NEW HAVEN CT, ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO by Leonard Bacon July 4, 1876

Leonard BaconIn the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six, the fourth of July fell on Thursday. On that day, the Continental congress at Philadelphia gave notice to all nations that the political communities which it represented had ceased to be colonies, were absolved from their allegiance to the British Crown, and had become Independent States. The news that such a Declaration had been made was not flashed along electric wires; it was not conveyed by steam car or steam boat; nor can I learn that it was sent in all directions by an extraordinary express. But we may assume that as early as Tuesday morning, July 9th, the people of New Haven heard the news, and that such news reported by neighbor to neighbor, was talked about everywhere, with every variety of opinion as to whether the Independence that had been declared could be maintained; some rejoicing in the Declaration and sure that it would stand; others doubting; here and there one indignant, but not daring to express his indignation. All knew that the decisive step had been taken, and that the country was committed to a life and death struggle, not for the recovery of chartered and inherited rights as provinces included in the British empire, but for an independent nationality and a place among acknowledged sovereignties.

It is difficult for us to form in our minds any just conception of what New Haven was a hundred years ago. But let us make the attempt. At that time, the town of New Haven included East Haven, North Haven, Hamden, West Haven, and almost the entire territory of what are now the three towns of Woodbridge, Beacon Falls and Bethany. What is now the city of New Haven was then “the town plat”—the nine original squares —with the surrounding fields and scattered dwellings, from the West river to the Quinnipiac, and between the harbor and the two sentinel cliffs which guard the beauty of the plain. Here was New Haven proper—the territorial parish of the First Ecclesiastical Society, all the outlying portions of the township having been set off into distinct parishes for church and school purposes. In other words, the town of New Haven, at that time was bounded on the cast by Branford, on the north by Wallingford (which included Cheshire), on the west by Derby and Milford; and all the “freemen” within those bounds were accustomed to assemble here in town meeting.

A hundred years ago, there was a very pleasant village here at the “town-plat,” though very little had been done to make it beautiful. This public square had been reserved, with a wise forethought for certain public uses; but in the hundred and thirty-eight years that had passed since it was laid out by the proprietors who purchased these lands from the Indians, it had never been enclosed, nor planted with trees, nor graded; for the people had always been too poor to do much for mere beauty. Here, at the centre of their public square, the planters of New Haven built a plain, rude house for public worship, and behind it they made their graves—thus giving to the spot a consecration that ought never to be forgotten. At the time which we are now endeavoring to recall, that central spot (almost identical with the site of what is now called Centre church) had been reoccupied about eighteen years, by the brick meeting-house of the First church; and the burying-ground, enclosed with a rude fence, but otherwise neglected, was still the only burial-place within the parochial limits of the First Ecclesiastical Society. A little south of the burying-ground, was another brick edifice, the state house, so called even while Connecticut was still a colony. Where the North church now stands, there was a framed meeting-house, recently built by what was called the Fair Haven Society, a secession from the White Haven, whose house of worship (colloquially called “the old Blue Meetinghouse”) was on the corner now known as St. John Place. Beside those three churches there was another from which Church street derives its name. That was per-eminently “the church”—those who worshipped there would have resented the suggestion of its being a meeting-house. It was, in fact, a missionary station or outpost of the Church of England, and as such was served by a missionary of the English “Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts.” The budding, though of respectable dimensions (58×38), was smaller than the others, yet it had one distinction,—its steeple—a few feet south of Cutler comer, and in full view from the Green, though somewhat less aspiring than the other three—was surmounted by the figure of a crown signifying that, whatever might be the doctrine or the sentiment elsewhere, there the king’s ecclesiastical supremacy was acknowledged, and loyalty to his sacred person was a conspicuous virtue’ Only a few householders worshipped there, for the Church of England was an exotic in the climate of New England. Not till the Episcopal church had become (in consequence of the event which this day commemorates) an organization dependent on no king but Christ, an American church, and therefore no longer English, did it begin to strike its roots deep into the soil and to flourish as if it were indigenous. Two other public buddings adorned this “market-place;” one a little school-house just behind the Fair Haven meeting-house and not unlike the old-time wayside school-houses in the country; the other a county jail, which was a wooden structure fronting on College street about half way from Elm to Chapel.

Yale UniversityBeside all these public buddings, representative of religion, of government and justice, and of provision by the commonwealth against popular ignorance, there was the college, then as now, the pride of New Haven, but very different then from what we now see. The college buddings at that time were only three. First there was the original college edifice, to which, at its completion, in 1718, the name of Yale had been given in honor of a distinguished benefactor, and from which that name had been gradually, and at last authoritatively, transferred to the institution which has made it famous. That original Yale College was close on the comer of College and Chapel streets, a wooden budding, long and narrow, three stories high, with three entries, and cupola and clock.

Next in age was the brick chapel with its tower and spire, the building now called the Athenaeum and lately transformed into recitation rooms. More glorious yet was the new brick college (then not ten years old), which had been named Connecticut Hall, and which remains (though not unchanged) the “Old South Middle.”

Such was New Haven, a hundred years ago, in its public buildings and institutions. Its population, within the present town limits was, at the largest estimate, not more than 1800 (including about 150 students) where there are now more than thirty times that number. If you ask, what were the people who lived here then, I may say that I remember some of them. Certainly they were, at least in outward manifestation, a religious people. Differences of religious judgment and sympathy had divided them, within less than forty years, into three worshiping assemblies beside the little company that had gone over to the Church of England. Their religious zeal supported three ministers; and I will venture to say that the houses were comparatively few in which there was not some form of household religion. Compared with other communities in that age (on either side of the ocean) they were an intelligent people. With few exceptions, they could read and write; and though they had no daily newspapers, nor any knowledge of the modern sciences, nor any illumination from popular lectures, nor that sort of intelligence and refinement which comes from the theater, they knew some things as well as we do. They knew something about the chief end of man and man’s responsibility to God; something about their rights as freeborn subjects of their king; something about their chartered freedom; and the tradition had never died out among them. There were graves in the old burial ground which would not let them forget that a king may prove himself a traitor to his people, and may be brought to account by the people whom he has betrayed. There were social distinctions then, as now. Some families were recognized as more intelligent and cultivated than others. Some were respected for their ancestry, if they had not disgraced it. Men in official stations—civil, military, or ecclesiastical— were treated with a sort of formal deference now almost obsolete; but then, as now, a man, whatever title he might bear, was pretty sure to be estimated by bis neighbors at bis real worth, and nothing more. Some men were considered wealthy, others were depressed by poverty, but the distinction between rich and poor was not just what it is to-day. There were no great capitalists, nor was there anything like a class of mere laborers with no dependence but their daily wages. The aggregate wealth of the community was very moderate, with no overgrown fortunes and hardly anything like abject want. Almost every family was in that condition—”neither poverty nor riches “—which a wise man of old desired and prayed fox as most helpful to right living. Such a community was not likely to break out into any turbulent or noisy demonstrations. Doubtless the Declaration of Independence was appreciated as a great fact by the people of New Haven when they heard of it . Perhaps the church bells were rung (that would cost nothing); perhaps there was some shouting by men and boys (that would also cost nothing): perhaps there was a bonfire on the Green or at the “Head of the Wharf” (that would not cost much); but we may be sure that the great fact was not greeted with the thunder, of artillery nor celebrated with fireworks; for gunpowder was just then too precious to be consumed in that way. The little newspaper, then published in this town every Wednesday, gives no indication of any popular excitement on that occasion. On “Wednesday, July 10th, 1776,” the Connecticut Journal had news, much of it very important, and almost every word of it relating to the conflict between the colonies and the mother country; news from London to the date of April 9; from Halifax to June 4 ; from Boston to July 4; from New York to July 8, and from Philadelphia to July 6. Under the Philadelphia date the first item was “Yesterday the Congress unanimously resolved to declare the United Colonies Free And Independent States.” That was all, save that, in another column, the printer said, “To-morrow will be ready for sale ‘The Resolves of the Congress declaring the United Colonies Free And Independent States.”’ What the printer, in that advertisement, called “The Resolves of Congress,” was a handbill, 8 inches by 9, in two columns, with a rudely ornamented border, and was reproduced in the Journal for July 17. It was the immortal state paper with which we are so familiar, and we may be sure that everybody in New Haven, old enough to know the meaning of it had read it, or beard it read, before another seven days had been counted.

The Declaration of Independence was not at all an unexpected event. It surprised nobody. Slowly but irresistibly the conviction bad come that the only alternative before the United Colonies was absolute subjection to a British Parliament or absolute independence of the British crown. Such was the general conviction, but whether independence was possible, whether the time had come to strike for it, whether something might not yet be gained by remonstrance and negotiation, were questions on which there were different opinions even among men whose patriotism could not be reasonably doubted.

[Here followed some of the facts intended to give a better understanding of “what were the thoughts, and what the hopes and fears of good men in New Haven a hundred years ago.”]

Having at last undertaken to wage war in defense of American liberty, the Continental Congress proceeded, very naturally, to a formal declaration of war, setting forth the causes which impelled’ them to take up arms.

That declaration preceded by a year the Declaration of Independence; for at that time only a few sagacious minds had seen clearly the impossibility of reconciliation. Declaring to the world that they had taken up arms in self-defense and would never lay them down till hostilities should cease on the part of the aggressors, they nevertheless disavowed again the idea of separation from the British empire. “Necessity,” said they, “has not yet driven us to that desperate measure;” “we have not raised armies with ambitious designs of separating from Great Britain and establishing independent states.” That was an honest declaration. Doubtless a few prophetic souls had seen the vision of a separate and independent nationality, and knew to what issue the long controversy had been tending; but the thought and sentiment of the people throughout the colonies, at that time—the thought and sentiment of thoughtful and patriotic men in every colony—was fairly expressed in that declaration. They were English colonies, proud of the English blood and name; and as young birds cling to. the nest when the mother trusts them out half-fledged, so they clung to their connection with Great Britain notwithstanding the unmotherly harshness of tho mother country. They were English as their fathers were; and it was their English blood that roused them to resist the invasion of their English liberty. The meteor flag of England

“Had braved a thousand years
The battle and the breeze,”

and it was theirs; its memories of Blenheim and Ramillies, of Crecy and Agincourt, were theirs; and they themselves had helped to plant that famous banner on the ramparts of Louisburg and Quebec. Because they were English they could boast

“That Chatham’s language was their mother-tongue,
And Wolfe’s great name compatriot with their own.”

Because they were English, Milton was theirs, and Shakespeare, and the English Bible. They still desired to be included in the great empire whose navy commanded the ocean, and whose commerce encircled the globe. They desired to be under its protection, to share in its growth and glory, and enjoying their chartered freedom under the imperial crown, to maintain the closest relations of amity and mutual helpfulness with the mother country and with every portion of the empire.

All this was true in July, 1775. When Washington consented to command the Continental armies “raised or to be raised,” he thought that armed resistance might achieve some adequate security for the liberty of the colonies without achieving their independence. When, in his journey from Philadelphia to New York, hearing the news from Bunker Hill and how the New England volunteers had faced the British regulars in battle, he said, “Thank God! our cause is safe;” he was not thinking of independence, but only of chartered liberty. When, on his journey from New York to New Haven, he said to Dr. Bipley, of Green’s Farms, who dined with him at Fairfield, “If we can maintain the war for a year we shall succeed,” his hopes was that by one year of unsuccessful war the British ministry and parliament would be brought to some reasonable terms of reconciliation. When (in the words of our historian Palfrey), “the roll of the New England drums at Cambridge announced the presence there of the Virginian, George Washington,” he knew not, nor did Putnam know, nor Prescott, nor Stark, nor the farmers who had hastened to the siege of Boston, that the war in which he then assumed the chief command was, what we now call it, the war of independence. With all sincerity the Congress, four days later, while solemnly declaring “before God and the world,” “The arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unbating firmness and perseverance, employ for the preservation of our liberties, being with one mind resolved to die freeman rather than to live slaves “—could also say, at the same time, to their “friends and fellow subjects in every part of the empire,” “We assure them that we mean not to dissolve that union which has so long and so happily subsisted between us, and which we sincerely wish to be restored.” The declaration on the 6th of July, 1775, was a declaration of war, but not of independence.

Yet, from the beginning of the war, there was in reality only one issue—though a whole year must pass before that issue could be clearly apprehended by the nation and proclaimed to the world. From the first clash of arms the only possible result was either subjection or separation; either the loss of liberty or the achievement of independence. The first shot from Major Pitcairn’s pistol on the village green at Lexington, at the gray dawn of April 19th, 1775, was fatal to the connection between these colonies and their mother country. That was “the shot that echoed round the world,” and is echoing still along “the corridors of time.” That first shot, with the slaughter that followed and the resistance and repulse of the British soldiery that day at Concord, was felt by thousands who knew in a moment that it meant war in defense of chartered liberty, but did not yet know that, for colonies at war with their mother country, independence was the only possible liberty. As the war proceeded, its meaning, and the question really at issue became evident. The organization of a Continental army, the expulsion of the king’s regiments and the king’s governor from Boston, the military operations in various parts of the country, the collapse of the regal governments followed by the setting up of popular governments under the advice of the Continental Congress—what did such things mean but that the colonies must be thenceforward an independent nation or provinces conquered and enslaved?

It came, therefore, as a matter of course, that from the beginning of 1876, the people in all the colonies began to be distinctly aware that the war in progress was and could be nothing less than a war for independence. The fiction fundamental to the British Constitution, that the king can do no wrong, and that whatever wrong is done in his name is only the wrongdoing of his ministers, gave way before the harsh fact that they were at war, not with Parliament nor with Lord North, but, with king George III. So palpable was the absurdity of professing allegiance to a king who was waging war against them, that as early as April in that year, the Chief Justice of South Carolina under the new government just organized there, declared from his official seat in a charge to the grand jury, “The Almighty created America to be independent of Great Britain, let us beware of the impiety of being backward to act as instruments in the Almighty hand now extended to accomplish His purpose.”

When the public opinion of the colonies, north and south, was thus declaring itself, the time had come for action on the part of the Continental Congress. Accordingly on the 7th of June, Richard Henry Lee, in behalf of the delegation from Virginia, proposed a resolution “that the united colonies are and ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown; and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved.” It was agreed that the resolution should be considered the next day, and every member was enjoined to be present for that purpose. The next day’s debate was earnest, for the Congress was by no means unanimous. Nobody denied or doubted that liberty and independence must stand or fall together, but some who had been leaders up to that point could not see that the time had come for such a declaration. Some were embarrassed by instructions given the year before and not yet rescinded. The debate having been continued through the day (which was Saturday) was adjourned to Monday, June 10. On that day the resolution was adopted in committee of the whole by a vote of seven colonies against five, and so was reported to the house. Hoping that unanimity might be gained by a little delay, the house postponed its final action for three weeks, but appointed a committee to prepare a formal declaration of independence. Meanwhile, though the sessions of the congress were always with closed doors, these proceedings were no secret, and public opinion was finding distinct and authentic expression. I need not tell what was done elsewhere; but I may say what was done, just at that juncture, in our old commonwealth.

On the 14th of June there came together at Hartford, in obedience to a call from Jonathan Trumbull, governor, “a General Assembly of the Governor and Company of the English colony of Connecticut, in New England, in America “—the last that was to meet under that name. It put upon its record a clear though brief recital of the causes which had made an entire separation from Great Britain the only possible alternative of slavery, and then—what? Let me give the words of the record: “Appealing to that God who knows the secrets of all hearts for the sincerity of former declarations of our desire to preserve our ancient and constitutional relation to that nation, and protesting solemnly against their oppression and injustice which have driven us from them, and compelled us to use such means as God in His providence hath put in our power for our necessary defence and preservation, resolved, unanimously, by this Assembly, that the delegates of this colony in General Congress be and they are hereby instructed to propose to that respectable body, to declare the United American colonies free and independent States, absolved from all allegiance to the King of Great Britain, and to give the assent of this colony to such declaration.”

It was amid such manifestations of the national will coming in from various quarters, that the Congress, on Monday, July 1, took up the postponed resolution declaring the colonies independent, discussed it again in committee of the whole and passed it, so bringing it back for a final decision. The vote in the house was postponed till the next day, and then, July 2, the resolution was adopted and entered on the journal. In anticipation of this result, the formal Declaration of Independence had been reported by the special committee on the preceding Friday (June 28), and it was next taken up for consideration. After prolonged discussion in committee of the whole and various amendments (some of which were certainly changes for the better), it came before the house for final decision, and was then adopted, in the form in which we have heard it read to-day, the most illustrious state paper in the history of nations.

We may be sure, therefore, that whatever diversity of opinion there may have been in New Haven on the 4th of July, 1776, about the expediency of declaring independence at that time, news that such a declaration had been made by the Congress caused no great astonishment or excitement here. The General Assembly of Connecticut, had already made its declaration, and instructed its delegates in the Congress. One of those delegates was Roger Sherman (or as his neighbors called him, “Squire Sherman”) ; and nobody in this town, certainly, could be surprised to hear that the Continental Congress had done what Roger Sherman thought right and expedient to be done. The fact that Roger Sherman had been appointed on a committee to prepare the Declaration may have been unknown here, even in his own house; but what he thought about the expediency of the measure was no secret. We, to-day, I will venture to affirm are more excited about the Declaration of Independence than they were to whom the news of it came, a hundred years ago.

[Here followed a large number of records, or extracts from records, principally from the town clerk’s office in New Haven, to show that our fathers on all proper public occasions were firmly, perhaps unconsciously, pursuing those steps which when taken by a brave and high-spirited people inevitably lead to their complete independence.]

I have exhausted your patience, and must refrain from tracing even an outline of the war, as New Haven was concerned in it, after that memorable day a hundred years ago. Especially must I refrain from a description of the day when this town was invaded and plundered, and was saved from conflagration only by the gallant resistance of its citizens keeping the enemy at bay till it was too late for him to do all he designed. The commemoration of that day will be more appropriate to its hundredth anniversary, July 4th, 1876. From the day of that invasion to this time, no footstep of an enemy in arms has pressed our soil—no roll of hostile drums or blare of hostile trumpet has wounded the air of beautiful New Haven. So may it be through all the centuries to come!

But before I sit down, I may yet say one word, suggested by what I have just been reading to you from the records of 1775. At the time of that conflict with Great Britain—first for municipal freedom, and then for national independence as the only security of freedom, the people of these colonies, and eminently the people of New England, were, perhaps, in proportion to their numbers, the most warlike people in Christendom. From the day when Miles Standish, in the Pilgrim settlement at Plymouth, was chosen “Captain” and invested with “authority of command” in military affairs, every settlement had its military organization. The civil order, the ecclesiastical, and the military, were equally indispensable. In every town, the captain and the trained militia were as necessary as the pastor and the church, or the magistrate and the town meeting. When the founders of our fair city came to Quinnipiack, 238 years ago, they came not only with the leaders of their unformed civil state, Eaton and Goodyear—not only with their learned minister of God’s word, Davenport, to be the pastor of the church they were to organize—but also with their captain, Turner, who had been trained like Standish in the wars of the Dutch Republic, and who in the Pequot war of the preceding year had seen the inviting beauty of the Quinnipiack bay and plain. Who does not know how, in those early times,

“Our grandsires bore their guns to meeting,
Each man equip’d, on Sunday morn,
With psalm-book, shot, and powder-horn,”

and that, in the arrangements of the house of worship, a place for “the soldiers,” near the door, was as much a matter of course as the place for “the elders” at the other side of the building? Who does not know that every able-bodied man (with few exceptions) was required to bear arms and to be trained in the use of them? What need that I should tell how a vigorous military organization and the constant exhibition of readiness for self-defense, not less than justice and kindness in dealing with the Indians, were continually the indispensable condition of safety? What need of my telling the story of King Philip’s war, just two hundred years ago? Let it suffice to remind you of the long series of inter-colonial wars, contemporaneous with every war between England and her hereditary enemies, France and Spain—beginning in 1689 and continued with now and then a few years’ interruption till the final conquest and surrender of the French dominion on this continent in 1762. It was in the last war of that long series that the military heroes of our war for independence had their training, and it was in the same war that the New England farmers and Virginia hunters, fighting under the same flag and under the same generals with British red-coats, learned how to face them without fear. That war which swept from our continent the Bourbon lillies and the Bourbon legions made us independent and enabled us, a few years later, to stand up as independent, and, in the ringing proclamation of July 4th, 1776, to inform the world that where the English colonies had been struggling for existence, a nation had been born.

Fellow citizens! We have a goodly heritage—how came it to be ours? God has given it to us. How? By the hardships, the struggles, the self-denial, the manifold suffering of our fathers and predecessors on this soil; by their labor and their valor, their conflicts with rude nature and with savage men; by their blood shed freely in so many battles; by their manly sagacity and the Divine instinct guiding them to build better than they knew. For us (in the Eternal Providence) were their hardships, their struggles, their sufferings, their heroic self denials. For us were the cares that wearied them and their conflicts in behalf of liberty. For us were the hopes that cheered in labor and strengthened them in battle. For us—no not for us alone, but for our children too, and for the unborn generations. They who were here a hundred years ago, saw not what we see to-day (oh! that they could have seen it), but they labored to win it for us, and for those who shall come after us. In this sense they entered into God’s plan and became the ministers of his beneficence to us. We bless their memory to-day and give glory to their God. He brought a vine out of Egypt when ho brought hither the heroic fathers of New England. He planted it and has guarded it age after age. We are now dwelling for a little while under its shadow and partaking of its fruit. Others will soon be in our places, and the inheritance will be theirs. As the fathers lived not for themselves but for us, so we are living for those who will come after us. Be it ours so to live that they shall bless God for what we have wrought as the servants of his love ; and that age after age, till time shall end, may repeat our fathers’ words of trust and of worship, Latin Motto: Qui Transtulit Sustinet. (English translation: He who transplanted sustains)

See also:
Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of America from the Ancient Authors Part 1

Non-Revisionist Politically Incorrect History of the World With Biblical References Part 1

Joseph Baldwin: Address 1892, to National Teachers Association in New York
Eulogy of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams by Daniel Webster

THE GRAND MISSION OF AMERICA by Joseph H. Twitchell, July 4, 1876

rev_joseph_h_twichellTHE GRAND MISSION OF AMERICA. AN ADDRESS BY REV. JOSEPH H. TWITCIIELL 1838-1918, A Lincoln Republican and the reported best friend of Samuel L. Clemens i.e. Mark Twain. Delivered At The Centennial Celebration At Hartford, Conn., July 4th, 1876.

This republic was ordained of God who has provided the conditions of the organization of the race into nations by the configuration of land and the interspaces of the sea. By these national organizations the culture and development of the race are secured. We believe that our nation is a creature of God— that he ordained it for an object, and we believe that we have some comprehension of what that object is. He gave us the best results of the travail of ages past for an outfit, separating us from the circumstances that in the existing nations encumbered these results, and sent us forth to do his will. We built on foundations already prepared a new building. Other men had labored and we entered upon their labors. God endowed and set us for a sign to testify the worth of men and the hope there is for man. And we are rejoicing to-day that in our first hundred years we seem to have measurably—measurably—fulfilled our Divine calling. It is not our national prosperity, great as it is, that is the appropriate theme of our most joyful congratulations, but it is our success in demonstrating that men are equal as God’s children, which affords a prophecy of better things for the race. That is what our history as a lesson amounts to.

There have been failures in particulars, but not on the whole; though we fall short, yet still, on the whole, the outline of the lesson may be read clearly. The day of remembrance and of recollection is also the day of anticipation. We turn from looking back one hundred years to looking forward one hundred. It is well for some reasons to dwell upon to-day, but the proper compliment of our memories, reaching over generations, is hope reaching forward over a similar period of time. Dwelling on to-day—filling our eyes with it—we can neither see far back nor far on. We are caught in the contemplation of evils that exist and that occupy us with a sense of what has not been done and of unpleasing aspects. True there are evils, but think what has been wrought in advancing the work of the grand mission of America. Do we doubt that the work is to go on? No! There are to be strifes and contending forces. But as out of strife has come progress, so will it be hereafter. Some things that we have not wanted, as well as some things that we have wanted have been done, yet on the whole the result is progress. It is God’s way to bring better things by strife. (The speaker here alluded to the battle of Gettysburg, where he officiated as chaplain in the burial of the dead—the blue and the gray often in the same grave—and said that the only prayer that he could offer was “Thy will be done, thy Kingdom come on earth as it . is in heaven.”

The republic is to continue on in the same general career it has hitherto followed. The same great truths its history has developed and realized in social and civil life are to still farther emerge. The proposition that all men are created equal is to be still further demonstrated. Human rights are to be vindicated and set free from all that would deny them—Is any law that asserts the dignity of human nature to be abrogated? Never. The Republic is to become a still brighter and brighter sign to the nations to show them the way to liberty. We have opened our doors to the oppressed. Are those doors to be closed? No; a thousand times no. We have given out an invitation to those who are held in the chains of wrong. Is that invitation to be recalled? No, never. The invitation has been accepted; and here the speaker alluded to the fact—which shows how homogenous we finally become as a nation, though heterogeneous through immigration—that the Declaration of Independence is read here to-day by a man whoso father was born in Ireland; the national songs are sung by a man who was himself born in Ireland; and the company of singers here, nearly all, were born in Germany. Then he passed to the subject of Chinese education in this country and spoke of Yung Wing and his life-work, alluding to him as the representative of the better thought and hope of China, and then paid his respects to that part of the Cincinnati platform which alludes to this race. So long as he had voted he had given his support to this political party whose convention was held at Cincinnati, but that platform wherein it seems on this point to verge toward un-American doctrine, he repudiated; “I disown it; I say woe to its policy; I bestow my malediction upon it.” Now, if there is any one here who will pay like respect to the platform of the other party the whole duty will be done. We are urged to-day in view of our calling, and of the fulfillment of the past to set our faces and hearts toward the future in harmony and sympathy with the hope we are to realize. Let every man make it a personal duty and look within himself. God save the Republic! May it stand in righteousness and mercy ; so only can it stand. If we forsake our calling, God will take away the crown He has given us. The kingdom of God will be taken from us and given to another nation which shall bring forth the fruits thereof.

See also:
The Consequence of Bad Legal Precedent in American Legislation
True American Patriotism Defined by Hon. Curtis Guild and H. F. Kinnerney 1876
THE SOURCE AND SECURITY OF AMERICAN FREEDOM AND PROGRESS by Courtlandt Parker 1876
PATRIOT SONS OF PATRIOT SIRES by Rev. Samuel Francis Smith 1808-1895
Joseph Baldwin: Address 1892, to National Teachers Association in New York
TRUE FREEDOM! A Poem by James Russell Lowell 1819-1891
THE GENIUS OF AMERICA by Hon. Dr. Felix R. Brunot July 4, 1876
A PRAYER FOR THE NATION by Rev. William Bacon Stevens July 4, 1876
Advice to Young People from Noah Webster Father of American Education
The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation by Noah Webster
COURAGE! A Poem by Bryan Waller Procter 1787-1874
AIM HIGH! An Address by President Benjamin Harrison 1893
A GOOD NAME by Joel Hawes 1789-1867

THE SOURCE AND SECURITY OF AMERICAN FREEDOM AND PROGRESS by Courtlandt Parker 1876

Courtlandt Parker 1818- 1907The History and Events That Led to The Founding of the United States of America! One Nation Under God! (Long, but very well worth the read)

This is our year of Jubilee. A hundred years have rolled away since the Declaration of our Independence as States, and the formation of the confederacy which ripened into nationality: but little more than two hundred years since the earliest wanderers “not knowing whither they went,” ignorant whether to hope or to despair, left the shallops upon which they had braved the ocean, and sought upon this continent a new home.

 
See also:
HISTORY BEFORE and DURING THE ERA OF THE FORMATION OF THE CONSTITUTION of the UNITED STATES
AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE by Samuel Adams Delivered to Congress Aug 1, 1776
 

One hundred years! The life-time of some few men. Some child born this moment may see the recurrence of a century. But how brief a portion is it of the life of most nations! In the clays of Pericles, Athens had existed over one thousand years. Almost seven hundred intervened between the birth of Augustus Caesar and the building of Rome. The census of the great city thirty years before the Christian Era, made its population 4,000,000 souls. Sixteen hundred years comprise the life-time of Egypt from its foundation until Cambyses became its conqueror, while from the union of the Kingdoms of Great Britain under the name of England, until the birth of Shakespeare, was over seven hundred years; from thence till now, more than three hundred more. The greatness of America attained in one hundred years, judged by the ordinary tests of national progress, can perhaps best be appreciated by each a brief summary, exhibiting at a glance the time required for the development of other Empires, in contrast with that taken for our own.

The century over which we rejoice has been one of rare development in every quarter, and in every field of human progress. Think of the events which have distinguished it. That establishment of separation from the mother country which we wrongly term the war of the Revolution; the rightly called Revolution of France; the wars succeeding, which devastated Europe, and illustrated the career of the greatest captain of the world; the singular, romantic and varying life of his distinguished nephew, passing from a prison to a throne, and thence to inglorious flight and death in luxurious exile; the rise of the great Russian Empire from almost barbarism to the second station among civilized nations; the creation of Australia; the almost new creation of Italy; the subjugation, complete, though sudden, of France to Germany; as sudden and more complete than when the brave and adventurous Henry the Fifth brought to his knees the French monarch of his day at the bloody field of Agincourt; the romantic conquest of Mexico by our own arms; the strange revelation and settlement of California ; and springing from or at least connected with it the stupendous Civil War through which we ourselves have passed, with its momentous consequences to us, to the race so long enslaved among us, to all mankind, in that it has demonstrated the inherent toughness of Democracy, and revealed that we are a Nation which, if it may crumble, can never be overcome or fall; all these and many more historical events have distinguished this great century and made it most remarkable of all which the world has ever seen. The man whose life spans it, has beheld more stupendous changes than were ever crowded before within so short a time.

It cannot be fairly alleged that the century past excells its predecessors in individual, intellectual or moral development. Knowledge has been widely diffused, and in certain directions greatly increased. But it is not the era of great men, of deepest and most powerful thinkers. It seems as if diffusion was almost inconsistent with depth. The distinction of the ago is in discovery, more than in thought . But in this region, namely, that of material discovery, the deeds of the century have been even more remarkable than its political history. Who can enumerate them? Invention has been most prolific and successful, revolutionizing the methods and laws of life and action everywhere. In war, the clumsy firelock and insignificant though awe-inspiring ordnance of 1776 have given place to the breach-loader, the revolver, the chassepot and needle-gun, the mitrailleuse, the rifle cannon, the huge columbiad and other mighty weapons, whose roar makes that which appalled our forefathers seem nothing in comparison, while fortifications once impregnable are now regarded as utterly and absurdly unavailing. The “wooden walls of England” have come to be despised. A Yankee contriver produced a contemptible naval “cheese-box” whose marvelous success, both for offense and defense, has thrown doubt on the utility of ordinary ships, and art is now seeking in submarine navigation and the use of torpedo boats the means of naval attack and defense. It is through war that nations attain Peace, and to-day the art of war is not simply revolutionized; it is positively mystified; taught to distrust everything it knows, groping for some discovery or invention by which to contend successfully with the inventions which have made old schemes and weapons ridiculous. In agriculture, methods and means are entirely changed. True, the old plans remain. Virgil’s Georgics [The Georgics is a poem in four books, likely published in 29 BC] may still instruct the farmer. The plow, the harrow, the spade, the hoe, the scythe, the flail and the sickle still remain. But with these ancient implements, the reaper, the mower, the planter, the thresher, and a host of other labor-savers have largely done away with personal toil, whilst chemistry and science have made the earth teem with strange fertility, and the art of gardening has furnished its votaries with the power of almost creation.

In medicine and surgery the progress of the century is perhaps most remarkable. Vaccination has all but quelled the direst of all pestilences. Chemistry has supplied specifics remedying in skillful hands almost every chronic disease, while anaesthetics have robbed surgery of its terrors and made operations possible and common which before men never dared. The victories of medical and surgical skill over disease and death during the wars which have lately scourged Europe and America have illustrated a heroism, individual and professional, not excelled in any age: a devotion to duty and to scientific research of which the world may well be proud.

In mechanics what triumphs have abounded. The perfected cotton-gin brought into many times multiplied use as a fabric for clothing, warmth and decoration almost unknown before, and stimulated an agriculture, the value of which changed the seat of empire. But the steam engine—what differences to mankind have not been produced by its discovery and application. The stationary steam engine disembowels the earth or foils fable in the multiplication of mechanical production. Applied as a motive power it has changed the habits and character of the world. The steamboat upon our rivers; the magnificent steamship defying nature and making the ocean its slave; the locomotive, annihilating space and time, binding together distant realms and opposite oceans, so that no region on earth seems any longer foreign; could imagination picture what would happen were the use of steam suddenly lost? Yet before this century it was not known.

Even more wonderful in its effects upon mankind has been the discovery of magnetism and the telegraph. Europe lies just across the road. Its inhabitants are our companions with whom we hold daily converse.

Catalogue a few of the mechanical inventions of this wonderful century. The steam engine, the telegraph, the photograph, the hydraulic press, the repeater, the steamboat, the steamship, the locomotive, the diving bell, the rolling mill, the sewing machine. In each word what revolutions in Science and Art and in the habits of life and society start up before the mind.

A noticeable fact in regard to most, if not all, these revolutionizing inventions is that they were the work either of Englishmen or Americans. The progress of the century is mainly due to this one branch of the human family, and the same thing is true most extensively of minor inventions and discoveries. This may be called the Anglo-American century. Other peoples have adopted what Englishmen or American have suggested or begun. But these have led in the march of society.

