may, many ages hence, ascribe their freedom to our zeal. The defence of liberty is a noble, a heavenly office; which can only be performed where liberty is: For, as the same Valerius Maximus observes, Quid ergo libertas sine Catone? non magis quam Cato sine libertate. [So what is liberty without Cato? no more than Cato, without freedom.]

G. I am, &c.