Whence this striking fact? Whence the prominence, and I hesitate not to stay, without stopping more carefully to prove it, the superiority of this race of mankind during the century just concluded? It was not always so. Up to the reign of Elizabeth and even to its termination in 1603, Spain was a greater power than England; Spaniards more enterprising as sailors and discoverers; more distinguished in the history of the world. A hundred years before, three hundred Spaniards had conquered Cuba. Some ninety years previous, Cortez had taken Mexico. About the same time, Magellan sailed through the straits which bear his name and thus entered the Pacific Ocean. A few years later, in 1533, Pizarro completed his wicked conquest of Peru. France at that time was likewise greater than England, and even colonized in America with greater energy and earlier. The Empire of the Western World was long the prize of doubtful struggle among these three great nations. Even North America was parceled among them. Florida, named by its Spanish Governor in 1512 and only ceded to the United States in 1821, and Canada, whose dominion by the French began in 1535 and ended in 1759, show by their very names how easily the destiny of this land of ours might have been altered.

Again do we recur to the question, why the prominence during the last century of England and America? Why their wonderful progress, while other nations, greater once than England, and far greater than infant America, even when progressive, halt and fall behind?

I speak of the progress of England during this eventful century, taking it into consideration at the same time with our own. It is right and profitable that we do so—it will tend to restrain our pride, and if rightly studied, perhaps to give us lessons for our future. Let us pause in our consideration of the great question proposed, and glance, though but a moment, at the mighty structure, the British Empire.

The area of the British Isles is some 123,000 square miles; less than California, or Dakotah, or Montana; not half as large as Texas; somewhat over twice as large as the State of New York. But the area of all other British possessions is 3,034,827 square miles, situate everywhere, so that it is true, without a figure, that Britain’s morning drum heralds the sun in its progress through the world. And this, though our arms wrested from Great Britain so much of all the immense country now belonging to the United States and its territories, comprising no less than 3,014,784 square miles.

The population of these islands in 1871 was 31,817,108. But under their sway, there were besides 208,091,858. In 1780, the population of these islands did not exceed 15,800,000. That of their possessions certainly then bore no comparison to the number existing now.

The population of the United States, in 1790 was 3,929,214; 1870, 38,558,371. The area of the original States was only 820,680. That of the Union now 3,614,784

It were enough for America to be the daughter of such a mother. The grandest proof of our progress is the fact that the population of the Union to-day exceeds that of the islands of Great Britain by some 7,000,000, while one hundred years ago, our numbers were scarcely one-fifth of theirs; nearly 12,000,000 less .

It were profitless to go further; to state the material wealth of these two great Empires or to show their increase in the century. It is enough to realize the number subject to their dominion—the extent of the world’s area over which each rules. We come back to the question most interesting, why the prominence of these two great commonwealths; why their admitted eminence in progress during this eminently progressive century?

Each owes much to isolation and abundant opportunity; much to the blood which flows in the veins of its people; much to the civil institutions which have molded their character, and through which, doubtless, both the similarities and differences of Englishmen and Americans have been worked out. But we cannot fail to observe one striking fact. The impetus of English greatness was given by the generation that settled America. It was pushed onwards by the immediately succeeding generations, following for the most part the same course of thought and practice, and from which, from time to time, successive colonies came. The England of to-day is the England first fairly developed in the reign of Elizabeth and James, and which has since only been modified, never fully changed. The America of today, departing, I fear, too carelessly from the principles of its originators, is yet great and worthy just in proportion as it adheres to them. To state the view I wish to maintain in short compass, it is this: the character and greatness of England and America, of Englishmen and Americans, are the result of the principles of tolerant Christianity, that is to say, of the open Bible and the inculcation of its precepts and doctrines. The freedom of which we rightly boast is better than any other freedom because it is that which springs from the open Bible, and is reverential and dutiful at the same time that it asserts the rights of man. The progress over which we celebrate this year of jubilee, is due, would we but see it, to the action of those elements of character, which the open Bible, revered and followed as the fathers revered and followed it originates and strengthens—and if we would maintain that progress; if we would have the Nation live more centuries; yea! if we would have the next find us a strong, united and happy people, we must retain the open Bible as a legal institution, insisting upon its use in all education regulated by law, and furthering it by all means consistent with law. This is the grand subject which I venture this day to suggest. A subject, which in fact, one can do little more than suggest, but which is super-eminently worthy of the careful thought of the distinguished society, a branch of which I have the honor to address in this Centennial year of its establishment.

The historical allegation that the reigns of Elizabeth and her successor date the development or first impetus of English greatness, of what peculiarly marks the English character, will be, I think, generally accepted. It was indeed a most remarkable period. The wars of the Roses had toughened the hearts and sinews of the commonalty. The sentiment and habit of duty which were the strength and recommendation of the Feudal system had increased the native manliness which seems inherent in the race. The habit of using martial weapons which the law required; the enforcement of industry; the punishment and contempt of sturdy vagrancy and tramps; the simplicity of diet and of dress; the strict requisition of honest weights, measures and prices, all enforced by statute; the fierceness in fight which won Cressy and Agincourt, the simple-hearted patriotism which made every man think first of England than of himself—these had made a people fit indeed for great things.

Over them ruled the Church. Their information in holy story was mainly given by plays and pageants, mystery plays, like those still used in Germany, dramas of religion or popular legends. Not over five millions of people existed in all England; their habits of life simple in the extreme.

Then came the discovery of printing, and in due time the printed Bible. First, Tyndale’s in 1526 to 1536, the mere possession of a copy of which was its owner’s passport to the flames; then Myles Coverdale’s in 1535, patronized by Lord Cromwell; then Cranmer’s, the first Bible published in England, a copy of which in 1540 was required to be placed in every Parish Church; then Whittingham’s, Parker’s or the Bishop’s Bible dated 1560 and 1568, and finally the Douay or Catholic version in 1609.

Simultaneously or shortly before these publications which mainly effected the English people, properly so called, came the outburst of English letters and talent. The lower world was on fire; the upper a series of constellations. In Church and State, in Poetry and Drama, in Philosophy and Statesmanship, in voyages and travels, in arts and in arms, the Elizabethan age stands grandly eminent, unapproached by aught else in the history of mankind. Think of a period, and that when population was so small, that could produce a Bacon, a Shakespeare, a Spencer and a Sydney, a Cecil, a Marlowe, a Johnson, a More, a Drake, and a Raleigh, besides a crowd of others whom it were a pleasure, could we stop to remember.

But the great feature of the period, especially that ranging between the middle of the reign of Elizabeth and the meeting of the Long Parliament, was the supremacy attained by the Bible. Says an eloquent and graphic writer of modern date, “England became the people of a book and that book was the Bible.” It was as yet the one English book which was familiar to every Englishman: it was read at churches, and read at home, and everywhere its words as they fell on ears which custom had not deadened to their force and beauty, kindled a startling enthusiasm. When Bishop Bonner set up the first six Bibles in St. Paul’s “many well disposed persons used much to resort to the hearing thereof, especially when they could get any that had an audible voice to read to them.” Says an old writer, “it was wonderful to see with what joy the book of God was received, not only among the learned sort, but generally all England over, among all the vulgar and common people: and with what greediness God’s word was read, and what resort to places where the reading of it was; everybody that could bought the book, or busily read it, or got others to read it to them if they could not themselves.”

Quoting again from Mr. Green’s history of the English people, “the popularity of the Bible was owing to other causes besides that of religion. The whole prose literature of England, save the forgotten tracts of Wycliffe, has grown up since the translation of the Scriptures by Tyndale and Coverdale. No history or romance, no poetry, save the little known verse of Chaucer, existed for any practical purpose in the English tongue, when the Bible was ordered to be set up in churches. Sunday after Sunday, day after day, the crowds that gathered around Bonner’s Bible in the nave of St. Paul’s; or the family group that hung on the words of the Geneva Bible in the devotional exercises at home, were leavened with a new literature. Legends and annals, war song and psalm, state rolls and biographies, the mighty voices of prophets, the parables of Evangelists, stories of mission journeys, of perils by the sea and among the heathen, philosophic arguments, apocalyptic visions, all were flung broadcast upon minds unoccupied for the most part by any rival learning. As a mere literary monument, the English version of the Bible remains the noblest example of the English tongue. Its perpetual use made it from the instant of its appearance the standard of our language. But for the moment its literary effect was less than its social. The power of the book over the mass of Englishmen showed itself in a thousand superficial ways, and in none more conspicuously, than in the influence it exerted on ordinary speech. It formed, we must repeat, the whole literature which was practically acceptable to ordinary Englishmen, and when we recall the number of phrases which we owe to our great authors, the bits of Shakspeare or Milton which unconsciously interweave themselves in our ordinary talk, we should better understand the strange mosaic of Biblical words and phrases which colored English talk two hundred years ago.  But far greater than its effect on literature or social phrase, was the effect of the Bible on the character of the people at large. Elizabeth might silence or tune the pulpits, but it was impossible for her to silence or tune the great preachers of justice, and mercy, and truth which spoke from the book which she had again opened for her people. The whole moral effect which is produced now-a-days by the religious newspaper, the tract, the essay, the lecture, the missionary report, the sermon, was then produced by the Bible alone. And its effect in this way, however dispassionately we examine it, was simply amazing. The whole temper of the nation was changed. A new conception of life and of man superseded the old. A new moral and religious impulse spread through every class. Literature reflected the general tendency of the time. “Theology rules there,” said Grotius, of England, only ten years after the Queen’s death.  “The whole nation became in fact a church.””

Out of all this, and under the action of many wonderful changes and providences, upon which we can look now and plainly see that the Hand of the Almighty directed, with bluff King Harry fighting with the Pope and appealing to the “Word against him, his self-will and sensuality thus giving aid to the triumph of the open Bible—with lovely Edward piously giving himself up to the completion of the Reformation—with Mary and Philip fanatically inaugurating persecution and lighting the fires of Smithfleld and Oxford—with Elizabeth in her turn contending with Spain, and with the aid of Providence dispersing and destroying the great hostile Armada—out of all this, I say, was evolved the Puritan—not the grim precision, morose, ascetic, penurious, canting and hypocritical which that word ordinarily calls up and describes, and which, in later years too often claimed the title; but the true and original Puritan, who was not necessarily or at first even a separatist, but adhered to the Church and its ministers, and sought honestly to reform, not to destroy. It was, said Fuller, “a name used to stigmatize all those who endeavored in their devotions to accompany the minister with a pure heart, and who were remarkably holy in their conversation. A Puritan was a man of severe morals, a Calvinist in doctrine, and (at last) a non-conformist to all the ceremonies and discipline of the Church, though he did not wholly separate from it.

What manner of men and women these were, or might be, consistently with this title, the same author from whom I quote graphically describes. Of one of them he chronicles the personal beauty which distinguished his youth, taking note from a wife’s description of him,“of his teeth, even and white as the purest ivory, his hair of brown, very thick-set in his youth, softer than the finest silk, curling with loose, great rings at the end.” Serious as was his temper in graver matters, he was fond of hawking and piqued himself on his skill in dancing and fence. His artistic taste showed itself in a critical love of “engravings, sculpture and all liberal arts,” as well as in the pleasure he took in his gardens, in the improvement of his grounds, in planting groves, and walks, and fruit trees! If he was diligent in his examination of the Scriptures “he had a great love for music, and often diverted himself with a viol, on which he played masterly.” The temper of the Puritan gentleman was just, noble and self-controlled. The larger geniality of the age that had passed away shrank into an intense tenderness within the narrow circle of the home. “He was as kind a father,” goes on the description already begun, “as dear a brother, as good a master, as faithful a friend as the world had. Passion was replaced by manly purity. Neither in youth nor ripe years could the fair or enticing woman draw Viim so much as into unnecessary familiarity or dalliance. Wise and virtuous women he loved, and delighted in all pure and holy and unblemished conversation with them, but so as never to excite scandal or temptation. Scurrilous discourse even among men he abhorred, and though he sometimes took pleasure in wit or mirth, yet that which was mixed with impurity he never could endorse. The play and willfulness of life, the Puritan regarded as unworthy of its character and end. His aim was to attain self-command; to be master of himself, of his thought and speech and acts A certain gravity and reflectiveness gave its tone to the lightest details of his daily converse with the world about him. His temper, quick as might be, was kept under strict control. In his discourse he was ever on his guard against talkativeness or frivolity, striving to be deliberate in speech, and ranking the words beforehand. His life was orderly and methodical, sparing of diet and self-indulgence; he rose early ; he never was at any time idle, and hated to see any one else so. The new sobriety and self-restraint marked itself even in his change of dress. Gorgeous colors and jewels disappeared. This no doubt reflected a certain loss of color and variety in life itself; but it was a loss compensated by solid gain. Greatest among them was the new conception of social equality. Their common call, their brotherhood in Christ, annihilated in the mind of the Puritans that overpowering sense of social distinctions which characterized a preceding age. The meanest peasant felt himself ennobled as a child of God. The proudest noble recognized a spiritual equality in the poorest saint. Of one of the representative men it is written” he had a loving and sweet courtesy to the poorest; he never disdained the meanest nor flattered the greatest.

Such was puritanism among the highest. Akin to it was Puritanism among the lower classes. Milton, John Bunyan, Penn, Hampden—these names suggest classes from which they sprung and show us who they were who laid the foundations of English and American greatness. It were delight to dwell upon personal descriptions and live awhile among such men and women. But it is impossible. We must endeavor to hasten on with the subject involved.

Nor can we stop to show how this sort of people changed; how their characteristics exaggerated, intensified, and became unnatural; how, in later days, piety became sanctimony; sobriety, moroseness; sense of right, tyrannous, self-will; frugality, covetousness; virtue, too often hypocrisy; toleration and charity, the very incarnation of their original merit, bitter intolerance and iron compression of opinion. All this, too true of latest puritanism, did not belong to the earlier. It evidently was a natural growth under the conditions of contest, legal repression and general conflict to which puritanism was exposed. But it was not a necessary one-—with judicious treatment, it would have been avoided.

The gardener, seeking successfully to propagate a noble plant, chooses the best stock at its healthiest prime, and then selecting the most promising bud, fullest of sap and vitality, he severs it, and carefully conveying and nursing it, in due time grafts it on some hardy stock, assured that it will permeate and renew it . And so the Divine Gardener and Creator selected the exact moment when the open Bible had done its noblest work, developed and bruit up the purest, holiest character, and then permitting wrongs and conditions likely to effect that object, He directed an emigration, a conveying of the best part of England to the distant wilderness, there to grow into a nation, like the other, yet even more progressive; of a freedom similar though perhaps more self-asserting, likely to produce a type of men with more active energy than that of those who remained; a nation which, daughter of England not only, but a child of England’s special freedom, the freedom of the open Bible, would take its place beside her as a bulwark of tolerant Christianity, a dispenser through all ages of the blessings to mankind which naturally spring therefrom.

No thoughtful man can fail to note the difference between the motives which generally brought the first settlers to America and those which have actuated other emigration. It was lust of gold which led the Spaniard to Mexico and Peru and Cuba and elsewhere, mingled with the stern missionary martyr spirit which distinguished Jesuit self-sacrifice. It was lust of gold which in our day settled California and Australia. It was lust of wealth and power which made Great Britain mistress of the Indies. But with those who from 1610 on to 1700, when large emigration well nigh ceased, defied the storms and sought homes in America, whence soever they came and with scarce an exception, whether from Holland, Sweden, Denmark or England, the motive of expatriation was the full enjoyment of the open Bible— of the right, that is, to believe, and to act upon their belief, of what it teaches; to enjoy the freedom of which it tells, and which it prompts; a freedom which establishes social equality among all men combined with and because of subjection to the will of God: a freedom which implies law, self-restraint, love and regard of one’s neighbor, mutual respect among all citizen’s; a freedom which prompts activity, self-improvement, progress; a freedom different in character from that which consists with Atheism, Theism or irreligion precisely in that point which has made these two nations so progressive, to wit, that man is intrinsically so capable of elevation that it is his duty ever to seek it.

In a word, the freedom here established, and preserved, and existing in the mother country by English law, illustrates at least in comparison with other nations civilized or barbarous which have it not, what is declared by the Divine Founder of Christianity: “if the truth therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

I call it “the freedom of the open Bible“-—into which phrase enter two great doctrines: first, that it is not, as with many, merely a book, however to be admired and comparatively regarded, but the Bible—authoritative, true, supreme—next, that it is to be open—open to all, not to be kept for sacerdotal or other exposition merely—not to be followed in the way of some rather than of others, but for each human being to follow in his own way, according to private judgment, with such wisdom as he can acquire and on his own responsibility. Worshipful reverence for the Book, combined with toleration towards all who conscientiously follow it, whatever their differences, and with pitiful regard to such as conscientiously and respectfully impugn it, this is the foundation of the freedom which has done such great things for England and for America, and through them for the world.

How in each Nation this fundamental law of the open Bible, whose natural product is tolerant Christianity, has been established and preserved, through all the changes and chances of the life of nations, is a subject full of interest. In the British Isles, Puritanism, the first fruits as I have insisted of the open Bible, found an established Church, part of the law of the land; a pillar of the State, and of the Crown: in Scotland following one form of sectarian theology, in England another. Struggling for influence within the Church, it found obstacles, and then occurred contention which affected the character of both contestants. Antagonism shaped both, and neither party was the better in the end. But, for all that, with both the two great blessings remained: the Bible, in the Church as out of it was the Book, and religious belief of every sort was tolerated. True, exceptions to this toleration, or at least restrictions, on the manifestations of contrary belief, occurred both abroad and here. But this has always been temporary and at last rejected, and while we in America have always scouted an established Church with a remnant to-day of the rancor of the fathers against it, we yet may doubt whether, without the establishment of Churches in England, Scotland, Holland and other commonwealths, our form of Christianity could have been so strong, or civilization and progress so advanced and secure.

For the forces opposed to the open Bible were, and are even still, so organized and so supported by civil power, that like organization and support were perhaps necessary. The ends of Providence, one may almost think he sees, required that England, the chosen chief champion of Protestant Christianity and illustration of its effects, a European power with others to contend with or to influence, should be for all these centuries more of a monarchy than a republic, while America, afar off, to whom all must come over the seas, but with an inimitable future in its immense area, could with safety at once exemplify that republicanism to which the open Bible leads. And so in the Providence of the Most High, there came about for Britain the established Churches of the two Kingdoms, combined with their noble Universities and schools, while in America the hearts of men were led to the establishment of the system of Public Schools, in itself and by itself insufficient, except that in them, as everywhere else, there was permitted the open Bible, and except Colleges and Universities, developing a higher culture than is possible in Public Schools, were consecrated to positive instruction in religion.

It is these great agencies at home and abroad that have done the great work of this marvelous century; the Church, the College and the School, all fostered by the Civil Law and shaped by Providence with a skill in adaptation equal to that in physical culture for the production of the peculiar growths required there and here.

A word more on this topic, tiresome though I may be. The distinction of the British Constitution is its composite nature, the harmony with which it commingles all three of the known forms of government. Its outward strength lies in its aristocracy which remains in England, though it has perished almost everywhere else, and exerts a conservative force whose value can hardly be overestimated; especially because it supplies reward for merit and exertion, and thus constantly keeps up the existence of intellectual ability and strong character. The greatness of Britain is largely due to this. The number of men of force and culture there, as well as the extent of culture when it exists, is very great.

And yet it is not difficult to see that this is in a great degree the fruit of the Puritanism I have described, the true Puritanism, earliest offspring of the open Bible. It was this earnest religion that created most, if not all, of those numerous endowed schools everywhere to be found; in all of which religious teaching is a prominent feature, and which are the nurseries of Scholarship. From the lowest, meritorious pupils pass as a reward to some higher, one and from that to some still higher, until at last the peculiar few reach Oxford or Cambridge, where industry and success reap exalted reward in fellowships, in the Church, or even Parliamentary membership. And then professional success and merit are rewarded by office, honor and hereditary nobility, so that the aristocracy is constantly renewed with a new and vigorous growth—and the race of Englishman proper is perpetuated.

The system established here under the inspiration of the earliest settlers, and wrought into the frame work of our civil polity, was calculated to attain like results without repression of popular power. It is easy to see how it has shaped American characteristics and promoted American individualities. It had, like the other, several distinct means. First, the Public School, and in it always and everywhere and originally as a means of instruction, the open Bible. Second, Endowed Schools, Colleges and Seminaries, all for the most part under denominational influence, and all thus teaching religious truth. Third, Voluntary Churches with their educational adjuncts, the great source after all of popular and universal education, and upon which, today, the liberty and progress of America depend more directly than upon any other foundation. Through these we have as yet prospered; very much because of that feature of our Constitution, out-growth itself of evident Providence, by which we are divided into separate states or communities, and enabled thus more thoroughly to attend to these important fundamental forces. It is under their stimulus that American character is so independent, so self-asserting, so intelligent, so progressive, so universally, perhaps, audacious in every field of thought and action. The differences between American and English character are plainly traceable to the universal diffusion of education among us—to its comparatively superficial character—to the exclusively materialistic nature of the rewards to be gained by exertion. And alas, with all, there is clear experience of one great inherent defect: so great that unless it is met speedily, the end of all may come, that the Bible which created and shaped our freedom, and veneration and love for which, originated our schools, is, practically, no longer open there; is in fact, in many places, the only book legally and by name forbidden and excluded. Such a possibility, it is plain, never occurred to the fathers, whether of the seventeenth or the eighteenth century. Had they dreamed of it, they would have framed our Constitution so as always to avoid it. A horror of religious tyranny, an enthusiasm for religious freedom and for the formularies of religious toleration, led them to forget the dangers which might spring from the toleration of systematic irreligion and from the acts of those who, too highly valuing their own creed, first undermine public education by obtaining the exclusion of religion from Schools, and then prepare to attack the system as therefore positively and absolutely injurious.

My Fellow Citizens: If I have seemed thus far desultory and not practical, I trust it has been only in appearance. I meet you on the threshold of a new century, a century called by the world the second century of the Republic, but really the third, substantially, of the formation of the American nation, a graft, yet a separate stock from England in this continent, then the region of vastness and mystery. The train of thought I have thus far followed I trust is natural and pertinent. The chief distinctions of the century; to whom they specially belong; that they have resulted from the natural action, under Providence, of that peculiar sort of freedom which is British in contradistinction to that of any other nationality; the origin and individualities of that freedom, its intrinsic characteristics and worth: how it has been nurtured and maintained abroad—how here among ourselves; these are the great topics at which I have glanced, suggesting them merely to your future reflection, and all along with a practical purpose, to wit, to sound the alarm for the future of the Public School, and of the country, whose institutions confessedly depend upon it, and to appeal to all to uphold and extend collegiate education under denominational influences as a means beyond the reach of political majorities, whereby the open Bible may still be a positive institution, its precepts positively inculcated, and the freedom and progress which depend upon it thus perpetuated. For, if we will’ only observe and think, we must plainly see that, so far, no freedom has lasted, anywhere, where there was not the open Bible—that is to say, the Christian religion, with perfect toleration.

It is just here that I am met with the ordinary and plausible objection that the American Constitution acknowledges no religion, and does not even mention a God, and that its only reference to it is the amendment ” that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” the argument being that nothing which teaches religion can be done under the provisions of law. To which there is easy reply : first, that the subject is one not intended to belong to Congress, nor to the national Legislature; that it concerns internal police, a topic entirely reserved to the States; that if this is not fully correct still the very amendment, construed by the established rule “Expressio unius est exclusio, alterius,” (Translation: Expression of one is the exclusion of the other) legalizes all legislation by Congress on the subject of religion not implying its establishment nor the prohibition of its free exercise—and that it is to the Christian religion beyond all doubt that this amendment relates. And this view is strengthened by a later amendment which makes a difference in guilt between those in arms against it who have taken an oath (appealing thereby to God) to support the government, and those who have not. I add that Congress has, from the beginning, legislated and acted so as to acknowledge religion as by requiring an oath of office and oaths from witnesses and by punishing perjury, by establishing by rule the opening of their sessions with prayer, and by constituting chaplains, both for themselves and for troops, and manifold other acknowledgments of the Supreme Being and the Christian religion which He has ordained.

And going back to documents still operative, except so far as expressly and by necessary implication repealed, we find the articles of confederation recite that “it has pleased the Great Governor of the world to incline the hearts of the Legislatures of the various States to ratify this perpetual union;” we find the Declaration of Independence asserting the being of God, His Creation and the equality He established among men, appealing to Him as the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of the intentions of its signers, and expressing that they rely on “Divine Providence for protection” in the struggle they initiated; we find Congress after the Revolution passing the celebrated ordinance of 1787, for the government of the territory Northwest of the River Ohio, and declaring certain articles of compact between the original States and the people and States in the territory, forever unalterable save by common consent, in order to “extending the fundamental principles of civil and religious liberty which form the bases whereon these republics, their laws and constitutions are erected, and to fix and establish those principles as the basis of all law and constitutions, and governments which forever shall be formed in the said territory;” and among these articles is the following: “Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, Schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” If these citations, with the practice of the Continental Congress and that which succeeded it, the successive Presidents and the various Departments, Executive and Judicial, all in acknowledgment of the claims of the Christian religion, do not negative the allegation that the Nation, as such, has no religion, it is difficult to say how such a charge can as to any nation be disproved.

The ordinance of 1787, when it mentioned religion and morality and made schools and education having them for its purpose or effect an unalterable compact between the old Thirteen and all its Northwest future, referred to the Christian religion; that religion which was held by all the people then within the newly-established confederation. That ordinance remained in force, notwithstanding the subsequent Constitution, and by it the government positively declared that it had a religion; that that religion was Christian, and that it was forever to remain and be promoted by schools.

But this argument for the Bible in the schools does not stop with the consideration of the national Constitution. As already said, the subject does not ex natura (Trans: From Nature) belong to Congress nor to national matters; it concerns internal police, a topic entirely reserved to the States, and when we consider the question in this light, all doubt dissipates. For those who will study the history of the various Colonies, will find in each that the maintenance and propagation of the Christian religion was one of their chief motives. If this was conspicuously true in New England, it was also true elsewhere, and especially in this our State of New Jersey. The Dutch who peopled Bergen and Somerset, the Quakers who found their home at Salem and Burlington, as well as the English Puritans who settled at Elizabeth, Newark and Woodbridge, and the Scotch who came later direct to Raritan Bay, all brought with them a deep sense of religion and sought its perpetuation. The laws of the early colonists stamped their form of Christianity on the commonwealth, and they have never been repealed. Our latest constitution formally adopts the Common law of which it is part, and in an illustration of it there yet appears upon our statute book a law in the words following : “all impostors in religion such as personate our Saviour Jesus Christ, or suffer their followers to worship or pay divine honors, or terrify, delude or abuse the people by false denunciation of judgments, shall, on conviction, suffer fine and imprisonment.” And another: “if any person shall willfully blaspheme the holy name of God, by denying, cursing or contumaciously reproaching His being or providence, or by cursing or by contumaciously reproaching Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost, or the Christian religion or the holy word of God (that is, the canonical Scriptures contained in the books of the Old and New Testament) or by profane scoffing at or exposing them or any of them to contempt and ridicule, any person so offending shall, on conviction, be punished by fine,” or in State’s Prison. The first constitution of the State, whose date is July 2, 1776, a Declaration of Independence prior to that in Philadelphia, made by a convention convened a month before and in session a century ago this day, declares in Article xix. that “there shall be no establishment of any one religious sect in this Colony, in preference to another, and that no Protestant inhabitant of this Colony shall be denied the enjoyment of any civil rights merely on account of his religious principles, but that all persons professing a belief in the faith of any Protestant sect shall fully and freely enjoy every privilege and immunity enjoyed by others, their fellow subjects.

The present Constitution, confirmed June 29,1844, begins with the fitting preamble, “We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing upon our endeavors to secure and transmit the same unimpaired to succeeding generations, do ordain and establish this Constitution.” Succeeding sections secure and perpetuate the fund for free schools for the equal benefit of all the people of the State. Can a reasonable man contend that in endeavoring to secure and transmit civil and religious liberty, a people grateful to Almighty God for it, and looking to Him for a blessing, can begin by driving His word from the schools, the chosen means of securing this security?

It is objected that this fund is for the equal benefit of all, and that if the Bible be in the school, those who deny it, or oppose its inculcation, pay tax without a benefit. I answer, that the context describes the public school as for the equal benefit of all, and so it is if all may, if they please, have advantage from it. Whatever the reason for which I do not choose to use it, it is my fault, if not my loss. I pay taxes for roads which I never use, for sewers with which I will not connect, for gas which I will not introduce. All taxes suppose equal benefit to all the assessed. No one can resist payment if by possibility, living within the district, he may have the benefit he refuses. , It is insisted by some that no use of the Bible can be made without in some degree teaching the opinions, held by the teacher, and that therefore the rights of sects are involved. The answer is that the risk is nothing to the harm which mast occur if anything like morals or religion is excluded from the schools. Beside, the argument would interdict all legal proceedings. Why should it be that the Bible should be acknowledged by oaths taken upon it, its Author daily appealed to as the final Judge of the World; belief in a future state of rewards and punishments made the test of the capacity to speak truth; and yet the Book and the name of the Almighty be excluded from the schools. What is this but to teach irreligion? And what is that but to make education a curse, instead of a blessing? Says wise and good Sir Thomas Moore in his Utopia: “If you allow your people to be badly taught, their morals to be corrupted from their childhood, and then when they are men punish them for the very crimes to which they have been trained in childhood—what is this, but first to make them thieves, and then to punish them?

Some say: divide the cost of public education among the sects, on condition of their maintaining the schools. Such a course would be resigning to others a duty which belongs to the State. Its result would be the abandonment of the fundamental principle of the Republic, expressed by Burke in the oft-repeated saying that “education is the cheap defense of nations;” more directly, that public safety requires the State to see to it that her citizens are fit to rule. In truth, the State ought to compel every child to attend some school. She cannot confide to others a duty so vital.

I should be ashamed, fellow citizens, to apologize for the seriousness of my subject . Its importance and propriety cannot be over estimated. No Fourth of July should be disgraced by bombast and self-adulation by exhilarants or anaesthetics. It is the National Sabbath, and like a sabbath, should be dedicated, not simply to rest and joy, but also to self-improvement. But this Centennial anniversary is a day of peculiar solemnity. Its arrival is a test of our national stability. We have invited the world to meet and rejoice with us. Only through God’s; mercy does it come to us. We have been snatched as the brands. from the very fire. It might have been a day of silence, of; shame and despair. The occasion calls for gravity, self-examination, truth, resolution of amendment, as well as for thankfulness and hope. Honest self-scrutiny forbids unmixed confidence. True, the nation has passed through many dangers. Foreign war has only strengthened it. Out of the terrific civil conflict from which we have just emerged, whose embers still smoke and every now and then almost blaze, it has come, politically, stronger than ever. But while the edifice stands erect when the people of the earth doubtful through the amazing struggle, are astonished and in view of the great things enacted before their eyes, the great mountain, whose top stone has been brought forth with shoutings, cry, “grace unto it,” while we hail the day as a minister of fraternity—a day of hand-shaking that is no longer a bloody chasm—a day of the fatted calf without a jealous brother, there are suddenly revealed signs of evil, occasions of grave anxiety. What timber in our edifice is sound? What stone beyond risk of crumbling? What spikes free from rust? What fastenings wholly secure? How dreadfully are we not illustrating the wisdom of Plato the Divine, when he said “as long as beggars hungering and thirsting for office, rush into the administration of public affairs, political life will be but a fierce contest for shadows, a strife for civil preeminence, as though this were in reality the highest good: laws will be but the remedies of quack physicians, giving temporary relief, yet ultimately aggravating what they cannot cure, whilst the rottenness of the foundation will finally bring down the superstructure, whatever may be the external form to which its security may be fondly confided.” The passage I quote seems well nigh inspired. Corruption, moral rottenness is the great danger of this Republic. Not in politics alone; far less in the action of one party or the other. What we find there, is but illustrative of what is elsewhere, yea, everywhere, Materialism is so triumphant. It has so eaten into the heart of all good things–I had almost said, of all good men. The higher life is so unpopular, so derided, so despised. What is generally desired that is not gilded? How few despise glitter and sound? How insane is the appetite for success? How dolefully do we all gaze around, searching for men—men such as we have read of—such as some of us have known—fit to be called statesmen. I do not say we have none. Thank God! we have, but, comparatively, how few. Most are but aspirants for personal success—the success of sound, of glitter, of shoddy style. It is the fault of our educational habits that their scope is so contracted. We hurry into action. The sooner at work, every man thinks, the better. So men are in action unequipped. And even the best rush by the shortest road towards their meditated goal. How many wait and seek the formation of character, make that their motive, and then seek or accept life’s tasks as duties. And so. general rottenness goes on, till even the horrid expositions on which the press batters to-day would be almost welcomed as necessary to the hope of better things, if it were not for the fear that familiarity with scandal and filth may breed contempt for evil accusation.

It is in view of this underlying want of moral tone, cropping out in every quarter that I have chosen and press my subject to-day. I have endeavored to speak as they would speak who laid the foundations of our freedom and progress, the men of 1664 who once walked these streets, who laid its broad avenues and parks, who established here religion and law, whose characteristics still live recognizable in many a descendant, whose lives and plans still contribute to the happiness we enjoy. I have endeavored to speak as they would speak who rejoiced one hundred years ago over the news of the Declaration we celebrate—a Declaration to which they came slowly, unwillingly, only from conscientious belief in its necessity, in calm religious resolution.

I have endeavored to speak as he would speak, chief promoter of the subsequent constitution, and so most of all, the Father of his Country.

Hear this Proclamation, made immediately on the completion of the Constitution, as an illustration of his views on the question whether the nation has a religion, and how intimately that religion should be connected with education.

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
A PROCLAMATION.

Whereas, it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey His Will, to be grateful for His Benefits, and to humbly implore His Protection and Favor; and whereas, both Houses of Congress have, by their joint Committee, requested me “To recommend to the people of the United States a day of public Thanksgiving and Prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful Hearts the many and signal Favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a Form of Government for their Safety and Happiness;” Now, Therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the twenty-sixth day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the Service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble Thanks for His kind Care and Protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation ; for the signal and manifold Mercies, and the favorable Interposition’s of His Providence in the Cause and Conclusion of the late War ; for the great Degree of Tranquility, Union and Plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rationale Manner in which we have been enabled to establish Constitutions of Government for our Safety and Happiness, and particularly the National one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious Liberty with which we are blessed, and the Means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful Knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various Favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, That we may then unite in most humbly offering our Prayers and Supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our National and other Transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private Stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually ; to render our National Government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a Government of wise, just and constitutional Laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations, (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good Government, Peace and Concord; to promote the Knowledge and Practice of true Religion and Virtue, and the Increase of Science among them and us; and generally, to grant unto all Mankind such a Degree of temporal Prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my Hand, at the City of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand, seven hundred and eighty-nine.

G. WASHINGTON.

I would speak the sentiments of these fathers on this solemn day. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. It is ever in danger. Now from foreign enmity—now from intestine strife— at other times, as now, from the growth of corruption—irreverence for right as right, materialism, defiling everything, destroying true manhood, disgusting the good and competent with public affairs, and leaving the State to be managed and directed by cunning incompetency, seeking and using place for profit, scoffing at duty,—in a word, from moral rottenness. And the escape and, blessed be God there will be escape—I speak with no fear, for God is with us—from ruin to come, the ruin that has befallen other republics, the ruin that has so far been avoided, because our freedom is that which comes of the open Bible, is restoration and increase of its dominance and influence. Stand by it, fellow citizens, as the true Palladium of your liberties. Maintain the schools—and maintain it in the schools. Let it be an institution there, recognized and revered. Thus much can we do as citizens, nor little as it seems can we over estimate its extent. But this must not be all. In every way must we seek to saturate the community with Christian morality. The Church, the Sunday School, Colleges and Academies where religion is directly taught, the support of these is not only our duty as Christians. It is our duty also as patriots. The very infidel, if he loves his country, will aid in the promulgation of tolerant Christianity and the morality it inculcates. For, let no man doubt that just in proportion to the extent that that morality prevails, just in proportion as we remain the land of the open Bible—in that proportion, and that only, may we be assured that our freedom and progress will last, and that another century will find the Nation one great, happy, republican and free.

Originally titled: THE OPEN BIBLE; OR, TOLERANT CHRISTIANITY. The Source and Security of American Freedom and Progress. An Oration—By Hon. Courtlandt Parker, Delivered At Newark, N. J., July 4TH, 1876.

See also: PATRIOT SONS OF PATRIOT SIRES by Rev. Samuel Francis Smith 1808-1895
Joseph Baldwin: Address 1892, to National Teachers Association in New York
The Consequence of Bad Legal Precedent in American Legislation
TRUE FREEDOM! A Poem by James Russell Lowell 1819-1891

THE BEACON FIRES OF LIBERTY by Hon. George Lear July 4, 1876

George Lear 1818-1884The Ship of Liberty on which we embarked 1776!

An Oration By Hon. George Lear (1818-1884), Delivered At Doylestown, Pa., July 4th, 1876.

Ladies And Gentlemen: When the merchant turns his attention to foreign commerce, he designs a craft for ocean navigation, and addresses himself to the task of procuring sound materials and the most approved plans of naval architecture. The skeleton of a ship is erected on the stocks, and its ribs covered with oak or iron, well secured with bolts, having neither flaw nor blemish. The hull is finished with all the qualities of strength and symmetry, and, upon an appointed day, in the presence of invited guests, with a virgin stationed on the bow with a bottle containing something similar “to the nectar which Jupiter sips,” the hawsers are cast loose, the blocks and wedges are removed, and as the ponderous craft glides down the inclined plane, the bottle is broken as the name is pronounced in baptismal solemnity, and, with a rush and a plunge, she enters the water, and floats high upon its surface, uncontrolled and uncontrollable except by extrinsic agencies.

But being in its proper element, the next care is to fit it for navigation by the addition of masts and spars, booms and yards, ropes and sails, until the unmanageable hulk becomes a full rigged ship, with her sails bent and her pennons flying, and “she walks the water like a thing of life.” Friends are again invited, viands are prepared, and the trial excursion takes place. She sails gaily down the bay to the strains of inspiring music, the sails swell with the freshening breeze, and the pennons wave graceful in the wind as she approaches the waters of the broad ocean. Fearlessly she essays the navigation of the billowy deep; and for the first time she is “afloat on the fierce rolling tide.” she is pronounced staunch and sea-worthy, and returns to ship her first cargo, and enter upon the practical business for which she was designed and constructed.

One hundred years ago a band of patriots known by the name of the Continental Congress, unskilled and inexperienced in State craft, with fearless and almost reckless disregard of consequences, launched their bark upon the unknown and turbulent sea of revolution. Not lured like Jason by the hope of the recovery of the Golden Fleece, or like the merchant by the prospect of wealth—not investing their private fortunes only in the prospect of private gain or personal ambition—but in the cause of human freedom and the rights of man they “mutually pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.” It was not the mere question of the sacrifice of a fortune, or, in the event of success, untold wealth. It was the launch of the ship of State upon an unknown sea, with fortunes, lives and honor aboard, the venture being the establishment of a nation based on the principle of human equality; or, in the event of a failure, the loss of fortune, life and honor. Without any prospect of personal gain under any circumstances, the stake was a nation to freedom or halters to the projectors.

After years of untold sacrifices and privations, a nation was organized, and human freedom as the basis of a government was established. But the mere military success of the Revolution was not the end. Martial courage, heroic endurance and unselfish patriotism could trample kingly crowns in the dust, and tear the purple robes from the shoulders of royalty, but the destinies of a nation of people, covering almost a continent, were left in their hands, with no one born to govern, and with no experience in any one in the art of government.

The ship of State had made a successful trial trip, and had weathered the gale of military contention and strife; but her crew was composed of men accustomed to obey and not to rule. The nations of the earth pronounced her staunch and seaworthy, and recognized her as a co-ordinate existence. But the question constantly recurred, can she sustain herself in midocean in the long voyage of national existence, with an untrained and undisciplined crew, in the calms of financial depression, and among the rocks and shoals of mutiny and internal dissension? We are here to-day, as a portion of the passengers who sailed on that good craft, to answer that question. We have withstood the shock of battle, the ocean’s storm, the tropic’s calm, “the broadside’s reeling rack,” the crew’s rebellion, and the hidden dangers of the deep, and with all hands on deck and the flag flying at the fore, we dance over the waves and ride into the harbor at the end of a voyage of a hundred years, with the ease and grace of excursionists on a summer sea.

With all our opening disadvantages, with fortunes broken and general financial prostration, the nation entered upon a career of self-government, then a doubtful experiment, and this is the only republic in the history of the world which has lived to celebrate the centenary of its birth. The problem of government by the people was looked upon as the fond dream of visionaries and theorists designed to captivate the ear of the multitude by the resounding periods of the rhetorician, and shed a glamour over the resonant numbers of the poet’s songs of liberty; but practically an impossible hope not to be realized in human society.

When the united colonies struck their blow for independence and in the cause of human freedom, the population of the whole country was not equal to that of Pennsylvania to-day. And in useful productions and the multifarious industries which render a people self-sustaining, they were far behind the present resources of this great State. They were not only dependent politically upon the mother country, and governed by laws in the enactment of which they had no voice, but they were commercially dependent . They depended on other countries for many of the necessaries of life. They had a vast territory and a soil of great natural fertility, but its products had to be shipped to other countries to be put into the forms and fabrics for the use of the people. Under such circumstances, the declaration of independence was an act like that of a commander landing his army on a hostile coast, and burning his ships to cut off the possibility of retreat . It was a bold act, but it was not done recklessly, under a temporary excitement, by men who were ambitious to perform a dramatic act of evanescent courage before the eyes of the world, but by men who were brave, prudent, patriotic and wise.

There is a system of compensation which runs through all human transactions, and it often happens that what seems an element of weakness is a bulwark of strength. The comparative poverty and helpless dependence of the colonies was a bond of union and strength when the connection with Great Britain was once severed. Having to rely upon themselves, they became more firmly knitted together, and this self-dependence increased their trust and confidence in each other. While their privations were greater, their patriotism burned the brighter, and they vied with each other in acts of unselfish heroism, and in the darkest hours of the protracted struggle, the gloom was illuminated by deeds of fortitude, endurance and valor which filled the land with their glory, and challenged the admiration of the world.

But this is not a time nor a place for a history of that war, or a recapitulation of its conspicuous events. The pledge of the colonists to each other and to mankind was faithfully redeemed. The scattered colonies became the nucleus of a great nation. But war leaves its scars as well upon the body politic as upon the warrior. The new government was bankrupt. The currency of the country was worthless. The new system of government was to be organized by men who were without experience in the art of government, with large debts and an empty treasury. Here again, more conspicuously than in the war, the poverty of the colonists was an element of strength, and the nursery of patriotism. With no money in the treasury and few resources to raise revenue to pay their debts and carry on the public business, they had their compensation in the fact that there was nothing to steal, and consequently the new government did not beget a race of thieves. Men who were conspicuous for the purity of their lives, their sterling integrity and patriotism and their exalted abilities were sought for and placed in the highest positions of political trust. In those days, it was the belief of the people that the true way to get money was to earn it; that the acquisition of wealth was a slow and toilsome process; and that the evidence of it was the possession and ownership of substantial property, or the glittering cash, and not a man’s ability to place on the market and keep afloat the largest amount of commercial paper.

With these homely but sound notions of political and personal economy, the people addressed themselves to the task of repairing their fortunes and building up the industries of the country on a firm and substantial bases. Economy in the household and in the government was the rule, and no luxuries were indulged in until the money was earned to pay for them. The habits of the people under a government of and by the people stamped their impress upon the administration of public affairs. Honesty, economy, and public and private virtue were essential elements of respectability, and the general rule of action in public and private life; and profligacy the exception. Cultivating such principles, with a boundless territory, of teeming soil and a free government, we could not fail to be a prosperous and a happy people.

“There is no poverty where Freedom is—
The wealth of nature is affluence to us all,”

Having started our ship of State under these auspices, we have tided over the first century of our national existence. On this glad day of our hundredth anniversary, while celebrating the most important event in the history of human governments which has ever shed its influence on surrounding nations, and lighted up the dark places of the world, let us like true sailors take our reckoning, and improve the occasion of our rejoicing in this year of jubilee, by ascertaining whether our good ship is on her true course, and to so trim her sails, repair her hull, lay her fairly before the wind, and replenish her stores, that she may live through the calms of financial and business depressions, weather the gales of internal strife, avoid the rocks and shoals of foreign and domestic wars, and repel the attacks of all piratical crafts at home and abroad, during the future progress of her voyage over an unexplored and unknown sea; for our future course is not to be a return, and we are not to he listlessly on the water to be borne back by the refluent tide to the harbor whence we sailed. Our course is not backward but forward and onward.

And what are the conclusions from our observations? What do tho soundings indicate? What is the outlook from the binnacle? Does the gallant craft still respond to the turn of the helmsman’s wheel like a thing of intelligence? Do the “waves bound beneath her like a steed that knows his rider?” Is she followed by hungry sharks ready to devour her crew, or cheered by the presence of the graceful sea gull, with his wavy motion and virgin plumage?

These questions are asked more to excite reflection than for answers; but it may not be amiss to answer so far as can be done by general conclusions. The stability of the present and the hope of the future are found in the underlying principles of our government—the universal equality and inalienable rights of all men. Human rights arc the rights of all men, and of each man, and they cannot be taken away except so far as he surrenders them. Governments are organized for the protection of human society, but they derive all “their just powers from the consent of the governed.” To this extent a man may surrender his natural rights. The government is from an internal, and not an external source. Man rules himself under our system, and for convenience may do it by a delegated power, to be conferred and resumed at stated intervals. His laws, therefore, axe of his own making, and while it is his duty as a member of society to obey them, he has the power of revocation whenever he finds them unjust or oppressive.

Under such a form of government, the light of armed revolution does not exist. That is only justifiable against a power which he did not create, and which seeks to control or disregard his rights without his consent. The theory of government based upon an hereditary succession of rulers is not only subversive of the rights of man, but is an irreverent usurpation of divine power. The nurture of a sovereign in the cradle, destined while a puling infant to be the ruler of a nation, whether an idiot, a tyrant, a statesman, or a fool, is as impious as it is absurd. In organized society man is the source of political power for self-government, although we all acknowledge “a higher law;” and however much the term may be abused by speculative theorists, and however much the expression may be distorted by or in the interests of political mountebanks, all jurists and law makers recognize a law above human laws, the leges legem, to which all human laws must conform and be made subservient. But that law does not take away any human rights. It fosters and protects them; and, therefore, it cannot confer the right to rule on hereditary sovereigns. And this principle of equality in rights is universal, and applies to all men, without regard to nationality, creed or color. Whether Caucasian, Teuton, Celt, African, or Mongol, this question is equally applicable, and it cannot be abrogated by any power beneath that which thundered the laws from Mount Sinai. Man may forfeit his right to life and liberty by his crimes, but this can be done only by the laws in which he has a voice in making. The stability of the present and the hopes of the future are based upon the maintenance of this principle in its integrity; but it is so firmly seated and so interwoven with every fibre of our existence, that the faith and the hope seem to be well founded.

While it is true that there does not seem to be that rigid economy, and unselfish patriotism which characterized the founders of the government, I do not belong to the croakers who believe that all public and private virtue, wisdom and patriotism died with the past. It is an unfortunate disposition, and leads to much unhappiness, to be constantly distrusting every one in public and in private life. I would prefer to be occasionally cheated rather than deal with every man as if I believed him to be a rogue. Under our system, the government will be as good as the people, and the evils which creep into the administration of public affairs begin at the root.

People and rulers have departed to some extent from that simplicity which should be the characteristic of a republic; and by extravagance and luxury—if not riotous living—indulge in expenditures and incur heavy liabilities, to meet which they indulge in speculation, and essay to make money of each other, where there is no money, their efforts to grow rich by a short and rapid process result in bankruptcy. They then blame the government, and clamor for legislation to cure the evil, when they can get none from that source. Their remedy is in their own hands, and no where else; but public officials and ambitious men speculate upon their anxiety, flatter their hopes, spend their money and lead them astray. In one view, the people give too much attention to their government. In another, not enough. They depend too much upon the government to mend their broken fortunes. They give too little attention to the kind of men they select, and depend too much upon creeds and platforms.

The evil will go on until it will cure itself in the end. I can lay down a rule which, if rigidly followed, would cure many of the evils which are now charged upon the government. Let every man attend diligently to his own business. Earn the money upon which he lives, and earn it before he expends it. Risk no money in a speculation which he cannot afford to lose, and place none in a doubtful venture but his own. If this course be strictly followed by every man, we will scarcely know we have a government, it will sit so lightly upon our shoulders, and we will soon discover that our business and our fortunes do not depend so much upon the government as upon ourselves. There are more people than is generally supposed who pursue this course; but they are very much hindered in their slow but certain progress by the large class who pursue a different course. Men who spend money they never earned, or owned, must spend that which belongs to others. For many live on what others have toiled to earn. This is one of the great causes of the crippled condition of the industries of our State.

But while these things retard our prosperity periodically, they do not shake the foundation principles of our government, or endanger its permanency. The wrecks which float upon the surface are but the broken fragments of the argosies which have been drawn into the insatiate whirlpool of mad speculation, dashed in pieces on the rocks beneath, and cast up by the restless waters, a warning to reckless adventurers.

The system of fast living and the appropriation of trust funds for private use, which ultimately leads to the theft of public money, are the crying evils of the times. While bolts, and bars, and locks can protect us against common thieves and burglars, we have no security against official thieves except care in the selection of men for official positions of trust and confidence, and the rigid and inexorable enforcement of the law against its infractors, with a merciless punishment of criminals who betray their trusts. And the country is waking up to the importance of this subject and a better era is dawning. “It is always the darkest the hour before day.”

But this particular manifestation of crime is not peculiar to our times, and does not touch the fundamental principles of our government.

The Great Master was betrayed for a bribe, but Christianity still lives; there was treason in the army of the Revolution, and yet the colonists triumphed; and there have been defaulters among public officials and corruption in high places in all ages of the world. In our country the remedy against it is in the hands of the people. In nearly all others they have little, if any, control over the public servants. There is, therefore, no reason to despair of our institutions in view of certain manifestations of corruption among those in positions of trust and confidence. When the crime becomes intolerable the people will rise to the necessity of the occasion, and apply the remedy which they hold in their hands.

But the question arises, are we in, worse condition in this respect than we were in what we regarded as the balmy days of the Republic? We have more facilities for obtaining news than formerly. With our telegraphs and railroads, news travels with great rapidity, and especially bad news; and our innumerable newspapers gather that which is the most sensational and exciting. The quiet deeds of charity and benevolence, the self sacrificing act of heroism, and the thousands of events in private life which ennoble human actions are unknown to the public. The turbulent elements of society come to the surface. The agents of crime get into the courts, and their deeds are heralded everywhere, and newspapers containing the revolting details are constantly thrust before our eyes. “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.” We hear and read all that is evil, but little of the good.

And when we take into consideration the difference in the population of this country between this day and a hundred years ago, being a difference of at least twelve to one, and the fact that evil makes more noise in proportion than the good, it becomes a very doubtful question whether criminals and crimes have more than kept pace with the population. That certain offenses against law have assumed a grave magnitude is a thing to be deplored, but in the presence of the good which emanates from our beneficent government they are but as the spots on the disk of the sun, which mellow the light by breaking the fierce rays of its overpowering effulgence.

But there is no reason to believe that the world is retrograding in morals or honesty. Such a concussion would be an admission that civilization, intelligence and Christianity impede the progress of the world and are disadvantageous to mankind; for there are more schools and seminaries, more books to read; more people to read and understand them, more acts of benevolence and charity, more culture and refinement, and more people who worship God to-day than at any other period since the “morning stars sang together” at man’s creation. That there are base, gross and wicked people is no new phenomenon. They have infested society accursed the world since the day when our original progenitor partook of “that forbidden fruit whose mortal taste brought death into the world and all our woe, with loss of Eden.

But the beacon fires of liberty burn as brightly to-day as they did on the morning of the Fourth of July, 1776, and the people of the country cherish the principles upon which the brave old patriots of that day established us as a free and independent nation. This morning has been ushered in over this broad land with the booming of cannon, the chimes of bells, the blare of the bugle, and the joyful greetings and proud huzzas of the people. These demonstrations are hearty, earnest and profound. They are the spontaneous outbursts of patriotism—the grand anthems bursting from the full hearts of a free, loyal and intelligent people.

Why should we not look forward to the future with wellfounded hopes, inspired by the success of the past? The staunch ship of State cannot encounter more difficult navigation in the coming century than in the past. She has encountered foes from without and enemies within. She has lain within the trough of the sea, and withstood the earth-shaking broadside; and while she trembled in every timber and groaned throughout her hull at the “diapason of the cannonade,” after the blue smoke of battle had drifted away in curling clouds on the breeze, we looked aloft, and joyfully exclaimed that “our flag is still there!” When the waves of rebellion, with fearful fury crashed upon her in mid-ocean, they were broken and scattered in foam on her hull, and died away in eternal silence at her keel. In calm and storm, in peace and war, our goodly craft has braved a hundred years “the battle and the breeze.

To-day all hands are piped on deck to receive instructions and inspiriting encouragement for a continuance of the voyage for another century. The winds and tides are fair, the skies are bright, and the sails are set. Gently swaying to the billows motion, we round the headland, and boldly enter upon the broad expanse of waters. The world of old dynasties, which jeered when we essayed our first voyage, became astonished at our progress, and their astonishment turned into amazement as we pursued our successful course. That amazement, as we boldly head out for the open sea on the second century, assumes the aspect of awe. Such a craft, manned by such a crow, carrying a flag which is known and recognized as the emblem of freedom everywhere, is a dangerous emissary among the subjects of kings, emperors, and despots of every form. Wherever that flag floats, whether waving languidly in the gentle zephyr of the tropics, or fluttering amid the ice crags of arctic desolation, it is hailed as the emblem of freedom and the symbol of the rights of man.

To show our influence on the people in the remote corners of the earth, a citizen of the United States, during the trying times of the rebellion, was traveling on the northern coast of Norway; and, landing from a small steamer at a trading town in the early morning, before the inhabitants were astir, found three fishermen from Lapland waiting at the door of a store to do some small business in trade. The fishermen appeared to be a father and two sons. They were dressed in skins of the reindeer, and appeared to be half barbarian, illiterate people. They were introduced to the American, and when the older of the Laplanders learned that the distinguished stranger was a citizen of this country, his countenance lighted up with an expression of eager intelligence as he asked: “Are you from beyond the great sea?” Upon being answered in the affirmative, he exclaimed: “Tell me, tell me, does liberty still live?” He expressed great satisfaction upon being assured that it did.

If on the coasts of the northern frozen seas, in a land of almost perpetual night, an illiterate fisherman feels such an eager interest in the question of the continued vitality of liberty, what a dangerous messenger will be that ensign of the Ship of State flashing “its meteor glories” among the thrones, crowns, and sceptres of the world. The subjects and victims of oppression will catch “inspiration from its glance,” and learning that liberty still lives, will pass the inspiring watchword from man to man. And the cry that “Liberty still lives” will be the world’s battle shout of freedom, and the rallying watchword of deliverance.

“And the dwellers in the rocks and in the Tales,
Shall about It to each other, and the mountain tops
From distant mountains catch the flying joy,
“Till nation after nation taught the strain,
Earth rolls the rapturous hosanna round.”

And in the land of liberty’s birth the fires of patriotism will be kept aflame by the iteration and reiteration of the answer to the fisherman’s question, that “Liberty still lives.” And from the hearts of the crowded cities, from the fireside of the farmer, and from the workshop of the mechanic, in the busy hamlets of labor, and in the homes of luxury and ease, the hearts of freemen will be cheered as our noble craft sails on, with the inspiriting assurance that “Liberty still lives.” The burden of that cry will float upon the air wherever our banner waves, and its resonant notes will fill the land with a new inspiration as the joyful assurance is heard.

“Coming up from each valley, flung down from each height)
Our Country and Liberty, God for the right.”

See also: Advice to Young People from Noah Webster Father of American Education
The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation by Noah Webster
COURAGE! A Poem by Bryan Waller Procter 1787-1874
AIM HIGH! An Address by President Benjamin Harrison 1893
A GOOD NAME by Joel Hawes 1789-1867
PATRIOT SONS OF PATRIOT SIRES by Rev. Samuel Francis Smith 1808-1895
TRUE FREEDOM! A Poem by James Russell Lowell 1819-1891
The Relationship Between a Man and Woman
American Centennial Flag2 1876

AMERICA! A Poem by Bayard Taylor, July 4, 1876

AMERICA! July 4, 1876 The American Centennial

American Centennial Exposition 1876

American Centennial Exposition 1876

Foreseen in the vision of sages,
Foretold when martyrs bled,
She was born of the longing of ages,
By the truth of the noble dead
And the faith of the living fed!
No blood in her lightest veins
Frets at remembered chains,
Nor shame of bondage has bowed her head.
In her form and features still
The unblenching Puritan will,
Cavalier honor, Huguenot grace,
The Quaker truth and sweetness,
And the strength of the danger-girdled race
Of Holland, blend in a proud completeness.

From the homes of all, where her being began,
She took what she gave to Man;
Justice, that knew no station,
Belief, as soul decreed,
Free air for aspiration,
Free force for independent deed!
She takes, but to give again,
As the sea returns the rivers in rain;
And gathers the chosen of her seed
From the hunted of every crown and creed.

American Centennial Flag 1876

Her Germany dwells by a gentler Rhine;
Her Ireland sees the old sunburst shine;
Her France pursues some dream divine;
Her Norway keeps his mountain pine;
Her Italy waits by the western brine;
And, broad-based under all,
Is planted England’s oaken-hearted mood,
As rich in fortitude
As e’er went worldward from the island-wall!
Fused in her candid light,
To one strong race all races here unite;
Tongues melt in hers, hereditary foemen
Forget their sword and slogan, kith and clan.
‘Twas glory, once to be a Roman:
She makes it glory, now, to be a man!

See also: 
THE AMERICAN FLAG! A Poem By Joseph Rodman Drake May 29, 1819
SONG OF THE SOLDIERS! A Poem By Charles G. Halpine 1861-1865
THE OATH! By Thomas Buchanan Read 1822-1872 
THE RISING, 1776! By Thomas Buchanan Read 1822-1872 
The Doctrine of Fascism, Fascism Defined by Benito Mussolini
Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God
The Wisdom and Love of God as Shown by His Creation by Noah Webster
Constitution of the United States and it’s Governmental Operations (In Plain English)
 

 

TheRising17762

THE RISING, 1776! By Thomas Buchanan Read 1822-1872

TheRising1776

THE RISING, 1776! By Thomas Buchanan Read 1822-1872

Out of the North the wild news came,
Far flashing on its wings of flame,
Swift as the boreal light which flies
At midnight through the startled skies.
And there was tumult in the air,

The fife’s shrill note, the drum’s loud beat,
And through the wide land everywhere

The answering tread of hurrying feet;
While the first oath of Freedom’s gun,
Came on the blast from Lexington;
And Concord, roused, no longer tame,
Forgot her old baptismal name,
Made bare her patriot arm of power, –
And swelled the discord of the hour.

Within its shade of elm and oak
The church of Berkeley Manor stood;

There Sunday found the rural folk,
And some esteemed of gentle blood.
In vain their feet with loitering tread
Passed ‘mid the graves where rank is naught;
All could not read the lesson taught
In that republic of the dead.

How sweet the hour of Sabbath talk,
The vale with peace and sunshine full
Where all the happy people walk,
Decked in their homespun flax and wool!
Where youth’s gay hats with blossoms bloom;
And every maid with simple art,
Wears on her breast, like her own heart,
A bud whose depths are all perfume;
While every garment’s gentle stir
Is breathing rose and lavender.

The pastor came; his snowy locks
Hallowed his brow of thought and care;
And calmly, as shepherds lead their flocks,
He led into the house of prayer.
The pastor rose; the prayer was strong;
The psalm was warrior David’s song;
The text, a few short words of might—
“The Lord of hosts shall arm the right!”

He spoke of wrongs too long endured,
Of sacred rights to be secured;
Then from his patriot tongue of flame
The startling words for Freedom came.
The stirring sentences he spake
Compelled the heart to glow or quake,
And, rising on his theme’s broad wing,
And grasping in his nervous hand
The imaginary battle brand,
In face of death he dared to fling
Defiance to a tyrant king.

Even as he spoke, his frame, renewed
In eloquence of attitude,
Rose, as it seemed, a shoulder higher;
Then swept his kindling glance of fire
From startled pew to breathless choir;
When suddenly his mantle wide
His hands impatient flung aside,
And, lo! he met their wondering eyes
Complete in all a warrior’s guise.

A moment there was awful pause—
When Berkeley cried, “Cease, traitor! cease!
God’s temple i? the house of peace!”
The other shouted, “Nay, not so,
When God is with our righteous cause;
His holiest places then are ours,
His temples are our forts and towers,
That frown upon the tyrant foe;
In this, the dawn of Freedom’s day,
There is a time to fight and pray!”

And now before the open door—
The warrior priest had ordered so—
The enlisting trumpet’s sudden roar
Rang through the chapel, o’er and o’er,
Its long reverberating blow,
So loud and clear, it seemed the ear
Of dusty death must wake and hear.
And there the startling drum and fife
Fired the living with fiercer life;
While overhead, with wild increase,
Forgetting its ancient toll of peace,

The great bell swung as ne’er before;
It seemed as it would never cease;
And every word its ardor flung
From off its jubilant iron tongue
Was, “War! War! War!”
“Who dares ?”—this was the patriot’s cry,
As striding from the desk he came—
“Come out with me, in Freedom’s name,
For her to live, for her to die?”
A hundred hands flung up reply,
A hundred voices answered, “I!”

See also:
THE AMERICAN FLAG! A Poem By Joseph Rodman Drake May 29, 1819
SONG OF THE SOLDIERS! A Poem By Charles G. Halpine 1861-1865
THE OATH! By Thomas Buchanan Read 1822-1872
johnadams2

The Wisdom of Founder John Adams Part 5: Novanglus Papers

NOVANGLUS: OR, A HISTORY OF THE [BRITISH] DISPUTE WITH AMERICA, FROM ITS ORIGIN, IN 1754, TO THE PRESENT TIME; WRITTEN IN 1774, BY JOHN ADAMS.

ADDRESSED TO THE INHABITANTS OF THE COLONY OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY.

See also:
The Wisdom of Founder John Adams Part 1: Novanglus Papers
The Wisdom of Founder John Adams Part 2: Novanglus Papers
The Wisdom of Founder John Adams Part 3: Novanglus Papers
The Wisdom of Founder John Adams Part 4: Novanglus Papers

PAPER NO. 4.

johnadams1Massachusettensis, whose pen can wheedle with the tongue of King Richard III., in his first paper, threatens you with the vengeance of Great Britain; and assures you, that if she had no authority over you, yet she would support her claims by her fleets and armies, Canadians and Indians. In his next, he alters his tone, and soothes you with the generosity, justice, and humanity of the nation.

I shall leave him to show how a nation can claim an authority which they have not by right, and support it by fire and sword, and yet be generous and just. The nation, I believe, is not vindictive, but the minister has discovered himself to be so in a degree that would disgrace a warrior of a savage tribe.

The wily Massachusettensis thinks our present calamity is to be attributed to the bad policy of a popular party, whose measures, whatever their intentions were, have been opposite to their profession, the public good. The present calamity seems to be nothing more nor less than reviving the plans of Mr. Bernard and the junto, and Mr. Grenville and his friends, in 1764. Surely this party are, and have been, rather unpopular. The popular party did not write Bernard’s letters, who so long ago pressed for the demolition of all the charters upon the continent, and a parliamentary taxation to support government and the administration of justice in America. The popular party did not write Oliver’s letters, who enforces Bernard’s plans; nor Hutchinson’s, who pleads with all his eloquence and pathos for parliamentary penalties, ministerial vengeance, and an abridgment of English liberties.

There is not in human nature a more wonderful phenomenon, nor in the whole theory of it a more intricate speculation, than the shiftings, turnings, windings, and evasions of a guilty conscience. Such is our unalterable moral constitution, that an internal inclination to do wrong is criminal; and a wicked thought stains the mind with guilt, and makes it tingle with pain. Hence it comes to pass, that the guilty mind can never bear to think that its guilt is known to God or man, no, nor to itself.

  • ——“Cur tamen hos tu
  • Evasisse putes, quos diri conscia facti
  • Mens habet attonitos, et surdo verbere cædit
  • Occultum quatiente animo tortore flagellum?
  • Pœna autem vehemens ac multo sævior illis,
  • Quas et Cæditius gravis invenit aut Rhadamanthus,
  • Nocte dieque suum gestare in pectore testem.”

Massachusettensis and his friends the tories are startled at the calamities they have brought upon their country; and their conscious guilt, their smarting, wounded mind, will not suffer them to confess, even to themselves, what they have done. Their silly denials of their own share in it, before a people who, they know, have abundant evidence against them, never fail to remind me of an ancient fugitive, whose conscience could not bear the recollection of what he had done. “I know not; am I my brother’s keeper?” he replies, with all the apparent simplicity of truth and innocence, to one from whom he was very sensible his guilt could not be hid. The still more absurd and ridiculous attempts of the tories, to throw off the blame of these calamities from themselves to the whigs, remind me of another story, which I have read in the Old Testament. When Joseph’s brethren had sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver, in order to conceal their own avarice, malice, and envy, they dip the coat of many colors in the blood of a kid, and say that an evil beast had rent him in pieces and devoured him. However, what the sons of Israel intended for ruin to Joseph, proved the salvation of the family; and I hope and believe that the whigs will have the magnanimity, like him, to suppress their resentment, and the felicity of saving their ungrateful brothers.

This writer has a faculty of insinuating errors into the mind almost imperceptibly, he dresses them so in the guise of truth. He says, that “the revenue to the crown from America amounted to but little more than the charges of collecting it,” at the close of the last war. I believe it did not to so much. The truth is, there never was a pretence of raising a revenue in America before that time, and when the claim was first set up, it gave an alarm like a warlike expedition against us. True it is, that some duties had been laid before by parliament, under pretence of regulating our trade, and, by a collusion and combination between the West India planters and the North American governors, some years before, duties had been laid upon molasses, &c. under the same pretence; but, in reality, merely to advance the value of the estates of the planters in the West India Islands, and to put some plunder, under the name of thirds of seizures, into the pockets of the governors. But these duties, though more had been collected in this province than in any other, in proportion, were never regularly collected in any of the colonies. So that the idea of an American revenue, for one purpose or another, had never, at this time, been formed in American minds.

Our writer goes on: “She (Great Britain) thought it as reasonable that the colonies should bear a part of the national burden, as that they should share in the national benefit.”

Upon this subject Americans have a great deal to say. The national debt, before the last war, was near a hundred millions. Surely America had no share in running into that debt. What is the reason, then, that she should pay it? But a small part of the sixty millions spent in the last war was for her benefit. Did she not bear her full share of the burden of the last war in America? Did not the province pay twelve shillings in the pound in taxes for the support of it; and send a sixth or seventh part of her sons into actual service? And, at the conclusion of the war, was she not left half a million sterling in debt? Did not all the rest of New England exert itself in proportion? What is the reason that the Massachusetts has paid its debt, and the British minister, in thirteen years of peace, has paid none of his? Much of it might have been paid in this time, had not such extravagance and speculation prevailed, as ought to be an eternal warning to America, never to trust such a minister with her money. What is the reason that the great and necessary virtues of simplicity, frugality, and economy cannot live in England, Scotland, and Ireland, as well as America?

We have much more to say still. Great Britain has confined all our trade to herself. We are willing she should, so far as it can be for the good of the empire. But we say, that we ought to be allowed as credit, in the account of public burdens and expenses, so much, paid in taxes, as we are obliged to sell our commodities to her cheaper than we could get for them at foreign markets. The difference is really a tax upon us for the good of the empire. We are obliged to take from Great Britain commodities that we could purchase cheaper elsewhere. This difference is a tax upon us for the good of the empire. We submit to this cheerfully; but insist that we ought to have credit for it in the account of the expenses of the empire, because it is really a tax upon us.

Another thing; I will venture a bold assertion,—let Massachusettensis or any other friend of the minister confute me,—the three million Americans, by the tax aforesaid, upon what they are obliged to export to Great Britain only, what they are obliged to import from Great Britain only, and the quantities of British manufactures which, in these climates, they are obliged to consume more than the like number of people in any part of the three kingdoms, ultimately pay more of the taxes and duties that are apparently paid in Great Britain, than any three million subjects in the three kingdoms. All this may be computed and reduced to stubborn figures by the minister, if he pleases. We cannot do it; we have not the accounts, records, &c. Now let this account be fairly stated, and I will engage for America, upon any penalty, that she will pay the overplus, if any, in her own constitutional way, provided it is to be applied for national purposes, as paying off the national debt, maintaining the fleet, &c., not to the support of a standing army in time of peace, placemen, pensioners, &c.

Besides, every farthing of expense which has been incurred, on pretence of protecting, defending, and securing America, since the last war, has been worse than thrown away; it has been applied to do mischief. Keeping an army in America has been nothing but a public nuisance.

Furthermore, we see that all the public money that is raised here, and have reason to believe all that will or can be raised, will be applied, not for public purposes, national or provincial, but merely to corrupt the sons of America, and create a faction to destroy its interest and happiness.

There are scarcely three sentences together, in all the voluminous productions of this plausible writer, which do not convey some error in fact or principle, tinged with a coloring to make it pass for truth. He says, “the idea that the stamps were a tax, not only exceeding our proportion, but beyond our utmost ability to pay, united the colonies generally in opposing it.” That we thought it beyond our proportion and ability is true; but it was not this thought which united the colonies in opposing it. When he says that at first, we did not dream of denying the authority of parliament to tax us, much less to legislate for us, he discovers plainly either a total inattention to the sentiments of America, at that time, or a disregard of what he affirms.

The truth is, the authority of parliament was never generally acknowledged in America. More than a century since, Massachusetts and Virginia both protested against even the act of navigation, and refused obedience, for this very reason, because they were not represented in parliament and were therefore not bound; and afterwards confirmed it by their own provincial authority. And from that time to this, the general sense of the colonies has been, that the authority of parliament was confined to the regulation of trade, and did not extend to taxation or internal legislation.

In the year 1764, your house of representatives sent home a petition to the king against the plan of taxing them. Mr. Hutchinson, Oliver, and their relations and connections were then in the legislature, and had great influence there. It was by their influence that the two houses were induced to wave the word rights and an express denial of the right of parliament to tax us, to the great grief and distress of the friends of liberty in both houses. Mr. Otis and Mr. Thacher labored in the committee to obtain an express denial. Mr. Hutchinson expressly said, he agreed with them in opinion, that parliament had no right, but thought it ill policy to express this opinion in the petition. In truth, I will be bold to say, there was not any member of either house who thought that parliament had such a right at that time. The house of representatives, at that time, gave their approbation to Mr. Otis’s Rights of the Colonies, in which it was shown to be inconsistent with the right of British subjects to be taxed but by their own representatives.

In 1765, our house expressly resolved against the right of parliament to tax us. The congress at New York resolved:

“3. That it is inseparably essential to the freedom of a people, and the undoubted right of Englishmen, that no tax be imposed on them, but with their own consent, given personally, or by their representatives.

“4. That the people of the colonies are not, and from their local circumstances cannot, be represented in the house of commons of Great Britain.

“5. That the only representatives of the people of the colonies are the persons chosen therein by themselves; and that no taxes ever have been, or can be constitutionally imposed on them, but by their respective legislatures.”

Is it not a striking disregard to truth, in the artful Massachusettensis, to say, that, at first, we did not dream of denying the right of parliament to tax us? It was the principle that united the colonies to oppose it, not the quantum of the tax. Did not Dr. Franklin deny the right in 1754, in his remarks upon Governor Shirley’s scheme, and suppose that all America would deny it? We had considered ourselves as connected with Great Britain, but we never thought parliament the supreme legislature over us. We never generally supposed it to have any authority over us, but from necessity, and that necessity we thought confined to the regulation of trade, and to such matters as concerned all the colonies together. We never allowed them any authority in our internal concerns.

This writer says, “acts of parliament for regulating our internal polity were familiar.” This I deny. So far otherwise, that the Hatter’s Act was never regarded; the act to destroy the Land Bank scheme raised a greater ferment in this province than the Stamp Act did, which was appeased only by passing province laws directly in opposition to it. The act against slitting-mills and tilt-hammers never was executed here. As to the postage, it was so useful a regulation, so few persons paid it, and they found such a benefit by it, that little opposition was made to it. Yet every man who thought about it, called it a usurpation. Duties for regulating trade we paid, because we thought it just and necessary that they should regulate the trade which their power protected. As for duties for a revenue, none were ever laid by parliament for that purpose, until 1764, when, and ever since, its authority to do it has been constantly denied. Nor is this complaisant writer near the truth when he says, “We knew that in all those acts of government, the good of the whole had been consulted.” On the contrary, we know that the private interest of provincial governors and West India planters had been consulted in the duties on foreign molasses, &c., and the private interest of a few Portugal merchants, in obliging us to touch at Falmouth with fruit, &c., in opposition to the good of the whole, and in many other instances.

The resolves of the house of burgesses of Virginia upon the Stamp Act did great honor to that province, and to the eminent patriot, Patrick Henry, who composed them.1 But these resolves made no alteration in the opinion of the colonies, concerning the right of parliament to make that act. They expressed the universal opinion of the continent at that time; and the alacrity with which every other colony, and the congress at New York, adopted the same sentiment in similar resolves, proves the entire union of the colonies in it, and their universal determination to avow and support it. What follows here,—that it became so popular, that his life was in danger who suggested the contrary, and that the press was “open to one side only,”—are direct misrepresentations and wicked calumnies.

Then we are told by this sincere writer, that when we obtained a partial repeal of the statute imposing duties on glass, paper, and teas, “this was the lucky moment when to have closed the dispute.” What? with a board of commissioners remaining, the sole end of whose creation was to form and conduct a revenue? With an act of parliament remaining, the professed design of which, expressed in the preamble, was to raise a revenue, and appropriate it to the payment of governors’ and judges’ salaries; the duty remaining, too, upon an article which must raise a large sum, the consumption of which would constantly increase? Was this a time to retreat? Let me ask this sincere writer a simple question,—does he seriously believe that the designs of imposing other taxes, and of new-modelling our governments, would have been laid aside by the ministry or by the servants of the crown here? Does he think that Mr. Bernard, Mr. Hutchinson, the commissioners, and others would have been content then to have desisted? If he really thinks so, he knows little of the human heart, and still less of those gentlemen’s hearts. It was at this very time that the salary was given to the governor, and an order solicited for that to the judges.

Then we are entertained with a great deal of ingenious talk about whigs and tories, and at last are told, that some of the whigs owed all their importance to popularity.1 And what then? Did not as many of the tories owe their importance to popularity? And did not many more owe all their importance to unpopularity? If it had not been for their taking an active part on the side of the ministry, would not some of the most conspicuous and eminent of them have been unimportant enough? Indeed, through the two last administrations, to despise and hate the people, and to be despised and hated by them, were the principal recommendations to the favors of government, and all the qualification that was required.

“The tories,” says he, “were for closing the controversy.” That is, they were for contending no more; and it was equally true, that they never were for contending at all, but lying at mercy. It was the very end they had aimed at from the beginning. They had now got the governor’s salary out of the revenue, a number of pensions and places; they knew they could at any time get the judges’ salaries from the same fountain; and they wanted to get the people reconciled and familiarized to this, before they went upon any new projects.

“The whigs were averse to restoring government; they even refused to revive a temporary Riot Act which expired about this time.” Government had as much vigor then as ever, excepting only in those cases which affected this dispute. The Riot Act expired in 1770, immediately after the massacre in King Street. It was not revived, and never will be in this colony; nor will any one ever be made in any other, while a standing army is illegally posted here to butcher the people, whenever a governor or a magistrate, who may be a tool, shall order it. “Perhaps the whigs thought that mobs were a necessary ingredient in their system of opposition.” Whether they did or not, it is certain that mobs have been thought a necessary ingredient by the tories in their system of administration, mobs of the worst sort, with red coats, fuzees, and bayonets; and the lives and limbs of the whigs have been in greater danger from these, than ever the tories were from others.

“The scheme of the whigs flattered the people with the idea of independence; the tories’ plan supposed a degree of subordination.” This is artful enough, as usual, not to say jesuitical. The word independence is one of those which this writer uses, as he does treason and rebellion, to impose upon the undistinguishing on both sides of the Atlantic. But let us take him to pieces. What does he mean by independence? Does he mean independent of the crown of Great Britain, and an independent republic in America, or a confederation of independent republics? No doubt he intended the undistinguishing should understand him so. If he did, nothing can be more wicked, or a greater slander on the whigs; because he knows there is not a man in the province among the whigs, nor ever was, who harbors a wish of that sort. Does he mean that the people were flattered with the idea of total independence on parliament? If he does, this is equally malicious and injurious; because he knows that the equity and necessity of parliament’s regulating trade has always been acknowledged; our determination to consent and submit to such regulations constantly expressed; and all the acts of trade, in fact, to this very day, much more submitted to and strictly executed in this province than any other in America.

There is equal ambiguity in the words “degree of subordination.” The whigs acknowledge a subordination to the king, in as strict and strong a sense as the tories. The whigs acknowledge a voluntary subordination to parliament, as far as the regulation of trade. What degree of subordination, then, do the tories acknowledge? An absolute dependence upon parliament as their supreme legislative, in all cases whatever, in their internal polity, as well as taxation? This would be too gross, and would lose Massachusettensis all his readers; for there is nobody here who will expose his understanding so much, as explicitly to adopt such a sentiment. Yet it is such an absolute dependence and submission that these writers would persuade us to, or else there is no need of changing our sentiments and conduct. Why will not these gentlemen speak out, show us plainly their opinion, that the new government they have fabricated for this province is better than the old, and that all the other measures we complain of are for our and the public good, and exhort us directly to submit to them? The reason is, because they know they should lose their readers.

“The whigs were sensible that there was no oppression that could be seen or felt.” The tories have so often said and wrote this to one another, that I sometimes suspect they believe it to be true. But it is quite otherwise. The castle of the province was taken out of their hands and garrisoned by regular soldiers. This they could see, and they thought it indicated a hostile intention and disposition towards them. They continually paid their money to collectors of duties; this they could both see and feel. A host of placemen, whose whole business it was to collect a revenue, were continually rolling before them in their chariots. These they saw. Their governor was no longer paid by themselves, according to their charter, but out of the new revenue, in order to render their assemblies useless, and indeed contemptible. The judges’ salaries were threatened every day to be paid in the same unconstitutional manner. The dullest eyesight could not but see to what all this tended, namely,—to prepare the way for greater innovations and oppressions. They knew a minister would never spend his money in this way, if he had not some end to answer by it. Another thing they both saw and felt. Every man, of every character, who, by voting, writing, speaking, or otherwise, had favored the Stamp Act, the Tea Act, and every other measure of a minister or governor, who they knew was aiming at the destruction of their form of government, and introducing parliamentary taxation, was uniformly, in some department or other, promoted to some place of honor or profit for ten years together; and, on the other hand, every man who favored the people in their opposition to those innovations, was depressed, degraded, and persecuted, so far as it was in the power of the government to do it.

This they considered as a systematical means of encouraging every man of abilities to espouse the cause of parliamentary taxation and the plan of destroying their charter privilege, and to discourage all from exerting themselves in opposition to them. This they thought a plan to enslave them; for they uniformly think that the destruction of their charter, making the council and judges wholly dependent on the crown, and the people subject to the unlimited power of parliament as their supreme legislative, is slavery. They were certainly rightly told, then, that the ministry and their governors together had formed a design to enslave them, and that when once this was done, they had the highest reason to expect window-taxes, hearth-taxes, land-taxes, and all others; and that these were only paving the way for reducing the country to lordships. Were the people mistaken in these suspicions? Is it not now certain, that Governor Bernard, in 1764, had formed a design of this sort? Read his Principles of Polity. And that Lieutenant-Governor Oliver, as late as 1768, or 9, enforced the same plan? Read his letters. Now, if Massachusettensis will be ingenuous, avow this design, show the people its utility, and that it ought to be done by parliament, he will act the part of an honest man. But to insinuate that there was no such plan, when he knows there was, is acting the part of one of the junto.

It is true, that the people of this country in general, and of this province in special, have a hereditary apprehension of and aversion to lordships, temporal and spiritual. Their ancestors fled to this wilderness to avoid them; they suffered sufficiently under them in England. And there are few of the present generation who have not been warned of the danger of them by their fathers or grandfathers, and enjoined to oppose them. And neither Bernard nor Oliver ever dared to avow before them, the designs which they had certainly formed to introduce them. Nor does Massachusettensis dare to avow his opinion in their favor. I do not mean that such avowal would expose their persons to danger, but it would their character and writings to universal contempt.

When you were told that the people of England were depraved, the parliament venal, and the ministry corrupt, were you not told most melancholy truths? Will Massachusettensis deny any of them? Does not every man who comes from England, whig or tory, tell you the same thing? Do they make any secret of it, or use any delicacy about it? Do they not most of them avow that corruption is so established there as to be incurable, and a necessary instrument of government? Is not the British constitution arrived nearly to that point where the Roman republic was when Jugurtha left it, and pronounced it, “a venal city, ripe for destruction, if it can only find a purchaser?” If Massachusettensis can prove that it is not, he will remove from my mind one of the heaviest loads which lie upon it.

Who has censured the tories for remissness, I know not. Whoever it was, he did them great injustice. Every one that I know of that character has been, through the whole tempestuous period, as indefatigable as human nature will admit, going about seeking whom he might devour, making use of art, flattery, terror, temptation, and allurements, in every shape in which human wit could dress it up, in public and private; but all to no purpose. The people have grown more and more weary of them every day, until now the land mourns under them.

Massachusettensis is then seized with a violent fit of anger at the clergy. It is curious to observe the conduct of the tories towards this sacred body. If a clergyman, of whatever character, preaches against the principles of the revolution, and tells the people that, upon pain of damnation, they must submit to an established government, the tories cry him up as an excellent man and a wonderful preacher, invite him to their tables, procure him missions from the society and chaplainships to the navy, and flatter him with the hopes of lawn sleeves. But if a clergyman preaches Christianity, and tells the magistrates that they were not distinguished from their brethren for their private emolument, but for the good of the people; that the people are bound in conscience to obey a good government, but are not bound to submit to one that aims at destroying all the ends of government,—oh sedition! treason!

The clergy in all ages and countries, and in this in particular, are disposed enough to be on the side of government as long as it is tolerable. If they have not been generally in the late administration on that side, it is a demonstration that the late administration has been universally odious. The clergy of this province are a virtuous, sensible, and learned set of men, and they do not take their sermons from newspapers, but the Bible; unless it be a few, who preach passive obedience. These are not generally curious enough to read Hobbes. It is the duty of the clergy to accommodate their discourses to the times, to preach against such sins as are most prevalent, and recommend such virtues as are most wanted. For example,—if exorbitant ambition and venality are predominant, ought they not to warn their hearers against those vices? If public spirit is much wanted, should they not inculcate this great virtue? If the rights and duties of Christian magistrates and subjects are disputed, should they not explain them, show their nature, ends, limitations, and restrictions, how much soever it may move the gall of Massachusettensis?

Let me put a supposition. Justice is a great Christian, as well as moral, duty and virtue, which the clergy ought to inculcate and explain. Suppose a great man of a parish should, for seven years together, receive six hundred pounds sterling a year, for discharging the duties of an important office, but, during the whole time, should never do one act or take one step about it. Would not this be great injustice to the public? And ought not the parson of that parish to cry aloud and spare not, and show such a bold transgressor his sin; show that justice was due to the public as well as to an individual; and that cheating the public of four thousand two hundred pounds sterling is at least as great a sin as taking a chicken from a private hen-roost, or perhaps a watch from a fob?

Then we are told that newspapers and preachers have excited “outrages disgraceful to humanity.” Upon this subject, I will venture to say, that there have been outrages in this province which I neither justify, excuse, nor extenuate; but these were not excited, that I know of, by newspapers or sermons; that, however, if we run through the last ten years, and consider all the tumults and outrages that have happened, and at the same time recollect the insults, provocations, and oppressions which this people have endured, we shall find the two characteristics of this people, religion and humanity, strongly marked on all their proceedings. Not a life, nor, that I have ever heard, a single limb, has been lost through the whole. I will take upon me to say, there is not another province on this continent, nor in his majesty’s dominions, where the people, under the same indignities, would not have gone greater lengths. Consider the tumults in the three kingdoms; consider the tumults in ancient Rome, in the most virtuous of her periods; and compare them with ours. It is a saying of Machiavel no wise man ever contradicted, which has been literally verified in this province, that “while the mass of the people is not corrupted, tumults do no hurt.” By which he means, that they leave no lasting ill effects behind.

But let us consider the outrages committed by the tories; half a dozen men shot dead in an instant in King Street; frequent resistance and affronts to civil officers and magistrates; officers, watchmen, citizens, cut and mangled in a most inhuman manner; not to mention the shootings for desertion, and the frequent cruel whippings for other faults, cutting and mangling men’s bodies before the eyes of citizens, spectacles which ought never to be introduced into populous places. The worst sort of tumults and outrages ever committed in this province were excited by the tories. But more of this hereafter.

We are then told, that the whigs erected a provincial democracy, or republic, in the province. I wish Massachusettensis knew what a democracy or a republic is. But this subject must be considered another time.

johnadams2

The Wisdom of Founder John Adams Part 4: Novanglus Papers

NOVANGLUS: OR, A HISTORY OF THE [BRITISH] DISPUTE WITH AMERICA, FROM ITS ORIGIN, IN 1754, TO THE PRESENT TIME; WRITTEN IN 1774, BY JOHN ADAMS.

ADDRESSED TO THE INHABITANTS OF THE COLONY OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY.

See also:
The Wisdom of Founder John Adams Part 1: Novanglus Papers
The Wisdom of Founder John Adams Part 2: Novanglus Papers
 The Wisdom of Founder John Adams Part 3: Novanglus Papers

PAPER NO. 3.

547px-US_Navy-031029-CLOSEUP-N-6236G-001_A_painting_of_President_John_Adams_(1735-1826),_2nd_president_of_the_United_States,_by_Asher_B._Durand_(1767-1845)The history of the tories, begun in my last, will be interrupted for some time; but it shall be resumed, and minutely related in some future papers. Massachusettensis, who shall now be pursued in his own serpentine path, in his first paper complains that the press is not free; that a party, by playing off the resentment of the populace against printers and authors, has gained the ascendency so far as to become the licenser of it; that the press is become an engine of oppression and licentiousness, much devoted to the partisans of liberty, who have been indulged in publishing what they pleased, fas vel nefas, while little has been published on the part of government.

The art of this writer, which appears in all his productions, is very conspicuous in this. It is intended to excite a resentment against the friends of liberty, for tyrannically depriving their antagonists of so important a branch of freedom; and a compassion towards the tories, in the breasts of the people, in the other colonies and in Great Britain, by insinuating that they have not had equal terms. But nothing can be more injurious, nothing farther from the truth. Let us take a retrospective view of the period since the last peace, and see whether they have not uniformly had the press at their service, without the least molestation to authors or printers. Indeed, I believe, that the Massachusetts Spy, if not the Boston Gazette, has been open to them as well as to others. The Evening Post, Massachusetts Gazette, and Boston Chronicle have certainly been always as free for their use as the air. Let us dismiss prejudice and passion, and examine impartially whether the tories have not been chargeable with at least as many libels, as much licentiousness of the press, as the whigs? Dr. Mayhew was a whig of the first magnitude,—a clergyman equalled by very few of any denomination in piety, virtue, genius, or learning, whose works will maintain his character as long as New England shall be free, integrity esteemed, or wit, spirit, humor, reason, and knowledge admired. How was he treated from the press? Did not the reverend tories, who were pleased to write against him, the missionaries of defamation, as well as bigotry and passive obedience, in their pamphlets and newspapers, bespatter him all over with their filth? Did they not, with equal falsehood and malice, charge him with every thing evil? Mr. Otis was in civil life, and a senator, whose parts, literature, eloquence, and integrity proved him a character in the world equal to any of the time in which he flourished of any party in the province. Now, be pleased to recollect the Evening Post. For a long course of years, that gentleman, his friends and connections, of whom the world has, and grateful posterity will have, a better opinion than Massachusettensis will acknowledge, were pelted with the most infernally malicious, false, and atrocious libels that ever issued from any press in Boston. I will mention no other names, lest I give too much offence to the modesty of some, and the envy and rancor of others.

There never was before, in any part of the world, a whole town insulted to their faces, as Boston was by the Boston Chronicle. Yet the printer was not molested for printing. It was his mad attack upon other printers with his clubs, and upon other gentlemen with his pistols, that was the cause, or rather the pretence, of his flight. The truth was, he became too polite to attend to his business; his shop was neglected; procurations were coming for more than two thousand pounds sterling, which he had no inclination to pay.

Printers may have been less eager after the productions of the tories than of the whigs, and the reason has been, because the latter have been more consonant to the general taste and sense, and consequently more in demand. Notwithstanding this, the former have ever found one press, at least, devoted to their service, and have used it as licentiously as they could wish. Whether the revenue-chest has kept it alive, and made it profitable against the general sense, or not, I wot not. Thus much is certain, that two, three, four, five, six, eight, fifteen hundred pounds sterling a-year, have been the constant reward of every scribbler who has taken up the pen on the side of the ministry with any reputation, and commissions have been given here for the most wretched productions of dulness itself; whereas, the writers on the side of liberty have been rewarded only with the consciousness of endeavoring to do good, with the approbation of the virtuous, and the malice of men in power.

But this is not the first time that writers have taken advantage of the times. Massachusettensis knows the critical situation of this province; the danger it is in, without government or law; the army in Boston; the people irritated and exasperated in such a manner as was never before borne by any people under heaven. Much depends upon their patience at this critical time; and such an example of patience and order this people have exhibited, in a state of nature, under such cruel insults, distresses, and provocations, as the history of mankind cannot parallel. In this state of things, protected by an army, the whole junto are now pouring forth the torrents of their billingsgate; propagating thousands of the most palpable falsehoods, when they know that the writers on the other side have been restrained by their prudence and caution from engaging in a controversy that must excite heats, lest it should have unhappy and tragical consequences.

There is nothing in this world so excellent that it may not be abused. The abuses of the press are notorious. It is much to be desired, that writers on all sides would be more careful of truth and decency; but, upon the most impartial estimate, the tories will be found to have been the least so of any party among us.

The honest Veteran, who ought not to be forgotten in this place, says: “If an inhabitant of Bern or Amsterdam could read the newspapers, &c., he would be at a loss how to reconcile oppression with such unbounded license of the press, and would laugh at the charge, as something much more than a paradox,—as a palpable contradiction.” But, with all his taste and manly spirit, the Veteran is little of a statesman. His ideas of liberty are quite inadequate; his notions of government very superficial. License of the press is no proof of liberty. When a people are corrupted, the press may be made an engine to complete their ruin; and it is now notorious, that the ministry are daily employing it, to increase and establish corruption, and to pluck up virtue by the roots. Liberty can no more exist without virtue and independence, than the body can live and move without a soul. When these are gone, and the popular branch of the constitution is become dependent on the minister, as it is in England, or cut off, as it is in America, all other forms of the constitution may remain; but if you look for liberty, you will grope in vain; and the freedom of the press, instead of promoting the cause of liberty, will but hasten its destruction, as the best cordials taken by patients in some distempers become the most rancid and corrosive poisons.

The language of the Veteran, however, is like the style of the minister and his scribblers in England,—boasting of the unbounded freedom of the press, and assuring the people that all is safe while that continues; and thus the people are to be cheated with libels, in exchange for their liberties.

A stronger proof cannot be wished, of the scandalous license of the tory presses, than the swarms of pamphlets and speculations, in New York and Boston, since last October. “Madness, folly, delusion, delirium, infatuation, frenzy, high treason, and rebellion,” are charged in every page, upon three millions of as good and loyal, as sensible and virtuous people as any in the empire; nay, upon that congress, which was as full and free a representative as ever was constituted by any people; chosen universally, without solicitation, or the least tincture of corruption; that congress which consisted of governors, counsellors, some of them by mandamus too, judges of supreme courts, speakers of assemblies, planters and merchants of the first fortune and character, and lawyers of the highest class, many of them educated at the temple, called to the bar in England, and of abilities and integrity equal to any there.

Massachusettensis, conscious that the people of this continent have the utmost abhorrence of treason and rebellion, labors to avail himself of the magic in these words. But his artifice is vain. The people are not to be intimidated by hard words from a necessary defence of their liberties. Their attachment to their constitution, so dearly purchased by their own and their ancestors’ blood and treasure; their aversion to the late innovations; their horror of arbitrary power and the Romish religion, are much deeper rooted than their dread of rude sounds and unmannerly language. They do not want “the advice of an honest lawyer, if such an one could be found,” nor will they be deceived by a dishonest one. They know what offence it is to assemble armed, and forcibly obstruct the course of justice. They have been many years considering and inquiring; they have been instructed by Massachusettensis and his friends, in the nature of treason, and the consequences of their own principles and actions. They know upon what hinge the whole dispute turns; that the fundamentals of the government over them are disputed; that the minister pretends, and had the influence to obtain the voice of the last parliament in his favor, that parliament is the only supreme, sovereign, absolute, and uncontrollable legislative over all the colonies; that, therefore, the minister and all his advocates will call resistance to acts of parliament by the names of treason and rebellion. But, at the same time, they know that, in their own opinions, and in the opinions of all the colonies, parliament has no authority over them, excepting to regulate their trade, and this not by any principle of common law, but merely by the consent of the colonies, founded on the obvious necessity of a case which was never in contemplation of that law, nor provided for by it; that, therefore, they have as good a right to charge that minister, Massachusettensis, and the whole army to which he has fled for protection, with treason and rebellion. For, if the parliament has not a legal authority to overturn their constitution, and subject them to such acts as are lately passed, every man who accepts of any commission, and takes any steps to carry those acts into execution, is guilty of overt acts of treason and rebellion against his majesty, his royal crown and dignity, as much as if he should take arms against his troops, or attempt his sacred life. They know that the resistance against the Stamp Act, which was made through all America, was, in the opinion of Massachusettensis and George Grenville, high treason; and that Brigadier Ruggles and good Mr. Ogden pretended at the congress of New York to be of the same mind, and have been held in utter contempt and derision by the whole continent for the same reason ever since; because, in their own opinion, that resistance was a noble stand against tyranny, and the only opposition to it which could have been effectual; that if the American resistance to the act for destroying your charter, and to the resolves for arresting persons here and sending them to England for trial, is treason, the lords and commons, and the whole nation, were traitors at the revolution. They know that all America is united in sentiment, and in the plan of opposition to the claims of administration and parliament. The junto, in Boston, with their little flocks of adherents in the country, are not worth taking into the account; and the army and navy, though these are divided among themselves, are no part of America.

In order to judge of this union, they begin at the commencement of the dispute, and run through the whole course of it. At the time of the Stamp Act, every colony expressed its sentiments by resolves of their assemblies, and every one agreed that parliament had no right to tax the colonies. The house of representatives of the Massachusetts Bay then consisted of many persons who have since figured as friends to government; yet every member of that house concurred most cheerfully in the resolves then passed. The congress which met that year at New York expressed the same opinion in their resolves, after the paint, paper, and tea act was passed. The several assemblies expressed the same sentiments; and when your colony wrote the famous circular letter, notwithstanding all the mandates and threats and cajoling of the minister and the several governors, and all the crown-officers through the continent, the assemblies, with one voice, echoed their entire approbation of that letter, and their applause to your colony for sending it. In the year 1768, when a non-importation was suggested and planned by a few gentlemen at a private club in one of our large towns, as soon as it was proposed to the public, did it not spread through the whole continent? Was it not regarded like the laws of the Medes and Persians in almost all the colonies? When the paint and paper act was repealed, the southern colonies agreed to depart from the association in all things but the dutied articles; but they have kept strictly to their agreement against importing them, so that no tea worth the mentioning has been imported into any of them from Great Britain to this day. In the year 1770, when a number of persons were slaughtered in King Street, such was the brotherly sympathy of all the colonies, such their resentment against a hostile administration, that the innocent blood then spilt has never been forgotten, nor the murderous minister and governors, who brought the troops here, forgiven by any part of the continent, and never will be. When a certain masterly statesman invented a committee of correspondence in Boston, which has provoked so much of the spleen of Massachusettensis, (of which much more hereafter) did not every colony, nay, every county, city, hundred, and town, upon the whole continent, adopt the measure, I had almost said, as if it had been a revelation from above, as the happiest means of cementing the union and acting in concert?

What proofs of union have been given since the last March? Look over the resolves of the several colonies, and you will see that one understanding governs, one heart animates the whole body. Assemblies, conventions, congresses, towns, cities, and private clubs and circles, have been actuated by one great, wise, active, and noble spirit, one masterly soul animating one vigorous body. The congress at Philadelphia have expressed the same sentiments with the people of New England; approved of the opposition to the late innovations; unanimously advised us to persevere in it; and assured us, that if force is attempted to carry these measures against us, all America ought to support us. Maryland and the lower counties on Delaware have already, to show to all the world their approbation of the measures of New England and their determination to join in them, with a generosity, a wisdom, and magnanimity which ought to make the tories consider, taken the power of the militia into the hands of the people, without the governor or minister, and established it by their own authority, for the defence of Massachusetts, as well as of themselves. Other colonies are only waiting to see if the necessity of it will become more obvious. Virginia and the Carolinas are preparing for military defence, and have been for some time. When we consider the variety of climate, soil, religion, civil government, commercial interests, &c. which were represented at the congress, and the various occupations, education, and characters of the gentlemen who composed it, the harmony and unanimity which prevailed in it can scarcely be paralleled in any assembly that ever met. When we consider that, at the revolution, such mighty questions, as whether the throne was vacant or not, and whether the Prince of Orange should be king or not, were determined in the convention of parliament by small majorities of two or three, and four or five only, the great majorities, the almost unanimity with which all great questions have been decided in your house of representatives and other assemblies, and especially in the continental congress, cannot be considered in any other light than as the happiest omens, indeed as providential dispensations, in our favor, as well as the clearest demonstrations of the cordial, firm, radical, and indissoluble union of the colonies.

The grand aphorism of the policy of the whigs has been to unite the people of America, and divide those of Great Britain. The reverse of this has been the maxim of the tories, namely,—to unite the people of Great Britain, and divide those of America. All the movements, marches, and countermarches of both parties, on both sides of the Atlantic, may be reduced to one or the other of these rules. I have shown, in opposition to Massachusettensis, that the people of America are united more perfectly than the most sanguine whig could ever have hoped, or than the most timid tory could have feared. Let us now examine whether the people of Great Britain are equally united against us. For, if the contending countries were equally united, the prospect of success in the quarrel would depend upon the comparative wisdom, firmness, strength, and other advantages of each. And if such a comparison was made, it would not appear to a demonstration that Great Britain could so easily subdue and conquer. It is not so easy a thing for the most powerful state to conquer a country a thousand leagues off. How many years time, how many millions of money, did it take, with five-and-thirty thousand men, to conquer the poor province of Canada? And, after all the battles and victories, it never would have submitted, without a capitulation which secured to them their religion and properties.

But we know that the people of Great Britain are not united against us. We distinguish between the ministry, the house of commons, the officers of the army, navy, excise, customs, &c., who are dependent on the ministry, and tempted, if not obliged, to echo their voices, and the body of the people. We are assured, by thousands of letters from persons of good intelligence, by the general strain of publications in public papers, pamphlets, and magazines, and by some larger works written for posterity, that the body of the people are friends to America, and wish us success in our struggles against the claims of parliament and administration. We know, that millions in England and Scotland will think it unrighteous, impolitic, and ruinous to make war upon us; and a minister, though he may have a marble heart, will proceed with a diffident, desponding spirit. We know that London and Bristol, the two greatest commercial cities in the empire, have declared themselves, in the most decisive manner, in favor of our cause,—so explicitly, that the former has bound her members under their hands to assist us; and the latter has chosen two known friends of America, one attached to us by principle, birth, and the most ardent affection, the other an able advocate for us on several great occasions. We know that many of the most virtuous and independent of the nobility and gentry are for us, and among them, the best bishop that adorns the bench, as great a judge as the nation can boast, and the greatest statesman it ever saw. We know that the nation is loaded with debts and taxes, by the folly and iniquity of its ministers, and that, without the trade of America, it can neither long support its fleet and army, nor pay the interest of its debt.

But we are told that the nation is now united against us; that they hold they have a right to tax us and legislate for us, as firmly as we deny it; that we are a part of the British empire; that every state must have an uncontrollable power coextensive with the empire; that there is little probability of serving ourselves by ingenious distinctions between external and internal taxes; that if we are not a part of the state, and subject to the supreme authority of parliament, Great Britain will make us so; that if this opportunity of reclaiming the colonies is lost, they will be dismembered from the empire; and, although they may continue their allegiance to the king, they will own none to the imperial crown.

To all this I answer, that the nation is not so united; that they do not so universally hold they have such a right. And my reasons I have given before; that the terms “British Empire” are not the language of the common law, but the language of newspapers and political pamphlets; that the dominions of the king of Great Britain have no power coextensive with them. I would ask, by what law the parliament has authority over America? By the law of God, in the Old and New Testament, it has none; by the law of nature and nations, it has none; by the common law of England, it has none, for the common law, and the authority of parliament founded on it, never extended beyond the four seas; by statute law it has none, for no statute was made before the settlement of the colonies for this purpose; and the declaratory act, made in 1766, was made without our consent, by a parliament which had no authority beyond the four seas. What religious, moral, or political obligations then are we under to submit to parliament as a supreme legislative? None at all. When it is said, that if we are not subject to the supreme authority of parliament, Great Britain will make us so, all other laws and obligations are given up, and recourse is had to the ratio ultima of Louis XIV. and the suprema lex of the king of Sardinia,—to the law of brickbats and cannon balls, which can be answered only by brickbats and balls.

This language, “the imperial crown of Great Britain,” is not the style of the common law, but of court sycophants. It was introduced in allusion to the Roman empire, and intended to insinuate that the prerogative of the imperial crown of England was like that of the Roman emperor, after the maxim was established, quod principi placuit legis habet vigorem; and, so far from including the two houses of parliament in the idea of this imperial crown, it was intended to insinuate that the crown was absolute, and had no need of lords or commons to make or dispense with laws. Yet even these court sycophants, when driven to an explanation, never dared to put any other sense upon the words imperial crown than this, that the crown of England was independent of France, Spain, and all other kings and states in the world.

When he says, that the king’s dominions must have an uncontrollable power coextensive with them, I ask whether they have such a power or not? and utterly deny that they have, by any law but that of Louis XIV. and the king of Sardinia. If they have not, and it is necessary that they should have, it then follows that there is a defect in what he calls the British empire; and how shall this defect be supplied? It cannot be supplied consistently with reason, justice, policy, morality, or humanity, without the consent of the colonies and some new plan of connection. But if Great Britain will set all these at defiance, and resort to the ratio ultima, all Europe will pronounce her a tyrant, and America never will submit to her, be the danger of disobedience as great as it will.

But there is no need of any other power than that of regulating trade, and this the colonies ever have been, and will be, ready and willing to concede to her. But she will never obtain from America any further concession while she exists. We are then asked, “for what she protected and defended the colonies against the maritime powers of Europe, from their first settlement to this day?” I answer, for her own interest; because all the profits of our trade centred in her lap. But it ought to be remembered, that her name, not her purse, nor her fleets and armies ever protected us, until the last war, and then the minister who conducted that war informed us that the annual millions from America enabled her to do it.

We are then asked, for what she purchased New York of the Dutch? I answer, she never did. The Dutch never owned it, were never more than trespassers and intruders there, and were finally expelled by conquest. It was ceded, it is true, by the treaty of Breda, and it is said in some authors, that some other territory in India was ceded to the Dutch in lieu of it. But this was the transaction of the king, not of parliament, and therefore makes nothing to the argument.

But admitting, for argument sake, (since the cautious Massachusettensis will urge us into the discussion of such questions,) what is not a supposable case, that the nation should be so sunk in sloth, luxury, and corruption, as to suffer their minister to persevere in his mad blunders, and send fire and sword against us, how shall we defend ourselves? The colonies south of Pennsylvania have no men to spare, we are told. But we know better; we know that all those colonies have a back country, which is inhabited by a hardy, robust people, many of whom are emigrants from New England, and habituated, like multitudes of New England men, to carry their fuzees or rifles upon one shoulder, to defend themselves against the Indians, while they carry their axes, scythes, and hoes upon the other, to till the ground. Did not those colonies furnish men the last war, excepting Maryland? Did not Virginia furnish men, one regiment particularly, equal to any regular regiment in the service? Does the soft Massachusettensis imagine, that in the unnatural, horrid war he is now supposing, their exertions would be less? If he does, he is very ill informed of their principles, their present sentiments and temper.

But, “have you arms and ammunition?” I answer, we have; but if we had not, we could make a sufficient quantity of both. What should hinder? We have many manufacturers of firearms now, whose arms are as good as any in the world. Powder has been made here, and may be again, and so may saltpetre. What should hinder? We have all the materials in great abundance, and the process is very simple. But if we neither had them nor could make them, we could import them.

But “the British navy!” ay, there’s the rub. Let us consider, since the prudent Massachusettensis will have these questions debated, how many ships are taken to blockade Boston harbor! How many ships can Britain spare to carry on this humane and political war, the object of which is a pepper-corn! Let her send all the ships she has round her island; what if her ill-natured neighbors, France and Spain, should strike a blow in their absence? In order to judge what they could all do when they arrived here, we should consider what they are all able to do round the island of Great Britain. We know that the utmost vigilance and exertions of them, added to all the terrors of sanguinary laws, are not sufficient to prevent continual smuggling into their own island. Are there not fifty bays, harbors, creeks, and inlets upon the whole coast of North America, where there is one round the island of Great Britain? Is it to be supposed, then, that the whole British navy could prevent the importation of arms and ammunition into America, if she should have occasion for them to defend herself against the hellish warfare that is here supposed?

But what will you do for discipline and subordination? I answer, We will have them in as great perfection as the regular troops. If the provincials were not brought, in the last war, to a proper discipline, what was the reason? Because regular generals would not let them fight, which they ardently wished, but employed them in cutting roads. If they had been allowed to fight, they would have brought the war to a conclusion too soon. The provincials did submit to martial law, and to the mutiny and desertion act the last war, and such an act may be made here by a legislature which they will obey with much more alacrity than an act of parliament.

“The new-fangled militia,” as the specious Massachusettensis calls it, is such a militia as he never saw. They are commanded through the province, not by men who procured their commissions from a governor as a reward for making themselves pimps to his tools, and by discovering a hatred of the people, but by gentlemen, whose estates, abilities, and benevolence have rendered them the delight of the soldiers; and there is an esteem and respect for them visible through the province, which has not been used in the militia. Nor is there that unsteadiness that is charged upon them. In some places, where companies have been split into two or three, it has only served, by exciting an emulation between the companies, to increase the martial spirit and skill. The plausible Massachusettensis may write as he will, but, in a land war, this continent might defend itself against all the world. We have men enough, and those men have as good natural understandings, and as much natural courage as any other men. If they were wholly ignorant now, they might learn the art of war.

But at sea we are defenceless. A navy might burn our seaport towns. What then? If the insinuating Massachusettensis has ever read any speculations concerning an agrarian law, and I know he has, he will be satisfied that three hundred and fifty thousand landholders will not give up their rights, and the constitution by which they hold them, to save fifty thousand inhabitants of maritime towns. Will the minister be nearer his mark, after he has burned a beautiful town and murdered thirty thousand innocent people? So far from it, that one such event would occasion the loss of all the colonies to Great Britain forever. It is not so clear that our trade, fishery, and navigation could be taken from us. Some persons, who understand this subject better than Massachusettensis, with all his sprightly imaginations, are of a different opinion. They think that our trade would be increased. But I will not enlarge upon this subject, because I wish the trade of this continent may be confined to Great Britain, at least as much of it as it can do her any good to restrain.

The Canadians and savages are brought in to thicken the horrors of a picture with which the lively fancy of this writer has terrified him. But, although we are sensible that the Quebec act has laid a foundation for a fabric, which, if not seasonably demolished, may be formidable, if not ruinous, to the colonies, in future times, yet we know that these times are yet at a distance; at present we hold the power of the Canadians as nothing. But we know their dispositions are not unfriendly to us.

The savages will be more likely to be our friends than enemies; but if they should not, we know well enough how to defend ourselves against them.

I ought to apologize for the immoderate length of this paper; but general assertions are only to be confuted by an examination of particulars, which necessarily fills up much space. I will trespass on the reader’s patience only while I make one observation more upon the art, I had almost said chicanery, of this writer.

He affirms that we are not united in this province, and that associations are forming in several parts of the province. The association he means has been laid before the public, and a very curious piece of legerdemain it is. Is there any article acknowledging the authority of parliament, the unlimited authority of parliament? Brigadier Ruggles himself, Massachusettensis himself, could not have signed it if there had been, consistent with their known declared opinions. They associate to stand by the king’s laws, and this every whig will subscribe. But, after all, what a wretched fortune has this association made in the world! The numbers who have signed it would appear so inconsiderable, that I dare say the Brigadier will never publish to the world their numbers or names. But, “has not Great Britain been a nursing-mother to us?” Yes, and we have behaved as nurse-children commonly do,—been very fond of her, and rewarded her all along tenfold for all her care and expense in our nurture.

But “is not our distraction owing to parliament’s taking off a shilling-duty on tea and imposing threepence, and is not this a more unaccountable frenzy, more disgraceful to the annals of America, than the witchcraft?”

Is the threepence upon tea our only grievance? Are we not in this province deprived of the privilege of paying our governors, judges, &c.? Are not trials by jury taken from us? Are we not sent to England for trial? Is not a military government put over us? Is not our constitution demolished to the foundation? Have not the ministry shown, by the Quebec bill, that we have no security against them for our religion, any more than our property, if we once submit to the unlimited claims of parliament? This is so gross an attempt to impose on the most ignorant of the people, that it is a shame to answer it.

Obsta principiis, nip the shoots of arbitrary power in the bud, is the only maxim which can ever preserve the liberties of any people. When the people give way, their deceivers, betrayers, and destroyers press upon them so fast, that there is no resisting afterwards. The nature of the encroachment upon the American constitution is such, as to grow every day more and more encroaching. Like a cancer, it eats faster and faster every hour. The revenue creates pensioners, and the pensioners urge for more revenue. The people grow less steady, spirited, and virtuous, the seekers more numerous and more corrupt, and every day increases the circles of their dependents and expectants, until virtue, integrity, public spirit, simplicity, and frugality, become the objects of ridicule and scorn, and vanity, luxury, foppery, selfishness, meanness, and downright venality swallow up the whole society.

The Wisdom of Founder John Adams Part 5: Novanglus Papers

johnadams2

The Wisdom of Founder John Adams Part 3: Novanglus Papers

NOVANGLUS: ADDRESSED TO THE INHABITANTS OF THE COLONY OF MASSACHUSETTS BAY.

See also:
The Wisdom of Founder John Adams Part 1: Novanglus Papers
The Wisdom of Founder John Adams Part 2: Novanglus Papers
 
PAPER NO. 2.

johnadams1I have heretofore intimated my intention of pursuing the tories through all their dark intrigues and wicked machinations, and to show the rise and progress of their schemes for enslaving this country. The honor of inventing and contriving these measures is not their due. They have been but servile copiers of the designs of Andros, Randolph, Dudley, and other champions of their cause towards the close of the last century. These latter worthies accomplished but little; and their plans had been buried with them for a long course of years, until, in the administration of the late Governor Shirley, they were revived by the persons who are now principally concerned in carrying them into execution. Shirley was a crafty, busy, ambitious, intriguing, enterprising man; and, having mounted, no matter by what means, to the chair of this province, he saw, in a young, growing country, vast prospects of ambition opening before his eyes, and conceived great designs of aggrandizing himself, his family, and his friends. Mr. Hutchinson and Mr. Oliver, the two famous letter-writers, were his principal ministers of state; Russell, Paxton, Ruggles, and a few others, were subordinate instruments. Among other schemes of this junto, one was to have a revenue in America, by authority of parliament.

In order to effect their purpose, it was necessary to concert measures with the other colonies. Dr. Franklin, who was known to be an active and very able man, and to have great influence in the province of Pennsylvania, was in Boston in the year 1754, and Mr. Shirley communicated to him the profound secret,—the great design of taxing the colonies by act of parliament. This sagacious gentleman, this eminent philosopher and distinguished patriot, to his lasting honor, sent the Governor an answer in writing, with the following remarks upon his scheme, remarks which would have discouraged any honest man from the pursuit. The remarks are these:—

“That the people always bear the burden best, when they have, or think they have, some share in the direction.

“That when public measures are generally distasteful to the people, the wheels of government must move more heavily.

“That excluding the people of America from all share in the choice of a grand council for their own defence, and taxing them in parliament, where they have no representative, would probably give extreme dissatisfaction.

“That there was no reason to doubt the willingness of the colonists to contribute for their own defence. That the people themselves, whose all was at stake, could better judge of the force necessary for their defence, and of the means for raising money for the purpose, than a British parliament at so great distance.

“That natives of America would be as likely to consult wisely and faithfully for the safety of their native country, as the governors sent from Britain, whose object is generally to make fortunes, and then return home, and who might therefore be expected to carry on the war against France, rather in a way by which themselves were likely to be gainers, than for the greatest advantage of the cause.

“That compelling the colonies to pay money for their own defence, without their consent, would show a suspicion of their loyalty, or of their regard for their country, or of their common sense, and would be treating them as conquered enemies, and not as free Britons, who hold it for their undoubted right, not to be taxed but by their own consent, given through their representatives.

“That parliamentary taxes, once laid on, are often continued, after the necessity for laying them on ceases; but that if the colonists were trusted to tax themselves, they would remove the burden from the people as soon as it should become unnecessary for them to bear it any longer.

“That if parliament is to tax the colonies, their assemblies of representatives may be dismissed as useless.

“That taxing the colonies in parliament for their own defence against the French, is not more just, than it would be to oblige the cinque-ports, and other parts of Britain, to maintain a force against France, and tax them for this purpose, without allowing them representatives in parliament.

“That the colonists have always been indirectly taxed by the mother country, (besides paying the taxes necessarily laid on by their own assemblies); inasmuch as they are obliged to purchase the manufactures of Britain, charged with innumerable heavy taxes, some of which manufactures they could make, and others could purchase cheaper at markets.

“That the colonists are besides taxed by the mother country, by being obliged to carry great part of their produce to Britain, and accept a lower price than they might have at other markets. The difference is a tax paid to Britain.

“That the whole wealth of the colonists centres at last in the mother country, which enables her to pay her taxes.

“That the colonies have, at the hazard of their lives and fortunes, extended the dominions and increased the commerce and riches of the mother country; that therefore the colonists do not deserve to be deprived of the native right of Britons, the right of being taxed only by representatives chosen by themselves.

“That an adequate representation in parliament would probably be acceptable to the colonists, and would best raise the views and interests of the whole empire.”1

The last of these propositions seems not to have been well considered; because an adequate representation in parliament is totally impracticable; but the others have exhausted the subject.*

Whether the ministry at home, or the junto here, were discouraged by these masterly remarks, or by any other cause, the project of taxing the colonies was laid aside; Mr. Shirley was removed from this government, and Mr. Pownall was placed in his stead.

Mr. Pownall seems to have been a friend to liberty and to our constitution, and to have had an aversion to all plots against either; and, consequently, to have given his confidence to other persons than Hutchinson and Oliver, who, stung with envy against Mr. Pratt and others, who had the lead in affairs, set themselves, by propagating slanders against the Governor among the people, and especially among the clergy, to raise discontents, and make him uneasy in his seat. Pownall, averse to wrangling, and fond of the delights of England, solicited to be recalled, and after some time Mr. Bernard was removed from New Jersey to the chair of this province.

Bernard was the man for the purpose of the junto. Educated in the highest principles of monarchy; naturally daring and courageous; skilled enough in law and policy to do mischief, and avaricious to a most infamous degree; needy, at the same time, and having a numerous family to provide for, he was an instrument suitable in every respect, excepting one, for this junto to employ. The exception I mean was blunt frankness, very opposite to that cautious cunning, that deep dissimulation, to which they had, by long practice, disciplined themselves. However, they did not despair of teaching him this necessary artful quality by degrees, and the event showed that they were not wholly unsuccessful in their endeavors to do it.

While the war lasted, these simple provinces were of too much importance in the conduct of it, to be disgusted by any open attempt against their liberties. The junto, therefore, contented themselves with preparing their ground, by extending their connection and correspondencies in England, and by conciliating the friendship of the crown-officers occasionally here, and insinuating their designs as necessary to be undertaken in some future favorable opportunity, for the good of the empire, as well as of the colonies.

The designs of Providence are inscrutable. It affords conjunctures, favorable for their designs, to bad men, as well as to good. The conclusion of the peace was the most critical opportunity for our junto that could have presented. A peace, founded on the destruction of that system of policy, the most glorious for the nation that ever was formed, and which was never equalled in the conduct of the English government, except in the interregnum, and perhaps in the reign of Elizabeth; which system, however, by its being abruptly broken off, and its chief conductor discarded before it was completed, proved unfortunate to the nation, by leaving it sinking in a bottomless gulf of debt, oppressed and borne down with taxes.

At this lucky time, when the British financier was driven out of his wits, for ways and means to supply the demands upon him, Bernard is employed by the junto, to suggest to him the project of taxing the colonies by act of parliament.

I do not advance this without evidence. I appeal to a publication made by Sir Francis Bernard himself, the last year, of his own Select Letters on the Trade and Government of America; and the Principles of Law and Polity applied to the American Colonies. I shall make use of this pamphlet1 before I have done.

In the year 1764, Mr. Bernard transmitted home to different noblemen and gentlemen, four copies of his Principles of Law and Polity, with a preface, which proves incontestably, that the project of new-regulating the American Colonies was not first suggested to him by the ministry, but by him to them. The words of this preface are these: “The present expectation, that a new regulation of the American governments will soon take place, probably arises more from the opinion the public has of the abilities of the present ministry, than from any thing that has transpired from the cabinet. It cannot be supposed that their penetration can overlook the necessity of such a regulation, nor their public spirit fail to carry it into execution. But it may be a question, whether the present is a proper time for this work; more urgent business may stand before it; some preparatory steps may be required to precede it; but these will only serve to postpone. As we may expect that this reformation, like all others, will be opposed by powerful prejudices, it may not be amiss to reason with them at leisure, and endeavor to take off their force before they become opposed to government.”

These are the words of that arch-enemy of North America, written in 1764, and then transmitted to four persons, with a desire that they might be communicated to others.

Upon these words, it is impossible not to observe: First, that the ministry had never signified to him any intention of new-regulating the colonies, and therefore, that it was he who most officiously and impertinently put them upon the pursuit of this will-with-a-wisp, which has led him and them into so much mire; secondly, the artful flattery with which he insinuates these projects into the minds of the ministry, as matters of absolute necessity, which their great penetration could not fail to discover, nor their great regard to the public omit; thirdly, the importunity with which he urges a speedy accomplishment of his pretended reformation of the governments; and, fourthly, his consciousness that these schemes would be opposed, although he affects to expect from powerful prejudices only, that opposition, which all Americans say, has been dictated by sound reason, true policy, and eternal justice. The last thing I shall take notice of is, the artful, yet most false and wicked insinuation, that such new regulations were then generally expected. This is so absolutely false, that, excepting Bernard himself, and his junto, scarcely anybody on this side the water had any suspicion of it,—insomuch that, if Bernard had made public, at that time, his preface and principles, as he sent them to the ministry, it is much to be doubted whether he could have lived in this country; certain it is, he would have had no friends in this province out of the junto.

The intention of the junto was, to procure a revenue to be raised in America by act of parliament. Nothing was further from their designs and wishes, than the drawing or sending this revenue into the exchequer in England, to be spent there in discharging the national debt, and lessening the burdens of the poor people there. They were more selfish. They chose to have the fingering of the money themselves. Their design was, that the money should be applied, first, in a large salary to the governor. This would gratify Bernard’s avarice; and then, it would render him and all other governors, not only independent of the people, but still more absolutely a slave to the will of the minister. They intended likewise a salary for the lieutenant-governor. This would appease in some degree the gnawings of Hutchinson’s avidity, in which he was not a whit behind Bernard himself. In the next place, they intended a salary to the judges of the common law, as well as admiralty. And thus, the whole government, executive and judicial, was to be rendered wholly independent of the people, (and their representatives rendered useless, insignificant, and even burthensome,) and absolutely dependent upon, and under the direction of the will of the minister of state. They intended, further, to new-model the whole continent of North America; make an entire new division of it into distinct, though more extensive and less numerous colonies; to sweep away all the charters upon the continent with the destroying besom of an act of parliament; and reduce all the governments to the plan of the royal governments, with a nobility in each colony, not hereditary indeed at first, but for life. They did indeed flatter the ministry and people in England with distant hopes of a revenue from America, at some future period, to be appropriated to national uses there. But this was not to happen, in their minds, for some time. The governments must be new-modelled, new-regulated, reformed, first, and then the governments here would be able and willing to carry into execution any acts of parliament, or measures of the ministry, for fleecing the people here, to pay debts, or support pensioners on the American establishment, or bribe electors or members of parliament, or any other purpose that a virtuous ministry could desire.

But, as ill luck would have it, the British financier was as selfish as themselves, and, instead of raising money for them, chose to raise it for himself. He put the cart before the horse. He chose to get the revenue into the exchequer, because he had hungry cormorants enough about him in England, whose cawings were more troublesome to his ears than the croaking of the ravens in America. And he thought, if America could afford any revenue at all, and he could get it by authority of parliament, he might have it himself, to give to his friends, as well as raise it for the junto here, to spend themselves, or give to theirs. This unfortunate, preposterous improvement, of Mr. Grenville, upon the plan of the junto, had wellnigh ruined the whole.

I will proceed no further without producing my evidence. Indeed, to a man who was acquainted with this junto, and had any opportunity to watch their motions, observe their language, and remark their countenances, for these last twelve years, no other evidence is necessary; it was plain to such persons what this junto were about. But we have evidence enough now, under their own hands, of the whole of what was said of them by their opposers through the whole period.

Governor Bernard, in his letter of July 11, 1764, says, “that a general reformation of the American governments would become not only a desirable but a necessary measure.” What his idea was, of a general reformation of the American governments, is to be learned from his Principles of Law and Polity, which he sent to the ministry in 1764. I shall select a few of them in his own words; but I wish the whole of them could be printed in the newspapers, that America might know more generally the principles, and designs, and exertions of our junto.

His 29th proposition is: “The rule that a British subject shall not be bound by laws, or liable to taxes, but what he has consented to by his representatives, must be confined to the inhabitants of Great Britain only; and is not strictly true even there.

“30. The Parliament of Great Britain, as well from its rights of sovereignty, as from occasional exigencies, has a right to make laws for, and impose taxes upon, its subjects in its external dominions, although they are not represented in such Parliament. But,

“31. Taxes imposed upon the external dominions ought to be applied to the use of the people from whom they are raised.

“32. The Parliament of Great Britain has a right and a duty to take care to provide for the defence of the American colonies; especially as such colonies are unable to defend themselves.

“33. The Parliament of Great Britain has a right and a duty to take care that provision be made for a sufficient support of the American governments.” Because,

“34. The support of the government is one of the principal conditions upon which a colony is allowed the power of legislation.” Also, because,

“35. Some of the American colonies have shown themselves deficient in the support of their several governments, both as to sufficiency and independency.”

His 75th proposition is: “Every American government is capable of having its constitution altered for the better.

“76. The grants of the powers of government to the American colonies, by charters, cannot be understood to be intended for other than their infant or growing states.

“77. They cannot be intended for their mature state, that is, for perpetuity; because they are in many things unconstitutional, and contrary to the very nature of a British government. Therefore,

“78. They must be considered as designed only as temporary means, for settling and bringing forward the peopling the colonies; which being effected, the cause of the peculiarity of their constitution ceases.

“79. If the charters can be pleaded against the authority of parliament, they amount to an alienation of the dominions of Great Britain, and are, in effect, acts of dismembering the British empire, and will operate as such, if care is not taken to prevent it.

“83. The notion which has heretofore prevailed, that the dividing America into many governments, and different modes of government, will be the means to prevent their uniting to revolt, is ill-founded; since, if the governments were ever so much consolidated, it will be necessary to have so many distinct states, as to make a union to revolt impracticable.” Whereas,

“84. The splitting America into many small governments, weakens the governing power and strengthens that of the people; and thereby makes revolting more probable and more practicable.

“85. To prevent revolts in future times, (for there is no room to fear them in the present,) the most effectual means would be, to make the governments large and respectable, and balance the powers of them.

“86. There is no government in America at present, whose powers are properly balanced; there not being in any of them a real and distinct third legislative power mediating between the king and the people, which is the peculiar excellence of the British constitution.

“87. The want of such a third legislative power adds weight to the popular, and lightens the royal scale, so as to destroy the balance between the royal and popular powers.

“88. Although America is not now, (and probably will not be for many years to come) ripe enough for a hereditary nobility, yet it is now capable of a nobility for life.

“89. A nobility appointed by the king for life, and made independent, would probably give strength and stability to the American governments as effectually as a hereditary nobility does to that of Great Britain.

“90. The reformation of the American governments should not be controlled by the present boundaries of the colonies, as they were mostly settled upon partial, occasional, and accidental considerations, without any regard to the whole.

“91. To settle the American governments to the greatest possible advantage, it will be necessary to reduce the number of them; in some places to unite and consolidate; in others to separate and transfer; and in general to divide by natural boundaries instead of imaginary lines.

“92. If there should be but one form of government established for all the North American provinces, it would greatly facilitate the reformation of them; since, if the mode of government was everywhere the same, people would be more indifferent under what division they were ranged.

“93. No objections ought to arise to the alteration of the boundaries of provinces from proprietors, on account of their property only; since there is no occasion that it should in the least affect the boundaries of properties.

“94. The present distinctions of one government being more free or more popular than another, tends to embarrass and to weaken the whole, and should not be allowed to subsist among people subject to one king and one law, and all equally fit for one form of government.

“95. The American colonies, in general, are at this time arrived at that state, which qualifies them to receive the most perfect form of government which their situation and relation to Great Britain make them capable of.

“96. The people of North America, at this time, expect a revisal and reformation of the American governments, and are better disposed to submit to it than ever they were, or perhaps ever will be again.

“97. This is, therefore, the proper and critical time to reform the American governments, upon a general, constitutional, firm, and durable plan; and if it is not done now, it will probably every day grow more difficult, till at last it becomes impracticable.”

My friends, these are the words, the plans, principles, and endeavors of Governor Bernard, in the year 1764. That Hutchinson and Oliver, notwithstanding all their disguises, which you well remember, were in unison with him in the whole of his measures, can be doubted by no man. It appeared sufficiently in the part they all along acted, notwithstanding their professions. And it appears incontestably from their detected letters; of which more hereafter.

Now, let me ask you, if the Parliament of Great Britain had all the natural foundations of authority, wisdom, goodness, justice, power, in as great perfection as they ever existed in any body of men since Adam’s fall; and if the English nation was the most virtuous, pure, and free that ever was; would not such an unlimited subjection of three millions of people to that parliament, at three thousand miles distance, be real slavery? There are but two sorts of men in the world, freemen and slaves. The very definition of a freeman is one who is bound by no law to which he has not consented. Americans would have no way of giving or withholding their consent to the acts of this parliament, therefore they would not be freemen. But when luxury, effeminacy, and venality are arrived at such a shocking pitch in England; when both electors and elected are become one mass of corruption; when the nation is oppressed to death with debts and taxes, owing to their own extravagance and want of wisdom, what would be your condition under such an absolute subjection to parliament? You would not only be slaves, but the most abject sort of slaves, to the worst sort of masters! at least this is my opinion.

Judge you for yourselves between Massachusettensis and Novanglus.

The Wisdom of Founder John Adams Part 4: Novanglus Papers

johnadams2

The Wisdom of Founder John Adams Part 1: Novanglus Papers

NOVANGLUS: OR, A HISTORY OF THE [BRITISH] DISPUTE WITH AMERICA, FROM ITS ORIGIN, IN 1754, TO THE PRESENT TIME; WRITTEN IN 1774, BY JOHN ADAMS.

See also:
The Wisdom of Founder John Adams Part 2: Novanglus Papers
The Wisdom of Founder John Adams Part 3: Novanglus Papers
The Wisdom of Founder John Adams Part 4: Novanglus Papers
The Wisdom of Founder John Adams Part 5: Novanglus Papers

johnadams1The occasion of the production of the series of papers signed Novanglus, in the Boston Gazette of 1774, is given in the Diary of the author. A writer for the government, under the signature of Massachusettensis, supposed by Mr. Adams to be Jonathan Sewall, but who is now understood to have been Daniel Leonard, had made some impression upon public opinion in Massachusetts. His articles, first printed in the Massachusetts Gazette and Post-Boy, immediately attracted much public attention, and called out many replies. They were forthwith collected and printed in a pamphlet form in Boston; republished by James Rivington, in New York, in the same year, under the title of “The Origin of the American Contest with Great Britain, or the present Political State of the Massachusetts Bay in general, and the town of Boston in particular; exhibiting the Rise and Progress of the disordered State of that Country, in a series of weekly Essays, published at Boston, under the signature of Massachusettensis, a Native of New England;” and still another edition was issued in Boston, by J. Mathews, probably during the siege of that place, in the next year, 1776.

The papers of Novanglus, in reply to Massachusettensis, were reprinted in Almon’s Remembrancer for 1775, in an abridged form, and bearing the following title: “History of the Dispute with America, from its Origin, in 1754, to the present Time.” This was reprinted in pamphlet form, in London, by John Stockdale, in 1784, with the name of the author. Previous to this time, a Dutch translation had been made in Holland, apparently for the purpose of extending information respecting the struggle, and inspiring confidence in the author, when he was soliciting an alliance for the United States with that country; and it was published at Amsterdam, by W. Holtrop, 1782, with a portrait. Last of all, the papers of Novanglus and Massachusettensis, in their original form, were collected in one volume, in 1819, and printed by Hews and Goss, in Boston, to which was prefixed the preface which immediately follows.

PREFACE: TO THE EDITION OF 1819.

Jonathan Sewall was descended from Mitchells and Hulls and Sewalls, and I believe Higginsons, that is, from several of the ancient and venerable of New England families. But, as I am no genealogist, I must refer to my aged classmate and highly-esteemed friend, Judge Sewall, of York, whose researches will one day explain the whole.

Mr. Sewall’s father was unfortunate; died young, leaving his son destitute; but as the child had discovered a pregnant genius, he was educated by the charitable contribution of his friends, of whom Dr. Samuel Cooper was one of the most active and successful, among his opulent parishioners. Mr. Sewall graduated at college in 1748; kept a Latin school in Salem till 1756, when Chambers Russell, of Lincoln, a judge of the supreme court and a judge of admiralty, from a principle of disinterested benevolence, received him into his family, instructed him in law, furnished him with books, and introduced him to the practice at the bar. In 1757 and 1758, he attended the supreme court in Worcester, and spent his evenings with me, in the office of Colonel James Putnam, a gentleman of great acuteness of mind, and very extensive and successful practice, and an able lawyer, in whose family I boarded, and under whose auspices I studied law. Here commenced between Mr. Sewall and me a personal friendship, which continued, with none but political interruptions, till his death. He commenced practice in Charlestown, in the county of Middlesex; I, in that parish of the ancient town of Braintree, now called Quincy, then in the county of Suffolk, now of Norfolk. We attended the courts in Boston, Cambridge, Charlestown, and Concord; lived together, frequently slept in the same chamber, and not seldom in the same bed. Mr. Sewall was then a patriot; his sentiments were purely American. To James Otis, who took a kind notice of us both, we constantly applied for advice in any difficulty; and he would attend to us, advise us, and look into books for us, and point out authorities to us, as kindly as if we had been his pupils or his sons.

After the surrender of Montreal, in 1759, rumors were everywhere spread, that the English would now new-model the Colonies, demolish the charters, and reduce all to royal governments. These rumors I had heard as often as he had. One morning I met him accidentally on the floor of the old town-house. “John,” said he, “I want to speak with you.” He always called me John, and I him Jonathan; and I often said to him, I wish my name were David. He took me to a window-seat and said, “These Englishmen are going to play the devil with us. They will overturn every thing. We must resist them, and that by force. I wish you would write in the newspapers, and urge a general attention to the militia, to their exercises and discipline, for we must resist in arms.” I answered, “All this, I fear, is true; but why do you not write yourself? You are older than I am, have more experience than I have, are more intimate with the grandees than I am, and you can write ten times better than I can.” There had been a correspondence between us, by which I knew his refined style, as well as he knew my coarse one. “Why,” said Mr. Sewall, “I would write, but Goffe will find me out, and I shall grieve his righteous soul, and you know what influence he has in Middlesex.” This Goffe had been attorney-general for twenty years, and commanded the practice in Middlesex and Worcester and several other counties. He had power to crush, by his frown or his nod, any young lawyer in his county. He was afterwards Judge Trowbridge, but at that time as ardent as any of Hutchinson’s disciples, though he afterwards became alienated from his pursuits and principles.

In December, 1760, or January, 1761, Stephen Sewall, chief justice, died, deeply lamented, though insolvent. My friend Jonathan, his nephew, the son of his brother, who tenderly loved and deeply revered his uncle, could not bear the thought, that the memory of the chief justice should lie under the imputation of bankruptcy. At that time bankruptcy was infamous; now it is scarcely disgraceful. Jonathan undertook the administration of his uncle’s estate. Finding insolvency inevitable, he drew a petition to the General Court, to grant a sum of money sufficient to pay the chief justice’s debts. If my friend had known the character of his countrymen, or the nature of that assembly, he never would have conceived such a project; but he did conceive it, and applied to James Otis and his father, Colonel Otis, to patronize and support it. The Otises knew their countrymen better than he did. They received and presented the petition, but without much hope of success. The petition was rejected; and my friend Sewall conceived a suspicion that it was not promoted with so much zeal by the Otises, as he thought they might have exerted. He imputed the failure to their coldness, was much mortified, and conceived a violent resentment, which he expressed with too much freedom and feeling in all companies.

Goffe, Hutchinson, and all the courtiers soon heard of it, and instantly fastened their eyes upon Sewall, courted his society, sounded his fame, promoted his practice, and soon after made him solicitor-general, by creating a new office expressly for him. Mr. Sewall had a soft, smooth, insinuating eloquence, which, gliding imperceptibly into the minds of a jury, gave him as much power over that tribunal as any lawyer ought ever to possess. He was also capable of discussing before the court any intricate question of law, which gave him at least as much influence there as was consistent with an impartial administration of justice. He was a gentleman and a scholar, had a fund of wit, humor, and satire, which he used with great discretion at the bar, but poured out with unbounded profusion in the newspapers. Witness his voluminous productions in the newspapers, signed long J. and Philanthropos. These accomplishments richly qualified him to serve the purposes of the gentlemen who courted him into their service.

Mr. Sewall soon fell in love with Miss Esther Quincy, the fourth daughter of Edmund Quincy, an eminent merchant and magistrate, and a granddaughter of that Edmund Quincy, who was eighteen years a judge of the superior court, who died of the small-pox in the agency of the province, at the Court of St. James, and whose monument was erected, at the expense of the province, in Bun-hill-fields, London. This young lady, who was celebrated for her beauty, her vivacity, and spirit, lived with her father, in this parish, now called Quincy. Mr. Sewall’s courtship was extended for several years; and he came up very constantly on Saturdays, and remained here until Mondays; and I was sure to be invited to meet him on every Sunday evening. During all these years, there was a constant correspondence between us, and he concealed nothing from me, so that I knew him by his style whenever he appeared in print.

In 1766, he married the object of his affections, and an excellent wife he found her. He was soon appointed attorney-general. In 1768, he was employed by Governor Bernard to offer me the office of advocate-general in the court of admiralty, which I decidedly and peremptorily, though respectfully, refused.

We continued our friendship and confidential intercourse, though professedly in boxes of politics as opposite as east and west, until the year 1774, when we both attended the superior court in Falmouth, Casco Bay, now Portland. I had then been chosen a delegate to Congress. Mr. Sewall invited me to take a walk with him, very early in the morning, on the great hill. In the course of our rambles, he very soon began to remonstrate against my going to Congress. He said, that “Great Britain was determined on her system; her power was irresistible, and would certainly be destructive to me, and to all those who should persevere in opposition to her designs.” I answered, “that I knew Great Britain was determined on her system, and that very determination determined me on mine; that he knew I had been constant and uniform in opposition to all her measures; that the die was now cast; I had passed the Rubicon; swim or sink, live or die, survive or perish with my country, was my unalterable determination.” The conversation was protracted into length, but this was the substance of the whole. It terminated in my saying to him, “I see we must part, and with a bleeding heart I say, I fear forever; but you may depend upon it, this adieu is the sharpest thorn on which I ever set my foot.” I never conversed with him again till the year 1788. Mr. Sewall retired, in 1775, to England, where he remained, and resided in Bristol.

On my return from Congress, in the month of November, 1774, I found the Massachusetts Gazette teeming with political speculations, and Massachusettensis shining like the moon among the lesser stars. I instantly knew him to be my friend Sewall, and was told he excited great exultation among the tories and many gloomy apprehensions among the whigs. I instantly resolved to enter the lists with him, and this is the history of the following volume.

In 1788, Mr. Sewall came to London to embark for Halifax. I inquired for his lodgings, and instantly drove to them, laying aside all etiquette to make him a visit. I ordered my servant to announce John Adams, was instantly admitted, and both of us, forgetting that we had ever been enemies, embraced each other as cordially as ever. I had two hours conversation with him, in a most delightful freedom, upon a multitude of subjects. He told me he had lived for the sake of his two children; he had spared no pains nor expense in their education, and he was going to Halifax in hope of making some provision for them. They are now two of the most respectable gentlemen in Canada. One of them a chief justice, the other an attorney-general. Their father lived but a short time after his return to America; evidently broken down by his anxieties, and probably dying of a broken heart. He always lamented the conduct of Great Britain towards America. No man more constantly congratulated me, while we lived together in America, upon any news, true or false, favorable to a repeal of the obnoxious statutes and a redress of our grievances; but the society in which he lived had convinced him that all resistance was not only useless but ruinous.

More conscious than ever of the faults in the style and arrangement, if not in the matter, of my part of the following papers, I shall see them in print with more anxiety than when they were first published. The principles, however, are those on which I then conscientiously acted, and which I now most cordially approve.

To the candor of an indulgent nation, whom I congratulate on their present prosperity and pleasing prospects, and for whose happiness I shall offer up my dying supplications to Heaven, I commit the volume with all its imperfections.

John Adams. Quincy, Mass. January 1, 1819

King's mountain battle

History of the Battle of King’s Mountain and it’s Heroes: Part XV October-November, 1780

Part XV includes: Colonel Campbell Denounces Plundering.— Complaints against Tory Leaders.— Their Outrages on the Whigs.—A Court called to Consider the Matter.—Retaliation for British Executions Demanded.— A Law Found to Meet the Case.—Charges against Mills, Gilkey, and Ale Fall.— Colonel Davenport Noticed.—Number of Tories Tried and Condemned.— Case of fames Crawford.—One of the Prisoners Released.—Cleveland Favoring Severe Measures.— Motives of the Patriots Vindicated.—Shelby’s Explanation.— Tories Executed—their Names and Residence.—Paddy Carr’s Remarks, and Notice of Him.—Baldwin’s Singular Escape.— Further Executions Stopped.— Tories Subsequently Hung.—Rumor of Tarleton’s Approach.— Whigs Hasten to the Catawba.—A Hard Day’s March—Sufferings of Patriots and Prisoners.—Major McDowell’s Kindness.—Mrs. McDowell’s Treatment of British Officers.—Some of the Whig Troops Retire.—Disposition of the Wounded. —Prisoners Escape—One Re-taken and Hung.—March to the Moravian Settlements.—Bob Powell’s Challenge.—Official Account of the Battle Prepared.— Campbell and Shelby Visit General Gates. — Cleveland left in Command.—His Trial of Tories.—Escape of Green and Langum.— Cleveland Assaults Doctor Johnson.—Colonel Armstrong Succeeds to the Command.—Escape of British Officers.

battle_kings_mt

See also October 7, 1780 Battle of King’s Mountain

While encamped at [Captain Aaron] Bickerstaff’s, on Saturday, the fourteenth, Colonel [William] Campbell issued a General Order, deploring the “many deserters from the army,” and the felonies committed by them on the poverty-stricken people of the country. “It is with anxiety,” he adds, “that I hear the complaints of the inhabitants on account of the plundering parties who issue out of the camp, and indiscriminately rob both Whig and Tory, leaving our friends, I believe, in a worse situation than the enemy would have done;” and appeals to the officers “to exert themselves in suppressing this abominable practice, degrading to the name of soldiers.” He further orders that none of the troops be discharged, till the prisoners can be transferred to a proper guard. fn1  But some of the prisoners were soon to be disposed of in a manner evidently not anticipated when the order just issued was made known to the army.

Campbell
During this day, an important occurrence transpired at Bickerstaff’s. The officers of the two Carolina’s united in presenting a complaint to Colonel Campbell, that there were, among the prisoners, a number who were robbers, house-burners, parole-breakers, and assassins. The British victory near Camden had made, says General Preston, “Cornwallis complete master of South Carolina. This power he was using with cruelty, unparalleled in modern civilized conquest; binding down the conquered people like malefactors, regarding each Rebel as a condemned criminal, and checking every murmur, answering every suspicion with the sword and the fire-brand. If a suspected Whig fled from his house to escape the insult, the scourge or the rope, the myrmidons of Ferguson and Tarleton burned it down, and ravished his wife and daughters; if a son refused to betray his parent, he was hung like a dog; if a wife refused to tell the hiding-place of her husband, her belly was ripped open by the butcher-knife of the Tory; and to add double horror and infamy to the deep damnation of such deeds, Americans were forced to be the instruments for perpetrating them. That which Tarleton (beast, murderer, hypocrite, ravisher as he was,) was ashamed to do, he had done by Americans—neighbors, kinsmen of his victims. I draw no fancy picture—the truth is wilder far than the fabulists imagination can feign.” fn2

Battle of King's Mountain

Bancroft touchingly depicts the sad condition of the people, where unchecked Toryism had borne sway: “The sorrows of children and women,” he says, “robbed and wronged, shelterless, stripped of all clothes but those they wore, nestling about fires they kindled on the ground, and mourning for their fathers and husbands,” were witnessed on every hand; and these helpless sufferers appealed to all hearts for sympathy and protection. Colonel Campbell, on the strength of the complaints made to him, was induced to order the convening of a court, to examine fully into the matter. The Carolina officers urged, that, if these men should escape, exasperated, as they now were, in consequence of their humiliating defeat, they would commit other enormities worse than their former ones. fn3 The British leaders had, in a high-handed and summary manner, hung not a few of the captured patriots at Camden, and more recently at Ninety Six, and Augusta; and now that the Whigs had the means of retaliation at their command, they began to consider whether it was not their duty to exercise it; thinking, probably, that it would have a healthful influence upon the Loyalists—that the disease of Toryism, in its worst aspects, was disastrous in its effects, and heroic treatment had become necessary.

Colonel [Isaac] Shelby, with others, seems to have taken this view of the subject. When the mountaineers “reached Gilbert Town,” says Shelby, ” a week after the battle, they were informed by a paroled officer, that he had seen eleven patriots hung at Ninety Six a few days before, for being Rebels. Similar cruel and unjustifiable acts had been committed before. In the opinion of the patriots, it required retaliatory measures to put a stop to these atrocities. A copy of the law of North Carolina was obtained, which authorized two magistrates to summon a jury, and forthwith to try, and, if found guilty, to execute persons who had violated its precepts.”fn4  This law providing capital punishment, must have had reference to those guilty of murder, arson, house-breaking, riots, and other criminal offences.

“Colonel Campbell,” says Ensign [Robert] Campbell, “complied, and ordered a court-martial to sit immediately, composed of the field officers and Captains, who were ordered to inquire into the complaints which had been made. The court was conducted orderly, and witnesses were called and examined in each case—the consequence was, that thirty-two were condemned.”

King's mountain and Sandy Run

Under the law as cited by Colonel Shelby, while the tribunal was, no doubt, practically, a court-martial, it was nominally, at least, a civil court, with two presiding justices. There was no difficulty on this point, for most of the North Carolina officers were magistrates at home—Colonel [Benjamin] Cleveland, and four or five others, of the Wilkes regiment alone filling that position. The jury was composed of twelve officers—Lieutenant [Anthony] Allaire, in his Diary, denouncing it as “an infamous mock jury.” “Under this law,” says Shelby, ” thirty-six men were tried, and found guilty of breaking open houses, killing the men, turning the women and children out of doors, and burning the houses. The trial was concluded late at night; and the execution of the law was as summary as the trial.”

How much of the evidence, hurriedly adduced, was one sided and prejudiced, it is not possible at this late day to determine. Colonel Ambrose Mills, the principal person of those condemned, was a man of fair reputation, and must have been regarded chiefly in the light of being a proper and prominent character upon whom to exercise retaliatory measures; and yet it was necessary to make some specific charge against him—the only one coming down to us, is that related by Silas McBee, one of the King’s Mountain men under Colonel Williams, that Mills had, on some former occasion, instigated the Cherokees to desolate the frontier of South Carolina, which was very likely without foundation. It was proven against Captain Walter Gilkey, that he had called at the house of a Whig; and inquiring if he was at home, was informed by his son, a youth, that he was absent, when the Tory Captain immediately drew his pistol, discharged it, wounding the lad in the arm, and taking his gun from him. Recovering from his wound, this youth was now with the mountaineers, and testified against his would-be murderer. Gilkey’s aged father was present, and offered in vain his horse, saddle and bridle, and a hundred dollars in money, as a ransom for his son.fn5

shout
Another case somewhat similar to Gilkey’s, was that of John McFall, a noted Tory leader of Burke County. Heading a party of mounted Loyalists, McFall dashed up to the house of Martin Davenport, on John’s river, hoping to capture or kill him, as he was a prominent Whig, and had, more than once, marched against the Tories, under Colonel Cleveland and Major [Joseph] McDowell. But they failed to find him, as he was absent in the service. The Tory band vented their spleen and abuse on Mrs. Davenport, and directed her to prepare breakfast for them; and McFall ordered the lad, William Davenport, then in his tenth year, to go to the corn crib, procure some corn, and feed the horses in the trough prepared for such use at the hitching post. After getting their meal, and coming out to start off, McFall discovered that the horses had not been fed, and asked the little fellow roughly why he had not done as he had bidden him? The spirited little Rebel replied: “If you want your horses fed, feed them yourself.” Flying into a passion, McFall cut a switch and whipped him smartly.

Jos M McDowell

At the trial at Bickerstaff’s, when McFall’s case was reached, Major McDowell, as the proper representative of Burke County, whence the culprit hailed, was called on to give his testimony; when, not probably regarding McFall’s conduct as deserving of death, he was disposed to be lenient towards him. Colonel Cleveland, who, it would appear, was one of the presiding justices, had his attention attracted from his paper, upon which he was making some notes, bv hearing McFall’s name mentioned, now spoke up—”That man, McFall, went to the house of Martin Davenport, one of my best soldiers, when he was away from home, fighting for his country, insulted his wife, and whipped his child; and no such man ought to be allowed to live.” fn6 His fate was sealed by this revelation; but his brother, Arthur McFall, the old hunter of the mountains, was saved through the kind intervention of Major and Captain McDowell, believing, as he had been wounded in the arm at King’s Mountain, it would admonish him not to be found in the future in bad company. fn7

Benjamin Sharp represents that the number of Tories condemned to the gallows was upwards of forty, Thomas Maxwell and Governor David Campbell say thirty-nine, Shelby thirty-six, [General William B.] Lenoir and Ensign Campbell thirty-two, while Ramsey’s Tennessee, Lieutenant Allaire, Benjamin Starritt and others, give the number as thirty. Starritt asserts that those upon whom sentence of death had been pronounced, were divided into three classes of ten each—Colonel [Ambrose] Mills heading the first class, and James Crawford the second class. It will be remembered that Crawford, who lived at the head of French Broad river, belonged to Sevier’s regiment; and while at “The Bald” of the Yellow Mountain on their outward march, had enticed Samuel Chambers, an inexperienced youth, to desert with him, and they gave [Major Patrick] Ferguson information of the plans and approach of the mountaineers. It is said, that when Ferguson had taken post on King’s Mountain, and a week had elapsed since the renegades brought the report, that he had caused Crawford to be tried and condemned for bringing false intelligence; and the evening of the seventh of October had been set for his execution. However this may have been, Colonel [John] Sevier interceded in Crawford’s behalf, as he could not bear to see his old neighbor and friend suffer an ignominious death, and had him pardoned. He subsequently removed to Georgia. Young Chambers’ guilt was excused on account of his youthfulness. fn8 Judged by the laws of war, Crawford was a deserter; and in view of the injury he tried to inflict on the Whig cause, he as richly deserved the halter as Andre’, and doubtless much more than any of his Tory associates.

As Abram Forney, one of the Lincoln troops, was surveying the prisoners, through the guard surrounding them, he discovered one of his neighbors, who only a short time before King’s Mountain battle, had been acting with the Whigs; but had been over-persuaded, by some of his Tory acquaintances, to join the King’s troops. Upon seeing him, Forney exclaimed—” Is that you, Simon?” “Yes,” he replied, quickly, ” it is, Abram, and I beg you to get me out of this bull-pen; if you do, I will promise never to be caught in such a scrape again.” When it was, accordingly, made to appear on the day of trial, that he had been unfortunately wrought upon by some Tory neighbors, such a mitigation of his disloyalty was presented as to induce the court to overlook his offence, and set him at liberty. Soon afterwards, true to his promise, he joined his former Whig comrades, marched to the battle of Guilford, and made a good soldier to the end of the war. fn9

So far as the evidence goes, Colonel Cleveland was probably more active and determined than any other officer in bringing about these severe measures; though Colonel Brandon, it was well known, was an inveterate hater of Tories; and Colonel Shelby seems to have aided in finding a State law that would meet these cases. It is said that Cleveland had previously threatened to hang certain Tories whenever he could catch them; fn10 and Governor [John] Rutledge, shortly after this affair, ascribed to him the chief merit of the execution of several “noted horse thieves and Tories” taken at King’s Mountain. fn11

The Southern country was then in a very critical condition, and there seemed to be a grave necessity for checking, by stern and exemplary punishment, the Tory lawlessness that largely over-spread the land, and impressing that class with a proper sense of the power and determination of the Whigs to protect their patriot friends, and punish their guilty enemies. Referring to the action at Bickerstaff’s, Ensign Campbell well observes: “The officers on that occasion acted from an honorable motive to do the greatest good in their power for the public service, and to check those enormities so frequently committed in the States of North and South Carolina at that time, their distress being almost unequalled in the annals of the American Revolution.” The historian, Bancroft, errs in supposing that these executions were the work of lawless ” private soldiers.” fn12   The complaints against the Tory leaders were made by the officers of the western army from the two Carolinas, and the court and jury were composed exclusively of officers—and all was done under the form and sanction of law.

riflemen-forest

While the jurist-historian, Johnson, could have wished that the conquerors of Ferguson had been magnanimous, and spared these miserable wretches from the gallows, yet as an act of justice and public policy he vindicates their conduct. Many severe animadversions, he observes, have been showered on the brave men who fought at King’s Mountain for this instance of supposed severity. War, in its mildest form, is so full of horrors, that the mind recoils from vindicating any act that can, in the remotest degree, increase its miseries. To these no act contributes more than that of retaliation. Hence no act should be ventured upon with more solemn deliberation, and none so proper to be confined to a commander-in-chief, or the civil power. But the brave men who fought in the affair at King’s Mountain, are not to be left loaded with unmerited censure.

The calmest and most dispassionate reflection upon their conduct, on this occasion, will lead to the conviction, that if they committed any offence, it was against their own country—not against the enemy. That instead of being instigated by a thirst of blood, they acted solely with a view to put an end to its effusion; and boldly, for this purpose, took upon themselves all the dangers that a system of retaliation could super induce. The officers of the American army, who, twelve months afterwards, hazarded their lives by calling upon their General to avenge the death of Hayne, justly challenge the gratitude and admiration of their country; but the men of King’s Mountain (for it is avowed as a popular act, and not that of their chief alone), merit the additional reputation of having assumed on themselves the entire responsibility, without wishing to involve the regular army in their dangers. And this was done in the plenitude of British triumph, and when not a man of them could count on safety for an hour, in anything but his own bravery and vigilance.

But what was the prospect before them? They were all proscribed men; the measures of Lord Cornwallis had put them out of the protection of civilized warfare; and the spirit in which his proclamations and instructions were executed by his officers, had put them out of the protection of common humanity. The massacres at Camden had occurred not six weeks before, and those of Browne, at Augusta, scarcely half that time. Could they look on and see this system of cruelty prosecuted, and not try the only melancholy measure that could check it? The effect proved that there was as much of reflection as of passion in the act; for the little despots who then held the country, dared prosecute the measure no farther. Another and an incontestable proof that blind revenge did not preside over the counsels that consigned these men to death, is drawn from the deliberation with which they were selected, and the mildness manifested to the residue of the prisoners.

It has been before observed, that, in the ranks of Colonel Ferguson, there were many individuals notorious as habitual plunderers and murderers. What was to be done with these? There were no courts of justice to punish their offences; fn13 and, to detain them as prisoners of war, was to make them objects of exchange. Should such pests to society be again enlarged, and suffered to renew their outrages? Capture in arms does not exempt the deserter from the gallows; why should it the cold-blooded murderer? There was no alternative left; and the officers, with all the attention to form that circumstances would permit, and more—a great deal, it is believed—than either Browne or Cornwallis had exhibited, could only form a council, and consign them to the fate that would have awaited them in the regular administration of justice.fn14

It is but just and proper, in this connection, to give the views of Colonel Shelby, one of the conspicuous actors in this whole affair; and he seems to justify it wholly as a measure of retaliation: It is impossible, he observes, for those who have not lived in its midst, to conceive of the exasperation which prevails in a civil war. The execution, therefore, of the nine Tories at [near] Gilbert Town, will, by many persons, be considered an act of retaliation unnecessarily cruel. It was believed by those who were on the ground to be both necessary and proper, for the purpose of putting a stop to the execution of the patriots in the Carolinas by the Tories and British. The event proved the justice of the expectation of the patriots. The execution of the Tories did stop the execution of the Whigs. And it may be remarked of this cruel and lamentable mode of retaliation, that, whatever excuse and pretenses the Tories may have had for their atrocities, the British officers, who often ordered the execution of Whigs, had none. Their training to arms, and military education, should have prevented them from violating the rules of civilized warfare in so essential a point. fn15

Early in the evening, the trials having been brought to a conclusion, a suitable oak was selected, upon a projecting limb of which the executions were to take place. It was by the road side, near the camp, and is yet standing, known in all that region as the Gallows Oak. Torch-lights were procured, the condemned brought out, around whom the troops formed four deep. It was a singular and interesting night scene, the dark old woods illuminated with the wild glare of hundreds of pine-knot torches; and quite a number of the Loyalist leaders of the Carolinas about to be launched into eternity. The names of the condemned Tories were— Colonel Ambrose Mills, Captain James Chitwood, Captain Wilson, Captain Walter Gilkey, Captain Grimes, Lieutenant Lafferty, John McFall, John Bibby, and Augustine Hobbs. They were swung off three at a time, and left suspended at the place of execution. According to Lieutenant Allaire’s account, they died like soldiers—like martyrs, in their own and friends’ estimation. “These brave but unfortunate Loyalists,” says Allaire, “with their latest breath expressed their unutterable detestation of the Rebels, and of their base and infamous proceedings; and, as they were being turned off, extolled their King and the British Government. Mills, Wilson and Chitwood died like Romans.”fn16 Among the small party of Georgians who served in the campaign, was the noted Captain Paddy Carr, heretofore introduced to the reader. Devoid, as he was, of the finer feelings of humanity, he was deeply interested in, and greatly enjoyed these sickening executions. If there was anything he hated more than another, it was a Tory; and, it may be, much of his extreme bitterness grew out of the fact, that he knew full well how intensely he, in turn, was hated by the Loyalists. Pointing at the unfortunates, while dangling in mid-air, Carr exclaimed: “Would to God every tree in the wilderness bore such fruit as that!”fn17

After nine of the Loyalist leaders had been executed, and three others were about to follow suit, an unexpected incident occurred. Isaac Baldwin, one of these condemned trio, had been a leader of a Tory gang in Burke County, who had sacked many a house, stripping the unfortunate occupants of food, beds and clothing; and not unfrequently, after tying them to trees, and whipping them severely, would leave them in their helpless and gory condition to their fate. While all eyes were directed to Baldwin and his companions, pinioned, and awaiting the call of the executioners, a brother of Baldwin’s, a mere lad, approached, apparently in sincere affection, to take his parting leave. He threw his arms around his brother, and set up a most piteous screaming and lamentation as if he would go into convulsions, or his heart would break of sorrow. While all were witnessing this touching scene, the youth managed to cut the cords confining his brother, who suddenly darted away, breaking through the line of soldiers, and easily escaping under cover of the darkness, into the surrounding forest. Although he had to make his way through more than a thousand of the best marksmen in the world, yet such was the universal admiration or feeling on the occasion, that not one would lift a hand to stop him. fn18
Whether the escape of Baldwin produced a softening effect on the minds of the Whig leaders—any feelings of forbearance towards the condemned survivors; or whether, so far as retaliation, or the hoped-for intimidating influence on the Tories of the country, was concerned, it was thought enough lives had been sacrificed, we are not informed. Some of these men must have been tried within the scope of the civil law, for crimes committed against society; while others must have been tried and condemned for violations of the usages of war; fn19 and yet, after all, the moral effect would seem to have been the principal motive for these cases of capital punishment.

Referring probably to the two companions of Baldwin after he had effected his escape, we have this statement on the authority of Colonel Shelby: “Three more were tied, ready to be swung off. Shelby interfered, and proposed to stop it. The other officers agreed; and the three men who supposed they had seen their last hour, were untied.”fn20 The inference is, that the officers here referred to, who, with Shelby, exercised the pardoning power, or ” put a stop” to further executions, were the presiding officers of the court, in their character of justices, of whom Colonel Campbell could hardly have been one, though a magistrate at home, for the civil court was acting under the laws of North Carolina; and yet Ensign Campbell, in his narrative, speaks of the trials having been conducted before a court martial, and adds, that, after the nine were executed, ” the others were pardoned by the commanding officer;” while another eye-witness, Benjamin Sharp, states that “a court was detailed,” and after the nine were hung, “the rest were reprieved by the commanding officer.” Nor is the language of the late Governor Campbell less explicit: ” A courtmartial was ordered and organized to try many of the Tory officers, charged by the officers of North and South Carolina with many offences—such as murdering unoffending citizens not in arms, and without motive, save the brutal one of destroying human life: Thirty-nine were found guilty, nine of whom were executed, and thirty were pardoned by the commanding officer.” fn21 Whether the survivors were pardoned by the court in its civil capacity, or by the commanding officer at the instance of a court-martial, the executions ceased.fn22

One of the reprieved Tories, touched with a sense of the obligation he was under for sparing his life, and perhaps resolved thereafter to devote his energies to the Whig cause, went to Colonel Shelby at two o’clock that night, and made this revelation: “You have saved my life,” said he, “and I will tell you a secret. Tarleton will be here in the morning—a woman has brought the news.”fn23 No doubt intelligence came that Tarleton had been dispatched by Lord Cornwallis with a strong force for the relief of Ferguson, if relief could be of any service; but as to the particular time of his arrival, that was the merest guess-work, and, with the Tories, the wish was father to the thought. But the Whig leaders, on receiving this information, deeming it prudent to run no risk, but to retire with their prisoners to a place of safety, instantly aroused the camp, picking up everything, sending the wounded into secret places in the mountains, and making every preparation for an early start in the morning. fn24 They marched, according to Allaire’s Diary, at the early hour of five o’clock, on Sunday, the fifteenth of October.

The poor Loyalist leaders had been left swinging from the sturdy oak upon which they had been executed. No sooner had the Whigs moved off, than Mrs. Martha Bickerstaff, or Biggerstaff, the wife of Captain Aaron Bickerstaff who had served under Ferguson, and been mortally wounded at King’s Mountain, with the assistance of an old man who worked on the farm, cut down the nine dead bodies. Eight of them were buried in a shallow trench, some two feet deep; while the remains of Captain Chitwood were conveyed by some of his friends, on a plank, half a mile away to Benjamin Bickerstaff’s, where they were interred on a hill still used as a grave-yard. About 1855, a party of road-makers concluded to exhume the remains of Colonel Mills and his companions, as the place of their burial was well known. The graves of only four of the number were opened, the bones soon crumbling on exposure. Several articles were found in a very good state of preservation—a butcher knife, a small brass chain about five inches in length, evidently used in attaching a powder-horn to a shot-bag, a thumb lancet, a large musket flint, a goosequill, with a wooden stopper, in which were three or four brass pins. These articles, save the knife, and a portion of the pins, are preserved by M. O. Dickerson, Esq., of Rutherfordton.fn25

Shortly after marching from Bickerstaff’s, rain began to fall in torrents, and it never ceased the whole day. “Instead of halting,” says Benjamin Sharp, “we rather mended our pace in order to cross the Catawba river before it should rise to intercept us.” It was regarded as essential to get out of Tarleton’s reach, and hence the straining of every nerve, and the exercise of every self-denial, to accomplish so important an object. The sanguinary character of that impetuous British cavalry officer, and the celerity of his movements, as shown at Buford’s defeat at Monk’s Corner, and at Sumter’s surprise at Fishing Creek, admonished the Whig leaders of the enemy they might have to deal with; and impelled, on this occasion, by the hope of rescuing several hundred British and Tory prisoners was very naturally regarded by the patriots as a powerful incentive for Tarleton to push them to the utmost extremity, and play cut and slash as usual—and hence the supposed necessity of equal exertions on their part to avert so great a calamity. It is not a little singular that, at this very moment, Cornwallis and Tarleton were retreating from Charlotte to Winnsboro, South Carolina, with all their might and main— “with much fatigue,” says Lord Rawdon, “occasioned by violent rains ;” fearing that the ” three thousand” reported victorious mountaineers were in hot pursuit. “It was amusing,” said one of the King’s Mountain men, “when we learned the facts, how Lord Cornwallis was running in fright in one direction, and we mountaineers as eagerly fleeing in the other.”fn26

In Allaire’s newspaper narrative, we have this account —whether colored or distorted, we have no means of determining: “On the morning of the fifteenth, Colonel Campbell had intelligence that Colonel Tarleton was approaching him, when he gave orders to his men, that should Tarleton come up with them, they were immediately to fire on Captain Abraham DePeyster and his officers, who were in the front, and then a second volley on the men. During this day’s march, the men were obliged to give thirty-five Continental dollars for a single ear of Indian corn, and forty for a drink of water, they not being allowed to drink when fording a river; in short, the whole of the Rebels’ conduct from the surrender of the party into their hands, is incredible to relate. Several of the militia that were worn out with fatigue, not being able to keep up, were cut down and trodden to death in the mire.”

It was about ten o’clock at night, according to Allaire’s Diary, and as late as two o’clock, according to Shelby, when the wearied troops and prisoners reached the Catawba, at the Island Ford, where the river was breast deep as they forded it. They bivouacked on the western bank of the river at the Quaker Meadows—the home of Major McDowell. “A distance of thirty-two miles,” says Allaire, “was accomplished this day over a very disagreeable road, all the men worn out with fatigue and fasting, the prisoners having had no bread nor meat for two days”—and, apparently, not even raw corn or pumpkins. Nor had the Whigs fared any better, judging from the statement in the American Review, dictated by Colonel Shelby: ” As an evidence of the hardships undergone by these brave and hardy patriots, Colonel Shelby says that he ate nothing from Saturday morning until after they encamped Sunday night—[or rather Monday morning]—at two o’clock.” Benjamin Sharp throws additional light on the privations of the patriots: “During the whole of this expedition,” he states, “except a few days at our outset, I neither tasted bread nor salt, and this was the case with nearly every man; when we could get meat, which was but seldom, we had to roast and eat it without either; sometimes we got a few potatoes, but our standing and principal rations were ears of corn, scorched in the fire or eaten raw. Such was the price paid by the men of the Revolution for our independence.”

Here, at McDowell’s, some provisions were obtained— not much of a variety, but such as satisfied half-starved men; nor did they seek rest until they had dried themselves by their camp fires, and enjoyed their simple repast. “Major McDowell,” says Sharp, “rode along the lines, and informed us that the plantation belonged to him, and kindly invited us to take rails from his fences, and make fires to warm and dry us. I suppose that every one felt grateful for this generous offer; for it was rather cold, it being the last of October, and every one, from the Commander-in-chief to the meanest private, was as wet as if he had just been dragged through the Catawba river.”

It is evident from Allaire’s Diary, that when it was possible, courtesies were extended to the British officers—even when the Whig patriots themselves were camping out on the ground. “We officers,” he says, ” were allowed to go to Colonel McDowell’s, where we lodged comfortably.” A little incident transpired on this occasion which the good Lieutenant did not care, perhaps, to record in his Diary. Some of these very same officers had visited the residence of the McDowell’s, under very different circumstances, the preceding month, when Ferguson had invaded the Upper Catawba Valley, and when the two brothers, Colonel Charles and Major Joseph McDowell, had retired with their little band across the mountains. Their widowed mother was the presiding hostess of the old homestead at the Quaker Meadows ; she was a woman of uncommon energy and fearlessness of character—a native of the Emerald Isle. She possessed a nice perception of right and wrong; and, withal, was not wanting in her share of quick temper peculiar to her people.

Some of these visitors, having ransacked the house for spoils, very coolly appropriated, among other things, the best articles of clothing of her two noted Rebel sons; and took the occasion to tantalize the aged mother with what would be the fate of her boys when they should catch them. Charles should be killed out-right, but as for Joe, they would first compel him, by way of humiliation, to plead on his knees for his life, and then would slay him without mercy. But these threats did not in the least intimidate Mrs. McDowell; but she talked back at them in her quaint, effective Irish style, intimating that in the whirligigs of life, they might, sooner or later, have a little begging to do for themselves. The changed circumstances had been brought about in one short month, quite as much, perhaps, to the surprise of the good old lady, as to the proud officers of Ferguson’s Rangers. Now they appeared again, wet, weary, and hungry; but Mrs. McDowell readily recognized them, and it required not a little kind persuasion on the part of Major McDowell to induce his mother to give those “thieving vagabond Tories,” as she termed them, shelter, food, and nourishment. But the appeals of her filial son, of whom she was justly proud, coupled with the silent plea of human beings in their needy, destitute condition, prevailed; and in her Christian charity, she returned good for evil.fn27

It was fortunate for the mountaineers that they had succeeded in crossing the Catawba so opportunely, for the next morning they found it had risen so much as to be past fording. This obstacle would naturally prevent, for some time, all pursuit, if indeed any had been made. It was now arranged that Colonel Edward Lacey’s men fn28 should be permitted to return to South Carolina, while most of Shelby’s and Sevier’s regiments, with the footmen of the Virginians, should take their home trail across the mountains. The mounted men of Campbell’s regiment, with the Wilkes and Surry troops under Cleveland and Winston, and perhaps McDowell’s party, together with a few of Sevier’s and Shelby’s young men who preferred to remain in the service, and who had incorporated themselves into McDowell’s corps, now constituted the escort for the prisoners. Shelby states, that after the several corps had retired at the Catawba, there remained not more Whigs than they had prisoners to guard—about five or six hundred.

The wounded Americans, who had been hid away in the mountains when the troops marched so hurriedly from Bickerstaff’s, were soon brought forward; and many of them were left in Burke County, eight or ten miles above Burke Court House, where Doctor Joseph Dobson of that neighborhood, had eighteen of them under his care at one time; four of whom were Wilkes and Surry County officers billeted at a Mr. Mackey’s.fn29

After a needful rest, and the return of fair weather, the patriots proceeded at two o’clock on Monday afternoon, October sixteenth, directing their course, by easy marches, to the head of the Yadkin, and down the valley of that stream. Fording Upper creek, or the North branch of the Catawba, and John’s river, they encamped that night at a Tory plantation, not very far beyond the latter stream.

While on the hurried and toilsome march from Bickerstaff’s to the Catawba, and especially during several hours of the evening, amid rain and mud, it proved a favorable opportunity for many of the prisoners to give their guards the slip, and effect their escape. Allaire says the number reached a hundred. To put a stop to these numerous desertions, the Whig leaders promulgated severe admonitions of the consequences of any further attempts in that direction; but they did not effectually restrain the daring and adventurous. Having marched fifteen miles during Tuesday, passing through Happy Valley and over Warrior Mountain, the troops, with their prisoners, camped that evening at Captain Hatt’s plantation, not very far from Fort Defiance; and, during the night, three of the prisoners attempted to evade their guards, two of them succeeding, while the other was shot through the body, retaken, and executed at five o’clock on the following morning.fn30

During Wednesday, the eighteenth, the troops forded Elk and Warrior creeks, camping that night on the western bank of Moravian creek, a short distance west of Wilkes Court House, having accomplished eighteen miles; and passing the next day through the Old Mulberry Fields, or Wilkes Court House, they took up their camp at Hagoods’ plantation, on Brier creek, having marched sixteen miles this day. While in camp, on Brier creek, Colonel Campbell appears to have discharged some of his Virginians, for he wrote a letter on the twentieth, to his brother-in-law, Colonel Arthur Campbell, giving him a brief account of the battle, but was uncertain as yet what disposition would be made of the prisoners. Taking a late start on Friday, six miles only were accomplished, camping that night at Sales’ plantation. Proceeding by slow marches, they passed Salem, arriving at Bethabara, or Old Town, on the twenty-fourth—both Moravian villages— whose people, according to Allaire, were stanch friends of the King, and were very kind to all the prisoners.

The very first night the British officers had been assigned quarters at Bethabara, Lieutenant Allaire and Doctor Johnson, who were rooming together, were driven from their bed by a violent Whig Captain named Campbell, who, with drawn sword, threatened them with death if they did not instantly obey him. Colonel Campbell was notified of this rudeness, who had the unseasonable intruder turned out of the room; fn31 and this is but another instance of his sense of justice towards helpless prisoners.

Among the Tory captives, was a notorious desperado named Bob Powell. He was a man of unusual size, strong, supple, and powerful. He boasted of his superior ability and agility to out-hop, out-jump, out-wrestle, or out-fight any Whig in the army. He seemed to possess a happier faculty of getting into scrapes, than in getting out. Chained with two accomplices for some bad conduct, he sent word one morning that he wanted to see Colonels Campbell, Shelby and Cleveland, on a matter of importance. When waited on by those officers, he seemed to think that the proposition he was about to submit was a matter of no small consideration—no less than a challenge to wrestle or fight with the best man they could produce from their army, conditioned that, should he prove victor, his freedom should be his reward; should he fail, he would regard his life as forfeited, and they might hang him. Though a couple of guineas were offered to any man who would successfully meet him—probably more with a view of an exhibition of the “manly art,” as then regarded by the frontier people, yet no one saw fit to engage in the offered contest. Under the circumstances, all knew full well that Powell would fight with the desperation of a lion at bay; and none cared to run the risk of encountering a man of his herculean proportions, with the stake of freedom to stimulate his efforts.fn32

It was apparently while at Bethabara, that Colonel’s Campbell, Shelby, and Cleveland made out their official report of King’s Mountain battle. Had it been prepared before Colonels Lacey and Sevier had retired at the Quaker Meadows, the names of those two officers would doubtless have been attached to it also.fn33 Colonel Shelby accompanied the troops to Bethabara. He had been deputed to visit General Horatio Gates at Hillsboro, to tender the services of a corps of mountaineers, mostly refugees, under Major McDowell, to serve under General Daniel Morgan. Colonel Campbell also had occasion to repair to head-quarters to make arrangements for the disposition of the prisoners.

On the twenty-sixth of October, Colonel Campbell issued a General Order, appointing Colonel Cleveland to the command of the troops and prisoners until his expected return, especially providing that full rations be issued to the prisoners; adding, “it is to be hoped, no insult or violence unmerited will be offered them; no unnecessary injury be done to the inhabitants, nor any liquor be sold or issued to the troops without an order from the commanding officer.” fn34 Here we have additional evidence, if any were needed, of Campbell’s humanity and good sense.

Colonels Campbell and Shelby had scarcely departed, when new troubles arose in the treatment of the prisoners. Allaire tells us, that one of the Whig soldiers was passing the guard, where the captives were confined, when he rudely accosted them: “Ah! d—n you, you’ll all be hanged!” One of the prisoners retorted—” Never mind that, it will be your turn next!” For this trifling offence, the poor fellow was tried before Colonel Cleveland, and condemned to be hung. Quite a number of people gathered at Bethabara to witness the execution of the unfortunate man; “but,” adds Allaire, “Colonel Cleveland’s goodness extended so far as to reprieve him.”
About this time, Captain William Green and Lieutenant William Langum, among the Tory prisoners, were tried before Colonel Cleveland. The charge against Green seems to have been, that he had violated the oath he had taken as an officer to support the governments of the State of North Carolina and of the United States, by accepting a British commission, and fighting at King’s Mountain. Some of the British officers were present, and remonstrated at the course taken, when Cleveland cut them short, saying: “Gentlemen, you are British officers, and shall be treated accordingly—therefore give your paroles and march off immediately; the other person is a subject of the State.” fn35 Green and Langum were condemned to be executed the next morning. “May be so,” coolly remarked Green.

That night, as he and his comrade, Langum, were lying before the camp-fire, under a blanket, Green rolled over so that his hands, fastened with buck-skin straps, came in contact with Langum’s face, who seeming to comprehend his companion’s intention, worked away with his teeth till he succeeded in unfastening the knot. Green was now able to reach his pocket, containing a knife, with which he severed the remaining cords, and those of Langum. He then whispered to Langum to be ready to jump up and run when he should set the example. Green was above the ordinary size, strong and athletic. The guard who had special watch of them, was in a sitting posture, with his head resting upon his knees, and had fallen asleep. Maknig a sudden leap, Green knocked the sentinel over, and tried to snatch his gun from him; but the latter caught the skirt of the fleeing man’s coat, and Green had to make a second effort before he could release himself from the soldier’s grasp, and gladly got off with the loss of a part of his garment. In another moment both Green and Langum were dashing down a declivity, and though several shots were fired at them, they escaped unhurt, and were soon beyond the reach of their pursuers. Aided by the friendly wilderness, and sympathizing Loyalists, they in time reached their old region of Buffalo creek, in now Cleveland County, Green at least renouncing his brief, sad experience in the Tory service, joined the Whigs, and battled manfully thereafter for his country. Both Green and Langum long survived the war, and were very worthy people. fn36

Allaire records an incident, involving, if correctly reported, rash treatment on the part of Colonel Cleveland towards Doctor Johnson, whose benevolent acts, it would be supposed, would have commanded the respectful attention of all: “November the first,” writes Lieutenant Allaire, “Doctor Johnson was insulted and knocked down by Colonel Cleveland, for attempting to dress the wounds of a man whom the Rebels had cut on the march. The Rebel officers would often go in amongst the prisoners, draw their swords, cut and wound whom their wicked and savage minds prompted.” fn37 There must have been something unexplained in Doctor Johnson’s conduct—the motive is wanting for an act so unofficer-like as that imputed to Colonel Cleveland. While it is conceded that he was a rough frontier man, and particularly inimical to thieving and murderous Tories, yet he was kind-hearted, and his sympathies as responsive to misfortune as those of the tenderest woman. The same day, Colonel Cleveland was relieved of his command by Colonel Martin Armstrong, his superior in rank, as well as the local commandant of Surry County, where the troops and prisoners then were.

The British officers had been expecting to be paroled. Colonel Cleveland’s remark to them, at Green’s trial, would seem to indicate the early anticipation of such an event. “After we were in the Moravian town about a fortnight,” says Allaire, “we were told we could not get paroles to return within the British lines; neither were we to have any till we were moved over the mountains in the back parts of Virginia, where we were to live on hoe-cake and milk.” Large liberties had been accorded the officers, to enable them to while away the tedium of captivity: so that they sometimes visited the neighboring Moravian settlements, or dined at their friends, in the country.

When Lieutenants Christopher Taylor, William Stevenson, and Allaire learned that there was no immediate prospect of their receiving paroles, they concluded that they would “rather trust the hand of fate,” as Allaire states it in his narrative, and make a desperate effort to reach their friends—taking French leave of their American captors. Accordingly, on Sunday evening, about six o’clock, the fifth of November, they quietly decamped, taking Captain William Gist, of the South Carolina Loyalists, with them; traveling fifteen miles that night to the Yadkin, the fording of which they found very disagreeable, and pushed on twenty miles farther before daylight. Though pursued, the Whigs were misled by false intelligence from Tory sources, and soon gave up the chase.

Traveling by night, and resting by day; sometimes sleeping in fodder-houses, oftener in the woods; with snatches of food at times—hoe-cake and dried beef on one occasion—supplied by sympathizing friends by the way; encountering cold rain storms, and fording streams; guided some of the weary journey by Loyalist pilots, and sometimes following such directions as they could get; passing over the Brushy Mountain, crossing the Upper Catawba, thence over the country to Camp’s Ford of second Broad river, the Island Ford of Main Broad, and the old Iron Works of Pacolet; barely escaping Sumter’s corps at Blackstock’s on Tyger, they at length reached Ninety Six, the eighteenth day after taking their leave of Bethabara, traveling, as they accounted distance, three hundred miles. These resolute adventurers suffered unspeakable fatigues and privations, but successfully accomplished the object of all their toils and self-denials. After resting a day at Ninety Six, they pursued their journey to Charleston.

Footnotes:
(fn1 MS. Order preserved by General Preston.)
(fn2 King’s Mountain Adress, October 1855, 49)
(fn3 Ensign Robert Campbell’s King’s Mountain narrative.)
(fn4 Shelby, in American Review, December, 1848.)
(fn5 Conversations with Silas McBee; narrative of Ensign Robert Campbell; MS. correspondence of W. L. Twitty, as related by the venerable John Gilkey, of Rutherford County, N. C, in no way related to his Tory namesake.)
(fn6 MS. penston statement of Richard Ballew, of Knox County, Ky , formerly of Burke County. N C.; MS. letters of Hon. J. C. Harper, and Captain W. W. Lenoir, who had the particulars from William Davenport himself. Colonel Davenport was born in Culpcper County. Virginia. October 12, 1770. His mother dying about the close of the Revolution of small-pox, his father removed to the mountain region, on Toe river, in now Mitchell County; a hunter’s paradise, where he could indulge himself in his favorite occupation of hunting, and where his son William killed the last elk ever seen in North Carolina. Colonel William Davenport became a man of prominence, representing Burke County in the House of Commons in 1800, and in the Senate in 1802. He possessed an extraordinary memory, was a most excellent man; and was the chief founder of Davenport Female College at Lenoir. He married the widow of Major Charles Gordon, one of the King’s Mountain heroes; and lived for many years in the Happy Valley of the Yadkin, three and a half miles above Fort Defiance, where he died August 19, 1859, in the eighty-ninth year of his age.)
(fn7 MS. correspondence of W. A. McCall. Esq., of McDowell County, N. C, who knew Arthur McFall very well. He used to speak kindly of the McDowells befriending him. and said that Colonel Cleveland had little mercy on Americans who were caught fighting with the British. Arthur McFall spent most of his life as a hunter in the mountains, making his home, when in the settlements, with old acquaintances. He was a man after Daniel Boone’s own heart; and died about the year 1835, on Grassy Creek, at the venerable age of between ninety and a hundred years.)
(fn8 MS. notes of conversations with James and George W. Sevier, and Benjamin Starritt. * Hunter’s Sketches, pp. 266-67.)
(fn9 Hunter’s Sketches, pp.266-67.)
(fn10 Gordon’s American Revolution,’TM., 466; Mrs. Warren’s Revolution, ii. 253.)
(fn11  Russell’s Magazine, 1857, i, 543.)
(fn12 History of the United States, x. 339.)
(fn13 Such was the distraction of the times, that South Carolina, during the period of 1780-81, was without a civil government, Governor Rutledge having been compelled to retire from the State, and the Lieutenant Governor and some of the Council were prisoners of war. Nor during a portion of the war did North Carolina fare much better. At one time, one of her high judicial officers. Samuel Spencer, could only execute the laws against Tories with threats and attempted intimidation : the Governor, at one period, was captured and carried away. When Cornwallis invaded the State, the prominent officials fled, carrying the public records to Washington County, Virginia, on the lower frontiers of Holston, as a place of asylum and security, as is shown by a MS. letter of Colonel Arthur Campbell to Hon. David Campbell, September 15, 1810)
(fn14 Johnson’s Life of Greene, i. pp. 309-11.)
(fn15 Conversations with Governor Shelby, in American Review, December, 1848.)
(fn16 Allaire’s MS. Diary; and his statements as given in the Scot’s Magazine and Riving* ton’s Royal Gazette.
It may be well to give the authorities for the names of the Loyalist leaders who suffered on this occasion. Lord Cornwallis, in his correspondence, names Colonel Mills, as do several historians; Allaire gives the names of Captains Wilson and Chitwood; Gilkey is referred to by Ensign Campbell, and specifically named by Silas McBee, and the venerable John Gilkey; Captain Grimes is mentioned in Ramsey’s Tennessee, and Putnam’s Middle Tennessee; McFall’s name has been preserved by Richard Ballew, John Spelts, and Arthur McFall—eye-witnesses, and his prior acts at Davenport’s are related by Hon. J. C. Harper and Captain W. W. Lenoir, whoderived them from William Davenport; the names of Latterly and Bibby have been communicated by W, L. Twitty, as the traditions of aged people of Rutherford County, N. C, where they, as well as Chitwood lived, whose name is likewise preserved in the memories of the aged inhabitants of that region; and the name of Hobbs is alone remembered by Silas McBee.
Colonel Mills resided on Green river, in Rutherford County; Captain Wilson, in the Ninety Six region. South Carolina; Chitwood, Lafferty, Bibby, and probably Gilkey, in Rutherford; McFall, in Burke County; Hobbs most likely in South Carolina; and Grimes in East Tennessee, where he was a leader of a party of Tory horse-thieve* and highwaymen, and where some of his band were taken and hung. He fled to escape summary punishment, but justice overtook him in the end. His bandit career in Tennessee is noticed in Ramsey’s History of that State, pp. 179. 243; and Putnam’s Middle Tennessee, 58.
General DePeyMer, in his able Address on Kings Mountain, before the New York Historical Society, January, 4, 1SS1, has inadvertently fallen into the error of including Captain Oates as among those executed with Colonel Mills, citing Mrs. Warren’s History as authority. Lord Cornwallis, in his letter to General Smallwood, November. 10, 1780, states that Captain Oates was taken by the Americans near the Pcdee, in South Carolina, and “lately put to death.”
(fn17 J. L. Gray’s MS. statement; Rutherford Enquirer, May 24, 1859.
The Revolutionary war produced few characters so singular and so notorious as Patrick Carr. He was by birth an Irishman, and settled in Georgia before the commencement of the war. It is only in the latter part of the contest we are able to trace him. He shared as a Captain under Colonel Clarke in the heroic attack on Augusta, in September, 1780; then retired to the Carolina*, and joined the mountaineers under Major Candler, and fought at King’s Mountain. The following month we find him under Sumter at Blackstocks; in May, 1781, engaged in forays against British and Tory parties in Georgia, waylaying and defeating them, extending little or no mercy to any of them. In November, 1781, when Major Jackson surprised the British poct at Ogeechce, and its commander, Johnson, was in the act of surrendering his sword to Jackson, Carr treacherously killed Captain Goldsmith. Johnson and his associates, judging that no quarters would be given them, instantly sprang into their place of defence, and compelled the Americans to retire with considerable loss. A notorious Tory by the name of Gunn had concerted a plan to kill Colonel Twiggs, and subsequently fell into the Colonel’s hands, when Carr insisted that Gunn should be hung; But Twiggs, more humane, protected the prisoner from harm. In 178a, Carr was made a Major, and. in the spring and early summer, marched with a force over the Altamaha, where he had two skirmishes with whites and Indians. On one occasion. Carr was praised for his bravery, when he replied that had not God given him too merciful a heart he would have made a very good soldier. It is related that he killed eighteen Tories on his way back from King’s Mountain and Blackstocks to Georgia ; and one hundred altogether during the war, with his own hands! Certain it is, the Tones stood in great awe of him. He was murdered, in August, 1802, in Jefferson County. Georgia, where he long resided; and, it is said, the act was committed by descendants of the Tories. In December following, the Jefferson County troop of Light Horse assembled at his place of Intel mem, Lieutenant Robinson delivering a brief eulogy, when the military fired a volley over his grave. Though “a honey of a patriot,” Paddy Carr left a name “___________ to other times, Mixed with few virtues, and a thousand crimes.”)
(fn18 Conversions with John Spelts and Benjamin Starritt; Memoir of Major Thomas Young: Johnson’s Life of Central Greene, i. 310.
Baldwin made his way into his old region, in Burke County, where his father resided, on Lower Creek of Catawba; where some two weeks afterwards, he was espied in the woods hy some scouts who gave chase, and finally overtook him, one of the pursuers killing him by a single blow over the head with his rifle. Some forty-five years after this tragedy, a younger brother of Ike Baldwin -prnbibly the one who had so successfully planned his Cicipc at Biekcrstaff’s—made three ineffectual attempts to kill the man who had brained the Tory free-booter.)
(fn19 Speech of General Alexander Smyth, in Congress, January 21, 1819, Niles’ Register, xv.. Supplement, 151)
(fn20 American Review, December, 1848.)
(fn21 MS. statement by Governor Campbell.)
(fn22 This, however, was not the last of the Tory executions. A few days after King’s Mnunuin battle, while some young men of the surrounding country—Thomas Patterson, who escaped while a prisoner, and fought so bravely in the action, is believed to have been one of the party—were near the battle-ground, looking for horses in the range, they discovered one of Ferguson’s foragers, who was absent at the time of the engagement. They concluded to capture him; but on showing such an intention, they were surprised at his pluck, in firing on them single-handed—the bullet whizzing close by them without harm. The Tory then betook himself to his heels, but was soon overhauled, and, without much cercmon y, was suspended to the limb of a tree by means of one of the halters designed for the horses His carcass was left hanging till it decayed, and dropped to the ground; while the rope dangled from the limb for several years. So relates the venerable E, A. Patterson, a grand-son of young Arthur Patterson, who. while a prisoner on King’s Mountain, escaped during the battle; corroborated by the venerable Abraham Hardin. Colonel J. R. Logan communicated Mr. Patterson’s tradition of the affair.
Not long after the action at King’s Mountain, a couple of Tories were caught ard hung on an oak tree, near Sandy Plains Baptist Church, in the edge of Cleveland County, some four miles south-east of Flint Hill. Neither their names, nor the crimes with which they were charged, have been preserved. The tree on which they were executed is still standing, and like that at the Bii’kerstafT Red Chimneys, is known as the Gallows Oak; it has been dead several years. This tradition has been communicated by the aged father of Daniel D. Martin, of Rutherford County, and Colonel J. R. Logan.)
(fn23 Shelby’s account in American Review.)
(fn24 Shelby’s account)
(fn25 MS. correspondence of W. L. Twitty and Mr. Dickerson.)
(fn26 MS Notes of conversations with Silas McBee, in 1842.)
(fn27  Related by the lady of Ex-Governor Lewis E. Parsons, of Alabama, who derived it from her mother, a daughter of Major Joseph McDowell, of Quaker Meadows.)
(fn28 Pension statements of William White of Lacey’s regiment, and William Alexander of Campbell’s men.)
(fn29 Lieutenant Newell’s statement, 1823.)
(fn30 Allaire’s MS. Diary. Capt. Halt may possibly be designed for Capt. Holt or Hall.)
(fn31 Allaire’s MS Diary, and his newspaper narrative.)
(fn32  MS. notes of conversation with John Spelts, an eye-witness.)
(fn33 Doctor Ramsey, in his History of Tennessee, states that the three Colonels visited Hillsboro. and there made out their report. Colonel Cleveland did not go there on that occasion, having been left in command at Bethabara. His name was signed to the report by himself, and not by another, as a comparison of his genuine autograph with the/Vs1mtlc signature to the report conclusively shows. Perhaps as a compliment, Colonel Cleveland was permitted to head the list, in signing the report, as shown in facsimile in Lossing s Field Book of the Revolution ; but when General Gates sent a copy, November I, 1780. to Governor Jefferson, to forward to Congress, he very properly placed Campbell’s name first, Shelby’s next, and Cleveland’s last—and so they appear as published in the gazettes at the time by order of Congress.)
(fn34 MS. order, preserved by General Preston.)
(fn35 Gordon’s American Revolution, iii, pp. 466-67.)
(fn36  MS. Deposition of Colonel Wm. Porter, 1814. kindly communicated by Hon. W. P. Bymim; MS. letters of Jonathan Hampton and Colonel J R. Logan, the latter giving the recollections of the venerable James Blanton. now eighty-two years of age. who was well acquainted with both Green and Langum; statements of Benjamin Biggerstaff and J. W. Green, furnished by W. L. Twitty. Some of the traditions represent Langum’s name as Lankford.)
(fn37Allaire’s MS Diary, and his newspaper narrative.)

Founder Thomas Paine on tyranny, the abuse of truth and language

The Crisis letter X, On the King of England’s Speech 1782.

Of all the innocent passions which actuate the human mind there is none more universally prevalent than curiosity. It reaches all mankind, and in matters which concern us, or concern us not, it alike provokes in us a desire to know them.

Although the situation of America, superior to every effort to enslave her, and daily rising to importance and opulence, has placed her above the region of anxiety, it has still left her within the circle of curiosity; and her fancy to see the speech of a man who had proudly threatened to bring her to his feet, was visibly marked with that tranquil confidence which cared nothing about its contents. It was inquired after with a smile, read with a laugh, and dismissed with disdain.

But, as justice is due, even to an enemy, it is right to say, that the speech is as well managed as the embarrassed condition of their affairs could well admit of; and though hardly a line of it is true, except the mournful story of Cornwallis, it may serve to amuse the deluded commons and people of England, for whom it was calculated.

“The war,” says the speech, “is still unhappily prolonged by that restless ambition which first excited our enemies to commence it, and which still continues to disappoint my earnest wishes and diligent exertions to restore the public tranquillity.”

How easy it is to abuse truth and language, when men, by habitual wickedness, have learned to set justice at defiance. That the very man who began the war, who with the most sullen insolence refused to answer, and even to hear the humblest of all petitions, who has encouraged his officers and his army in the most savage cruelties, and the most scandalous plunderings, who has stirred up the Indians on one side, and the negroes on the other, and invoked every aid of hell in his behalf, should now, with an affected air of pity, turn the tables from himself, and charge to another the wickedness that is his own, can only be equalled by the baseness of the heart that spoke it.

To be nobly wrong is more manly than to be meanly right, is an expression I once used on a former occasion, and it is equally applicable now. We feel something like respect for consistency even in error. We lament the virtue that is debauched into a vice, but the vice that affects a virtue becomes the more detestable: and amongst the various assumptions of character, which hypocrisy has taught, and men have practised, there is none that raises a higher relish of disgust, than to see disappointed inveteracy twisting itself, by the most visible falsehoods, into an appearance of piety which it has no pretensions to.

“But I should not,” continues the speech, “answer the trust committed to the sovereign of a free people, nor make a suitable return to my subjects for their constant, zealous, and affectionate attachment to my person, family and government, if I consented to sacrifice, either to my own desire of peace, or to their temporary ease and relief, those essential rights and permanent interests, upon the maintenance and preservation of which, the future strength and security of this country must principally depend.”

That the man whose ignorance and obstinacy first involved and still continues the nation in the most hopeless and expensive of all wars, should now meanly flatter them with the name of a free people, and make a merit of his crime, under the disguise of their essential rights and permanent interests, is something which disgraces even the character of perverseness. Is he afraid they will send him to Hanover, or what does he fear? Why is the sycophant thus added to the hypocrite, and the man who pretends to govern, sunk into the humble and submissive memorialist?

What those essential rights and permanent interests are, on which the future strength and security of England must principally depend, are not so much as alluded to. They are words which impress nothing but the ear, and are calculated only for the sound.

But if they have any reference to America, then do they amount to the disgraceful confession, that England, who once assumed to be her protectress, has now become her dependant. The British king and ministry are constantly holding up the vast importance which America is of to England, in order to allure the nation to carry on the war: now, whatever ground there is for this idea, it ought to have operated as a reason for not beginning it; and, therefore, they support their present measures to their own disgrace, because the arguments which they now use, are a direct reflection on their former policy.

“The favorable appearance of affairs,” continues the speech, “in the East Indies, and the safe arrival of the numerous commercial fleets of my kingdom, must have given you satisfaction.”

That things are not quite so bad every where as in America may be some cause of consolation, but can be none for triumph. One broken leg is better than two, but still it is not a source of joy: and let the appearance of affairs in the East Indies be ever so favorable, they are nevertheless worse than at first, without a prospect of their ever being better. But the mournful story of Cornwallis was yet to be told, and it was necessary to give it the softest introduction possible.

“But in the course of this year,” continues the speech, “my assiduous endeavors to guard the extensive dominions of my crown have not been attended with success equal to the justice and uprightness of my views.” — What justice and uprightness there was in beginning a war with America, the world will judge of, and the unequalled barbarity with which it has been conducted, is not to be worn from the memory by the cant of snivelling hypocrisy.

“And it is with great concern that I inform you that the events of war have been very unfortunate to my arms in Virginia, having ended in the loss of my forces in that province.” — And our great concern is that they are not all served in the same manner.

“No endeavors have been wanted on my part,” says the speech, “to extinguish that spirit of rebellion which our enemies have found means to foment and maintain in the colonies; and to restore to my deluded subjects in America that happy and prosperous condition which they formerly derived from a due obedience to the laws.”

The expression of deluded subjects is become so hacknied and contemptible, and the more so when we see them making prisoners of whole armies at a time, that the pride of not being laughed at would induce a man of common sense to leave it off. But the most offensive falsehood in the paragraph is the attributing the prosperity of America to a wrong cause. It was the unremitted industry of the settlers and their descendants, the hard labor and toil of persevering fortitude, that were the true causes of the prosperity of America. The former tyranny of England served to people it, and the virtue of the adventurers to improve it. Ask the man, who, with his axe, has cleared a way in the wilderness, and now possesses an estate, what made him rich, and he will tell you the labor of his hands, the sweat of his brow, and the blessing of heaven. Let Britain but leave America to herself and she asks no more. She has risen into greatness without the knowledge and against the will of England, and has a right to the unmolested enjoyment of her own created wealth.

“I will order,” says the speech, “the estimates of the ensuing year to be laid before you. I rely on your wisdom and public spirit for such supplies as the circumstances of our affairs shall be found to require. Among the many ill consequences which attend the continuation of the present war, I most sincerely regret the additional burdens which it must unavoidably bring upon my faithful subjects.”

It is strange that a nation must run through such a labyrinth of trouble, and expend such a mass of wealth to gain the wisdom which an hour’s reflection might have taught. The final superiority of America over every attempt that an island might make to conquer her, was as naturally marked in the constitution of things, as the future ability of a giant over a dwarf is delineated in his features while an infant. How far providence, to accomplish purposes which no human wisdom could foresee, permitted such extraordinary errors, is still a secret in the womb of time, and must remain so till futurity shall give it birth.

“In the prosecution of this great and important contest,” says the speech, “in which we are engaged, I retain a firm confidence in the protection of divine providence, and a perfect conviction in the justice of my cause, and I have no doubt, but, that by the concurrence and support of my Parliament, by the valour of my fleets and armies, and by a vigorous, animated, and united exertion of the faculties and resources of my people, I shall be enabled to restore the blessings of a safe and honorable peace to all my dominions.”

The King of England is one of the readiest believers in the world. In the beginning of the contest he passed an act to put America out of the protection of the crown of England, and though providence, for seven years together, has put him out of her protection, still the man has no doubt. Like Pharaoh on the edge of the Red Sea, he sees not the plunge he is making, and precipitately drives across the flood that is closing over his head.

I think it is a reasonable supposition, that this part of the speech was composed before the arrival of the news of the capture of Cornwallis: for it certainly has no relation to their condition at the time it was spoken. But, be this as it may, it is nothing to us. Our line is fixed. Our lot is cast; and America, the child of fate, is arriving at maturity. We have nothing to do but by a spirited and quick exertion, to stand prepared for war or peace. Too great to yield, and too noble to insult; superior to misfortune, and generous in success, let us untaintedly preserve the character which we have gained, and show to future ages an example of unequalled magnanimity. There is something in the cause and consequence of America that has drawn on her the attention of all mankind. The world has seen her brave. Her love of liberty; her ardour in supporting it; the justice of her claims, and the constancy of her fortitude have won her the esteem of Europe, and attached to her interest the first power in that country.

Her situation now is such, that to whatever point, past, present or to come, she casts her eyes, new matter rises to convince her that she is right. In her conduct towards her enemy, no reproachful sentiment lurks in secret. No sense of injustice is left upon the mind. Untainted with ambition, and a stranger to revenge, her progress has been marked by providence, and she, in every stage of the conflict, has blest her with success.

But let not America wrap herself up in delusive hope and suppose the business done. The least remissness in preparation, the least relaxation in execution, will only serve to prolong the war, and increase expenses. If our enemies can draw consolation from misfortune, and exert themselves upon despair, how much more ought we, who are to win a continent by the conquest, and have already an earnest of success?

Having, in the preceding part, made my remarks on the several matters which the speech contains, I shall now make my remarks on what it does not contain.

There is not a syllable in its respecting alliances. Either the injustice of Britain is too glaring, or her condition too desperate, or both, for any neighboring power to come to her support. In the beginning of the contest, when she had only America to contend with, she hired assistance from Hesse, and other smaller states of Germany, and for nearly three years did America, young, raw, undisciplined and unprovided, stand against the power of Britain, aided by twenty thousand foreign troops, and made a complete conquest of one entire army. The remembrance of those things ought to inspire us with confidence and greatness of mind, and carry us through every remaining difficulty with content and cheerfulness. What are the little sufferings of the present day, compared with the hardships that are past? There was a time, when we had neither house nor home in safety; when every hour was the hour of alarm and danger; when the mind, tortured with anxiety, knew no repose, and every thing, but hope and fortitude, was bidding us farewell.

It is of use to look back upon these things; to call to mind the times of trouble and the scenes of complicated anguish that are past and gone. Then every expense was cheap, compared with the dread of conquest and the misery of submission. We did not stand debating upon trifles, or contending about the necessary and unavoidable charges of defence. Every one bore his lot of suffering, and looked forward to happier days, and scenes of rest.

Perhaps one of the greatest dangers which any country can be exposed to, arises from a kind of trifling which sometimes steals upon the mind, when it supposes the danger past; and this unsafe situation marks at this time the peculiar crisis of America. What would she once have given to have known that her condition at this day should be what it now is? And yet we do not seem to place a proper value upon it, nor vigorously pursue the necessary measures to secure it. We know that we cannot be defended, nor yet defend ourselves, without trouble and expense. We have no right to expect it; neither ought we to look for it. We are a people, who, in our situation, differ from all the world. We form one common floor of public good, and, whatever is our charge, it is paid for our own interest and upon our own account.

Misfortune and experience have now taught us system and method; and the arrangements for carrying on the war are reduced to rule and order. The quotas of the several states are ascertained, and I intend in a future publication to show what they are, and the necessity as well as the advantages of vigorously providing for them.

In the mean time, I shall conclude this paper with an instance of British clemency, from Smollett’s History of England, vol. xi., printed in London. It will serve to show how dismal the situation of a conquered people is, and that the only security is an effectual defence.

We all know that the Stuart family and the house of Hanover opposed each other for the crown of England. The Stuart family stood first in the line of succession, but the other was the most successful.

In July, 1745, Charles, the son of the exiled king, landed in Scotland, collected a small force, at no time exceeding five or six thousand men, and made some attempts to re-establish his claim. The late Duke of Cumberland, uncle to the present King of England, was sent against him, and on the 16th of April following, Charles was totally defeated at Culloden, in Scotland. Success and power are the only situations in which clemency can be shown, and those who are cruel, because they are victorious, can with the same facility act any other degenerate character.

“Immediately after the decisive action at Culloden, the Duke of Cumberland took possession of Inverness; where six and thirty deserters, convicted by a court martial, were ordered to be executed: then he detached several parties to ravage the country. One of these apprehended The Lady Mackintosh, who was sent prisoner to Inverness, plundered her house, and drove away her cattle, though her husband was actually in the service of the government. The castle of Lord Lovat was destroyed. The French prisoners were sent to Carlisle and Penrith: Kilmarnock, Balmerino, Cromartie, and his son, The Lord Macleod, were conveyed by sea to London; and those of an inferior rank were confined in different prisons. The Marquis of Tullibardine, together with a brother of the Earl of Dunmore, and Murray, the pretender’s secretary, were seized and transported to the Tower of London, to which the Earl of Traquaire had been committed on suspicion; and the eldest son of Lord Lovat was imprisoned in the castle of Edinburgh. In a word, all the jails in Great Britain, from the capital, northwards, were filled with those unfortunate captives; and great numbers of them were crowded together in the holds of ships, where they perished in the most deplorable manner, for want of air and exercise. Some rebel chiefs escaped in two French frigates that arrived on the coast of Lochaber about the end of April, and engaged three vessels belonging to his Britannic majesty, which they obliged to retire. Others embarked on board a ship on the coast of Buchan, and were conveyed to Norway, from whence they travelled to Sweden. In the month of May, the Duke of Cumberland advanced with the army into the Highlands, as far as Fort Augustus, where he encamped; and sent off detachments on all hands, to hunt down the fugitives, and lay waste the country with fire and sword. The castles of Glengary and Lochiel were plundered and burned; every house, hut, or habitation, met with the same fate, without distinction; and all the cattle and provision were carried off; the men were either shot upon the mountains, like wild beasts, or put to death in cold blood, without form of trial; the women, after having seen their husbands and fathers murdered, were subjected to brutal violation, and then turned out naked, with their children, to starve on the barren heaths. One whole family was enclosed in a barn, and consumed to ashes. Those ministers of vengeance were so alert in the execution of their office, that in a few days there was neither house, cottage, man, nor beast, to be seen within the compass of fifty miles; all was ruin, silence, and desolation.”

I have here presented the reader with one of the most shocking instances of cruelty ever practised, and I leave it, to rest on his mind, that he may be fully impressed with a sense of the destruction he has escaped, in case Britain had conquered America; and likewise, that he may see and feel the necessity, as well for his own personal safety, as for the honor, the interest, and happiness of the whole community, to omit or delay no one preparation necessary to secure the ground which we so happily stand upon.

Founder Thomas Paine the Crisis letter 5 to General Sir William Howe

TO argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture. Enjoy, sir, your insensibility of feeling and reflecting. It is the prerogative of animals. And no man will envy you these honors, in which a savage only can be your rival and a bear your master.

As the generosity of this country rewarded your brother’s services in the last war, with an elegant monument in Westminster Abbey, it is consistent that she should bestow some mark of distinction upon you. You certainly deserve her notice, and a conspicuous place in the catalogue of extraordinary persons. Yet it would be a pity to pass you from the world in state, and consign you to magnificent oblivion among the tombs, without telling the future beholder why. Judas is as much known as John, yet history ascribes their fame to very different actions.

Sir William has undoubtedly merited a monument; but of what kind, or with what inscription, where placed or how embellished, is a question that would puzzle all the heralds of St. James’s in the profoundest mood of historical deliberation. We are at no loss, sir, to ascertain your real character, but somewhat perplexed how to perpetuate its identity, and preserve it uninjured from the transformations of time or mistake. A statuary may give a false expression to your bust, or decorate it with some equivocal emblems, by which you may happen to steal into reputation and impose upon the hereafter traditionary world. Ill nature or ridicule may conspire, or a variety of accidents combine to lessen, enlarge, or change Sir William’s fame; and no doubt but he who has taken so much pains to be singular in his conduct, would choose to be just as singular in his exit, his monument and his epitaph.

The usual honors of the dead, to be sure, are not sufficiently sublime to escort a character like you to the republic of dust and ashes; for however men may differ in their ideas of grandeur or of government here, the grave is nevertheless a perfect republic. Death is not the monarch of the dead, but of the dying. The moment he obtains a conquest he loses a subject, and, like the foolish king you serve, will, in the end, war himself out of all his dominions.

As a proper preliminary towards the arrangement of your funeral honors, we readily admit of your new rank of knighthood. The title is perfectly in character, and is your own, more by merit than creation. There are knights of various orders, from the knight of the windmill to the knight of the post. The former is your patron for exploits, and the latter will assist you in settling your accounts. No honorary title could be more happily applied! The ingenuity is sublime! And your royal master has discovered more genius in fitting you therewith, than in generating the most finished figure for a button, or descanting on the properties of a button mould.

But how, sir, shall we dispose of you? The invention of a statuary is exhausted, and Sir William is yet unprovided with a monument. America is anxious to bestow her funeral favors upon you, and wishes to do it in a manner that shall distinguish you from all the deceased heroes of the last war. The Egyptian method of embalming is not known to the present age, and hieroglyphical pageantry hath outlived the science of deciphering it. Some other method, therefore, must be thought of to immortalize the new knight of the windmill and post. Sir William, thanks to his stars, is not oppressed with very delicate ideas. He has no ambition of being wrapped up and handed about in myrrh, aloes and cassia. Less expensive odors will suffice; and it fortunately happens that the simple genius of America has discovered the art of preserving bodies, and embellishing them too, with much greater frugality than the ancients. In balmage, sir, of humble tar, you will be as secure as Pharaoh, and in a hieroglyphic of feathers, rival in finery all the mummies of Egypt.

As you have already made your exit from the moral world, and by numberless acts both of passionate and deliberate injustice engraved an “here lieth” on your deceased honor, it must be mere affectation in you to pretend concern at the humors or opinions of mankind respecting you. What remains of you may expire at any time. The sooner the better. For he who survives his reputation, lives out of despite of himself, like a man listening to his own reproach.

Thus entombed and ornamented, I leave you to the inspection of the curious, and return to the history of your yet surviving actions. The character of Sir William has undergone some extraordinary revolutions. since his arrival in America. It is now fixed and known; and we have nothing to hope from your candor or to fear from your capacity. Indolence and inability have too large a share in your composition, ever to suffer you to be anything more than the hero of little villainies and unfinished adventures. That, which to some persons appeared moderation in you at first, was not produced by any real virtue of your own, but by a contrast of passions, dividing and holding you in perpetual irresolution. One vice will frequently expel another, without the least merit in the man; as powers in contrary directions reduce each other to rest.

It became you to have supported a dignified solemnity of character; to have shown a superior liberality of soul; to have won respect by an obstinate perseverance in maintaining order, and to have exhibited on all occasions such an unchangeable graciousness of conduct, that while we beheld in you the resolution of an enemy, we might admire in you the sincerity of a man. You came to America under the high sounding titles of commander and commissioner; not only to suppress what you call rebellion, by arms, but to shame it out of countenance by the excellence of your example. Instead of which, you have been the patron of low and vulgar frauds, the encourager of Indian cruelties; and have imported a cargo of vices blacker than those which you pretend to suppress.

Mankind are not universally agreed in their determination of right and wrong; but there are certain actions which the consent of all nations and individuals has branded with the unchangeable name of meanness. In the list of human vices we find some of such a refined constitution, they cannot be carried into practice without seducing some virtue to their assistance; but meanness has neither alliance nor apology. It is generated in the dust and sweepings of other vices, and is of such a hateful figure that all the rest conspire to disown it. Sir William, the commissioner of George the Third, has at last vouchsafed to give it rank and pedigree. He has placed the fugitive at the council board, and dubbed it companion of the order of knighthood.

The particular act of meanness which I allude to in this description, is forgery. You, sir, have abetted and patronized the forging and uttering counterfeit continental bills. In the same New York newspapers in which your own proclamation under your master’s authority was published, offering, or pretending to offer, pardon and protection to these states, there were repeated advertisements of counterfeit money for sale, and persons who have come officially from you, and under the sanction of your flag, have been taken up in attempting to put them off.

A conduct so basely mean in a public character is without precedent or pretence. Every nation on earth, whether friends or enemies, will unite in despising you. ‘Tis an incendiary war upon society, which nothing can excuse or palliate,- an improvement upon beggarly villany- and shows an inbred wretchedness of heart made up between the venomous malignity of a serpent and the spiteful imbecility of an inferior reptile.

The laws of any civilized country would condemn you to the gibbet without regard to your rank or titles, because it is an action foreign to the usage and custom of war; and should you fall into our hands, which pray God you may, it will be a doubtful matter whether we are to consider you as a military prisoner or a prisoner for felony.

Besides, it is exceedingly unwise and impolitic in you, or any other persons in the English service, to promote or even encourage, or wink at the crime of forgery, in any case whatever. Because, as the riches of England, as a nation, are chiefly in paper, and the far greater part of trade among individuals is carried on by the same medium, that is, by notes and drafts on one another, they, therefore, of all people in the world, ought to endeavor to keep forgery out of sight, and, if possible, not to revive the idea of it. It is dangerous to make men familiar with a crime which they may afterwards practise to much greater advantage against those who first taught them. Several officers in the English army have made their exit at the gallows for forgery on their agents; for we all know, who know any thing of England, that there is not a more necessitous body of men, taking them generally, than what the English officers are. They contrive to make a show at the expense of the tailors, and appear clean at the charge of the washer-women.

England, has at this time, nearly two hundred million pounds sterling of public money in paper, for which she has no real property: besides a large circulation of bank notes, bank post bills, and promissory notes and drafts of private bankers, merchants and tradesmen. She has the greatest quantity of paper currency and the least quantity of gold and silver of any nation in Europe; the real specie, which is about sixteen millions sterling, serves only as change in large sums, which are always made in paper, or for payment in small ones. Thus circumstanced, the nation is put to its wit’s end, and obliged to be severe almost to criminality, to prevent the practice and growth of forgery. Scarcely a session passes at the Old Bailey, or an execution at Tyburn, but witnesses this truth, yet you, sir, regardless of the policy which her necessity obliges her to adopt, have made your whole army intimate with the crime. And as all armies at the conclusion of a war, are too apt to carry into practice the vices of the campaign, it will probably happen, that England will hereafter abound in forgeries, to which art the practitioners were first initiated under your authority in America. You, sir, have the honor of adding a new vice to the military catalogue; and the reason, perhaps, why the invention was reserved for you, is, because no general before was mean enough even to think of it.

That a man whose soul is absorbed in the low traffic of vulgar vice, is incapable of moving in any superior region, is clearly shown in you by the event of every campaign. Your military exploits have been without plan, object or decision. Can it be possible that you or your employers suppose that the possession of Philadelphia will be any ways equal to the expense or expectation of the nation which supports you? What advantages does England derive from any achievements of yours? To her it is perfectly indifferent what place you are in, so long as the business of conquest is unperformed and the charge of maintaining you remains the same.

If the principal events of the three campaigns be attended to, the balance will appear against you at the close of each; but the last, in point of importance to us, has exceeded the former two. It is pleasant to look back on dangers past, and equally as pleasant to meditate on present ones when the way out begins to appear. That period is now arrived, and the long doubtful winter of war is changing to the sweeter prospects of victory and joy. At the close of the campaign, in 1775, you were obliged to retreat from Boston. In the summer of 1776, you appeared with a numerous fleet and army in the harbor of New York. By what miracle the continent was preserved in that season of danger is a subject of admiration! If instead of wasting your time against Long Island you had run up the North River, and landed any where above New York, the consequence must have been, that either you would have compelled General Washington to fight you with very unequal numbers, or he must have suddenly evacuated the city with the loss of nearly all the stores of his army, or have surrendered for want of provisions; the situation of the place naturally producing one or the other of these events.

The preparations made to defend New York were, nevertheless, wise and military; because your forces were then at sea, their numbers uncertain; storms, sickness, or a variety of accidents might have disabled their coming, or so diminished them on their passage, that those which survived would have been incapable of opening the campaign with any prospect of success; in which case the defence would have been sufficient and the place preserved; for cities that have been raised from nothing with an infinitude of labor and expense, are not to be thrown away on the bare probability of their being taken. On these grounds the preparations made to maintain New York were as judicious as the retreat afterwards. While you, in the interim, let slip the very opportunity which seemed to put conquest in your power.

Through the whole of that campaign you had nearly double the forces which General Washington immediately commanded. The principal plan at that time, on our part, was to wear away the season with as little loss as possible, and to raise the army for the next year. Long Island, New York, Forts Washington and Lee were not defended after your superior force was known under any expectation of their being finally maintained, but as a range of outworks, in the attacking of which your time might be wasted, your numbers reduced, and your vanity amused by possessing them on our retreat. It was intended to have withdrawn the garrison from Fort Washington after it had answered the former of those purposes, but the fate of that day put a prize into your hands without much honor to yourselves.

Your progress through the Jerseys was accidental; you had it not even in contemplation, or you would not have sent a principal part of your forces to Rhode Island beforehand. The utmost hope of America in the year 1776, reached no higher than that she might not then be conquered. She had no expectation of defeating you in that campaign. Even the most cowardly Tory allowed, that, could she withstand the shock of that summer, her independence would be past a doubt. You had then greatly the advantage of her. You were formidable. Your military knowledge was supposed to be complete. Your fleets and forces arrived without an accident. You had neither experience nor reinforcements to wait for. You had nothing to do but to begin, and your chance lay in the first vigorous onset.

America was young and unskilled. She was obliged to trust her defence to time and practice; and has, by mere dint of perseverance, maintained her cause, and brought the enemy to a condition, in which she is now capable of meeting him on any grounds.

It is remarkable that in the campaign of 1776 you gained no more, notwithstanding your great force, than what was given you by consent of evacuation, except Fort Washington; while every advantage obtained by us was by fair and hard fighting. The defeat of Sir Peter Parker was complete. The conquest of the Hessians at Trenton, by the remains of a retreating army, which but a few days before you affected to despise, is an instance of their heroic perseverance very seldom to be met with. And the victory over the British troops at Princeton, by a harassed and wearied party, who had been engaged the day before and marched all night without refreshment, is attended with such a scene of circumstances and superiority of generalship, as will ever give it a place in the first rank in the history of great actions.

When I look back on the gloomy days of last winter, and see America suspended by a thread, I feel a triumph of joy at the recollection of her delivery, and a reverence for the characters which snatched her from destruction. To doubt now would be a species of infidelity, and to forget the instruments which saved us then would be ingratitude.

The close of that campaign left us with the spirit of conquerors. The northern districts were relieved by the retreat of General Carleton over the lakes. The army under your command were hunted back and had their bounds prescribed. The continent began to feel its military importance, and the winter passed pleasantly away in preparations for the next campaign.

However confident you might be on your first arrival, the result of the year 1776 gave you some idea of the difficulty, if not impossibility of conquest. To this reason I ascribe your delay in opening the campaign of 1777. The face of matters, on the close of the former year, gave you no encouragement to pursue a discretionary war as soon as the spring admitted the taking the field; for though conquest, in that case, would have given you a double portion of fame, yet the experiment was too hazardous. The ministry, had you failed, would have shifted the whole blame upon you, charged you with having acted without orders, and condemned at once both your plan and execution.

To avoid the misfortunes, which might have involved you and your money accounts in perplexity and suspicion, you prudently waited the arrival of a plan of operations from England, which was that you should proceed for Philadelphia by way of the Chesapeake, and that Burgoyne, after reducing Ticonderoga, should take his route by Albany, and, if necessary, join you.

The splendid laurels of the last campaign have flourished in the north. In that quarter America has surprised the world, and laid the foundation of this year’s glory. The conquest of Ticonderoga, (if it may be called a conquest) has, like all your other victories, led on to ruin. Even the provisions taken in that fortress (which by General Burgoyne’s return was sufficient in bread and flour for nearly 5000 men for ten weeks, and in beef and pork for the same number of men for one month) served only to hasten his overthrow, by enabling him to proceed to Saratoga, the place of his destruction. A short review of the operations of the last campaign will show the condition of affairs on both sides.

You have taken Ticonderoga and marched into Philadelphia. These are all the events which the year has produced on your part. A trifling campaign indeed, compared with the expenses of England and the conquest of the continent. On the other side, a considerable part of your northern force has been routed by the New York militia under General Herkemer. Fort Stanwix has bravely survived a compound attack of soldiers and savages, and the besiegers have fled. The Battle of Bennington has put a thousand prisoners into our hands, with all their arms, stores, artillery and baggage. General Burgoyne, in two engagements, has been defeated; himself, his army, and all that were his and theirs are now ours. Ticonderoga and Independence [forts] are retaken, and not the shadow of an enemy remains in all the northern districts. At this instant we have upwards of eleven thousand prisoners, between sixty and seventy [captured] pieces of brass ordnance, besides small arms, tents, stores, etc.

In order to know the real value of those advantages, we must reverse the scene, and suppose General Gates and the force he commanded to be at your mercy as prisoners, and General Burgoyne, with his army of soldiers and savages, to be already joined to you in Pennsylvania. So dismal a picture can scarcely be looked at. It has all the tracings and colorings of horror and despair; and excites the most swelling emotions of gratitude by exhibiting the miseries we are so graciously preserved from.

I admire the distribution of laurels around the continent. It is the earnest of future union. South Carolina has had her day of sufferings and of fame; and the other southern States have exerted themselves in proportion to the force that invaded or insulted them. Towards the close of the campaign, in 1776, these middle States were called upon and did their duty nobly. They were witnesses to the almost expiring flame of human freedom. It was the close struggle of life and death, the line of invisible division; and on which the unabated fortitude of a Washington prevailed, and saved the spark that has since blazed in the north with unrivalled lustre.

Let me ask, sir, what great exploits have you performed? Through all the variety of changes and opportunities which the war has produced, I know no one action of yours that can be styled masterly. You have moved in and out, backward and forward, round and round, as if valor consisted in a military jig. The history and figure of your movements would be truly ridiculous could they be justly delineated. They resemble the labors of a puppy pursuing his tail; the end is still at the same distance, and all the turnings round must be done over again.

The first appearance of affairs at Ticonderoga wore such an unpromising aspect, that it was necessary, in July, to detach a part of the forces to the support of that quarter, which were otherwise destined or intended to act against you; and this, perhaps, has been the means of postponing your downfall to another campaign. The destruction of one army at a time is work enough. We know, sir, what we are about, what we have to do, and how to do it.

Your progress from the Chesapeake, was marked by no capital stroke of policy or heroism. Your principal aim was to get General Washington between the Delaware and Schuylkill, and between Philadelphia and your army. In that situation, with a river on each of his flanks, which united about five miles below the city, and your army above him, you could have intercepted his reinforcements and supplies, cut off all his communication with the country, and, if necessary, have despatched assistance to open a passage for General Burgoyne. This scheme was too visible to succeed: for had General Washington suffered you to command the open country above him, I think it a very reasonable conjecture that the conquest of Burgoyne would not have taken place, because you could, in that case, have relieved him. It was therefore necessary, while that important victory was in suspense, to trepan you into a situation in which you could only be on the defensive, without the power of affording him assistance. The manoeuvre had its effect, and Burgoyne was conquered.

There has been something unmilitary and passive in you from the time of your passing the Schuylkill and getting possession of Philadelphia, to the close of the campaign. You mistook a trap for a conquest, the probability of which had been made known to Europe, and the edge of your triumph taken off by our own information long before.

Having got you into this situation, a scheme for a general attack upon you at Germantown was carried into execution on the 4th of October, and though the success was not equal to the excellence of the plan, yet the attempting it proved the genius of America to be on the rise, and her power approaching to superiority. The obscurity of the morning was your best friend, for a fog is always favorable to a hunted enemy. Some weeks after this you likewise planned an attack on General Washington while at Whitemarsh. You marched out with infinite parade, but on finding him preparing to attack you next morning, you prudently turned about, and retreated to Philadelphia with all the precipitation of a man conquered in imagination.

Immediately after the battle of Germantown, the probability of Burgoyne’s defeat gave a new policy to affairs in Pennsylvania, and it was judged most consistent with the general safety of America, to wait the issue of the northern campaign. Slow and sure is sound work. The news of that victory arrived in our camp on the 18th of October, and no sooner did that shout of joy, and the report of the thirteen cannon reach your ears, than you resolved upon a retreat, and the next day, that is, on the 19th, you withdrew your drooping army into Philadelphia. This movement was evidently dictated by fear; and carried with it a positive confession that you dreaded a second attack. It was hiding yourself among women and children, and sleeping away the choicest part of the campaign in expensive inactivity. An army in a city can never be a conquering army. The situation admits only of defence. It is mere shelter: and every military power in Europe will conclude you to be eventually defeated.

The time when you made this retreat was the very time you ought to have fought a battle, in order to put yourself in condition of recovering in Pennsylvania what you had lost in Saratoga. And the reason why you did not, must be either prudence or cowardice; the former supposes your inability, and the latter needs no explanation. I draw no conclusions, sir, but such as are naturally deduced from known and visible facts, and such as will always have a being while the facts which produced them remain unaltered.

After this retreat a new difficulty arose which exhibited the power of Britain in a very contemptible light; which was the attack and defence of Mud Island. For several weeks did that little unfinished fortress stand out against all the attempts of Admiral and General Howe. It was the fable of Bender realized on the Delaware. Scheme after scheme, and force upon force were tried and defeated. The garrison, with scarce anything to cover them but their bravery, survived in the midst of mud, shot and shells, and were at last obliged to give it up more to the powers of time and gunpowder than to military superiority of the besiegers.

It is my sincere opinion that matters are in much worse condition with you than what is generally known. Your master’s speech at the opening of Parliament, is like a soliloquy on ill luck. It shows him to be coming a little to his reason, for sense of pain is the first symptom of recovery, in profound stupefaction. His condition is deplorable. He is obliged to submit to all the insults of France and Spain, without daring to know or resent them; and thankful for the most trivial evasions to the most humble remonstrances. The time was when he could not deign an answer to a petition from America, and the time now is when he dare not give an answer to an affront from France. The capture of Burgoyne’s army will sink his consequence as much in Europe as in America. In his speech he expresses his suspicions at the warlike preparations of France and Spain, and as he has only the one army which you command to support his character in the world with, it remains very uncertain when, or in what quarter it will be most wanted, or can be best employed; and this will partly account for the great care you take to keep it from action and attacks, for should Burgoyne’s fate be yours, which it probably will, England may take her endless farewell not only of all America but of all the West Indies.

Never did a nation invite destruction upon itself with the eagerness and the ignorance with which Britain has done. Bent upon the ruin of a young and unoffending country, she has drawn the sword that has wounded herself to the heart, and in the agony of her resentment has applied a poison for a cure. Her conduct towards America is a compound of rage and lunacy; she aims at the government of it, yet preserves neither dignity nor character in her methods to obtain it. Were government a mere manufacture or article of commerce, immaterial by whom it should be made or sold, we might as well employ her as another, but when we consider it as the fountain from whence the general manners and morality of a country take their rise, that the persons entrusted with the execution thereof are by their serious example an authority to support these principles, how abominably absurd is the idea of being hereafter governed by a set of men who have been guilty of forgery, perjury, treachery, theft and every species of villany which the lowest wretches on earth could practise or invent. What greater public curse can befall any country than to be under such authority, and what greater blessing than to be delivered therefrom. The soul of any man of sentiment would rise in brave rebellion against them, and spurn them from the earth.

The malignant and venomous tempered General Vaughan has amused his savage fancy in burning the whole town of Kingston, in York government, and the late governor of that state, Mr. Tryon, in his letter to General Parsons, has endeavored to justify it and declared his wish to burn the houses of every committeeman in the country. Such a confession from one who was once intrusted with the powers of civil government, is a reproach to the character. But it is the wish and the declaration of a man whom anguish and disappointment have driven to despair, and who is daily decaying into the grave with constitutional rottenness.

There is not in the compass of language a sufficiency of words to express the baseness of your king, his ministry and his army. They have refined upon villany till it wants a name. To the fiercer vices of former ages they have added the dregs and scummings of the most finished rascality, and are so completely sunk in serpentine deceit, that there is not left among them one generous enemy.

From such men and such masters, may the gracious hand of Heaven preserve America! And though the sufferings she now endures are heavy, and severe, they are like straws in the wind compared to the weight of evils she would feel under the government of your king, and his pensioned Parliament.

There is something in meanness which excites a species of resentment that never subsides, and something in cruelty which stirs up the heart to the highest agony of human hatred; Britain has filled up both these characters till no addition can be made, and has not reputation left with us to obtain credit for the slightest promise. The will of God has parted us, and the deed is registered for eternity. When she shall be a spot scarcely visible among the nations, America shall flourish the favorite of heaven, and the friend of mankind.

For the domestic happiness of Britain and the peace of the world, I wish she had not a foot of land but what is circumscribed within her own island. Extent of dominion has been her ruin, and instead of civilizing others has brutalized herself. Her late reduction of India, under Clive and his successors, was not so properly a conquest as an extermination of mankind. She is the only power who could practise the prodigal barbarity of tying men to mouths of loaded cannon and blowing them away. It happens that General Burgoyne, who made the report of that horrid transaction, in the House of Commons, is now a prisoner with us, and though an enemy, I can appeal to him for the truth of it, being confident that he neither can nor will deny it. Yet Clive received the approbation of the last Parliament.

When we take a survey of mankind, we cannot help cursing the wretch, who, to the unavoidable misfortunes of nature, shall wilfully add the calamities of war. One would think there were evils enough in the world without studying to increase them, and that life is sufficiently short without shaking the sand that measures it. The histories of Alexander, and Charles of Sweden, are the histories of human devils; a good man cannot think of their actions without abhorrence, nor of their deaths without rejoicing. To see the bounties of heaven destroyed, the beautiful face of nature laid waste, and the choicest works of creation and art tumbled into ruin, would fetch a curse from the soul of piety itself. But in this country the aggravation is heightened by a new combination of affecting circumstances. America was young, and, compared with other countries, was virtuous. None but a Herod of uncommon malice would have made war upon infancy and innocence: and none but a people of the most finished fortitude, dared under those circumstances, have resisted the tyranny. The natives, or their ancestors, had fled from the former oppressions of England, and with the industry of bees had changed a wilderness into a habitable world. To Britain they were indebted for nothing. The country was the gift of heaven, and God alone is their Lord and Sovereign.

The time, sir, will come when you, in a melancholy hour, shall reckon up your miseries by your murders in America. Life, with you, begins to wear a clouded aspect. The vision of pleasurable delusion is wearing away, and changing to the barren wild of age and sorrow. The poor reflection of having served your king will yield you no consolation in your parting moments. He will crumble to the same undistinguished ashes with yourself, and have sins enough of his own to answer for. It is not the farcical benedictions of a bishop, nor the cringing hypocrisy of a court of chaplains, nor the formality of an act of Parliament, that can change guilt into innocence, or make the punishment one pang the less. You may, perhaps, be unwilling to be serious, but this destruction of the goods of Providence, this havoc of the human race, and this sowing the world with mischief, must be accounted for to him who made and governs it. To us they are only present sufferings, but to him they are deep rebellions.

If there is a sin superior to every other, it is that of wilful and offensive war. Most other sins are circumscribed within narrow limits, that is, the power of one man cannot give them a very general extension, and many kinds of sins have only a mental existence from which no infection arises; but he who is the author of a war, lets loose the whole contagion of hell, and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death. We leave it to England and Indians to boast of these honors; we feel no thirst for such savage glory; a nobler flame, a purer spirit animates America. She has taken up the sword of virtuous defence; she has bravely put herself between Tyranny and Freedom, between a curse and a blessing, determined to expel the one and protect the other.

It is the object only of war that makes it honorable. And if there was ever a just war since the world began, it is this in which America is now engaged. She invaded no land of yours. She hired no mercenaries to burn your towns, nor Indians to massacre their inhabitants. She wanted nothing from you, and was indebted for nothing to you: and thus circumstanced, her defence is honorable and her prosperity is certain.

Yet it is not on the justice only, but likewise on the importance of this cause that I ground my seeming enthusiastical confidence of our success. The vast extension of America makes her of too much value in the scale of Providence, to be cast like a pearl before swine, at the feet of an European island; and of much less consequence would it be that Britain were sunk in the sea than that America should miscarry. There has been such a chain of extraordinary events in the discovery of this country at first, in the peopling and planting it afterwards, in the rearing and nursing it to its present state, and in the protection of it through the present war, that no man can doubt, but Providence has some nobler end to accomplish than the gratification of the petty elector of Hanover, or the ignorant and insignificant king of Britain.

As the blood of the martyrs has been the seed of the Christian church, so the political persecutions of England will and have already enriched America with industry, experience, union, and importance. Before the present era she was a mere chaos of uncemented colonies, individually exposed to the ravages of the Indians and the invasion of any power that Britain should be at war with. She had nothing that she could call her own. Her felicity depended upon accident. The convulsions of Europe might have thrown her from one conqueror to another, till she had been the slave of all, and ruined by every one; for until she had spirit enough to become her own master, there was no knowing to which master she should belong. That period, thank God, is past, and she is no longer the dependent, disunited colonies of Britain, but the independent and United States of America, knowing no master but heaven and herself. You, or your king, may call this “delusion,” “rebellion,” or what name you please. To us it is perfectly indifferent. The issue will determine the character, and time will give it a name as lasting as his own.

You have now, sir, tried the fate of three campaigns, and can fully declare to England, that nothing is to be got on your part, but blows and broken bones, and nothing on hers but waste of trade and credit, and an increase of poverty and taxes. You are now only where you might have been two years ago, without the loss of a single ship, and yet not a step more forward towards the conquest of the continent; because, as I have already hinted, “an army in a city can never be a conquering army.” The full amount of your losses, since the beginning of the war, exceeds twenty thousand men, besides millions of treasure, for which you have nothing in exchange. Our expenses, though great, are circulated within ourselves. Yours is a direct sinking of money, and that from both ends at once; first, in hiring troops out of the nation, and in paying them afterwards, because the money in neither case can return to Britain. We are already in possession of the prize, you only in pursuit of it. To us it is a real treasure, to you it would be only an empty triumph. Our expenses will repay themselves with tenfold interest, while yours entail upon you everlasting poverty.

Take a review, sir, of the ground which you have gone over, and let it teach you policy, if it cannot honesty. You stand but on a very tottering foundation. A change of the ministry in England may probably bring your measures into question, and your head to the block. Clive, with all his successes, had some difficulty in escaping, and yours being all a war of losses, will afford you less pretensions, and your enemies more grounds for impeachment.

Go home, sir, and endeavor to save the remains of your ruined country, by a just representation of the madness of her measures. A few moments, well applied, may yet preserve her from political destruction. I am not one of those who wish to see Europe in a flame, because I am persuaded that such an event will not shorten the war. The rupture, at present, is confined between the two powers of America and England. England finds that she cannot conquer America, and America has no wish to conquer England. You are fighting for what you can never obtain, and we defending what we never mean to part with. A few words, therefore, settle the bargain. Let England mind her own business and we will mind ours. Govern yourselves, and we will govern ourselves. You may then trade where you please unmolested by us, and we will trade where we please unmolested by you; and such articles as we can purchase of each other better than elsewhere may be mutually done. If it were possible that you could carry on the war for twenty years you must still come to this point at last, or worse, and the sooner you think of it the better it will be for you.

My official situation enables me to know the repeated insults which Britain is obliged to put up with from foreign powers, and the wretched shifts that she is driven to, to gloss them over. Her reduced strength and exhausted coffers in a three years’ war with America, has given a powerful superiority to France and Spain. She is not now a match for them. But if neither councils can prevail on her to think, nor sufferings awaken her to reason, she must e’en go on, till the honor of England becomes a proverb of contempt, and Europe dub her the Land of Fools.

I am, Sir, with every wish for an honorable peace,
Your friend, enemy, and countryman,

The Crisis Extraordinary Founder Thomas Paine On the Subject of Taxation

IT IS impossible to sit down and think seriously on the affairs of America, but the original principles upon which she resisted, and the glow and ardor which they inspired, will occur like the undefaced remembrance of a lovely scene. To trace over in imagination the purity of the cause, the voluntary sacrifices that were made to support it, and all the various turnings of the war in its defence, is at once both paying and receiving respect. The principles deserve to be remembered, and to remember them rightly is repossessing them. In this indulgence of generous recollection, we become gainers by what we seem to give, and the more we bestow the richer we become.

So extensively right was the ground on which America proceeded, that it not only took in every just and liberal sentiment which could impress the heart, but made it the direct interest of every class and order of men to defend the country. The war, on the part of Britain, was originally a war of covetousness. The sordid and not the splendid passions gave it being. The fertile fields and prosperous infancy of America appeared to her as mines for tributary wealth. She viewed the hive, and disregarding the industry that had enriched it, thirsted for the honey. But in the present stage of her affairs, the violence of temper is added to the rage of avarice; and therefore, that which at the first setting out proceeded from purity of principle and public interest, is now heightened by all the obligations of necessity; for it requires but little knowledge of human nature to discern what would be the consequence, were America again reduced to the subjection of Britain. Uncontrolled power, in the hands of an incensed, imperious, and rapacious conqueror, is an engine of dreadful execution, and woe be to that country over which it can be exercised. The names of Whig and Tory would then be sunk in the general term of rebel, and the oppression, whatever it might be, would, with very few instances of exception, light equally on all.

Britain did not go to war with America for the sake of dominion, because she was then in possession; neither was it for the extension of trade and commerce, because she had monopolized the whole, and the country had yielded to it; neither was it to extinguish what she might call rebellion, because before she began no resistance existed. It could then be from no other motive than avarice, or a design of establishing, in the first instance, the same taxes in America as are paid in England (which, as I shall presently show, are above eleven times heavier than the taxes we now pay for the present year, 1780) or, in the second instance, to confiscate the whole property of America, in case of resistance and conquest of the latter, of which she had then no doubt.

I shall now proceed to show what the taxes in England are, and what the yearly expense of the present war is to her — what the taxes of this country amount to, and what the annual expense of defending it effectually will be to us; and shall endeavor concisely to point out the cause of our difficulties, and the advantages on one side, and the consequences on the other, in case we do, or do not, put ourselves in an effectual state of defence. I mean to be open, candid, and sincere. I see a universal wish to expel the enemy from the country, a murmuring because the war is not carried on with more vigor, and my intention is to show, as shortly as possible, both the reason and the remedy.

The number of souls in England (exclusive of Scotland and Ireland) is seven millions,and the number of souls in America is three millions.

The amount of taxes in England (exclusive of Scotland and Ireland) was, before the present war commenced, eleven millions six hundred and forty-two thousand six hundred and fifty-three pounds sterling; which, on an average, is no less a sum than one pound thirteen shillings and three-pence sterling per head per annum, men, women, and children; besides county taxes, taxes for the support of the poor, and a tenth of all the produce of the earth for the support of the bishops and clergy.Nearly five millions of this sum went annually to pay the interest of the national debt, contracted by former wars, and the remaining sum of six millions six hundred and forty-two thousand six hundred pounds was applied to defray the yearly expense of government, the peace establishment of the army and navy, placemen, pensioners, etc.; consequently the whole of the enormous taxes being thus appropriated, she had nothing to spare out of them towards defraying the expenses of the present war or any other. Yet had she not been in debt at the beginning of the war, as we were not, and, like us, had only a land and not a naval war to carry on, her then revenue of eleven millions and a half pounds sterling would have defrayed all her annual expenses of war and government within each year.

An account of the money drawn from the public by taxes, annually, being the medium of three years before the year 1776.

Amount of customs in England                         2,528,275 £.
Amount of the excise in England                      4,649,892
Land tax at 3s.                                      1,300,000
Land tax at 1s. in the pound                           450,000
Salt duties                                            218,739
Duties on stamps, cards, dice, advertisements,
bonds, leases, indentures, newspapers,
almanacks, etc.                                      280,788
Duties on houses and windows                           385,369
Post office, seizures, wine licences, hackney
coaches, etc.                                        250,000
Annual profits from lotteries                          150,000
Expense of collecting the excise in England            297,887
Expense of collecting the customs in England           468,703
Interest of loans on the land tax at 4s. expenses
of collection, militia, etc.                         250,000
Perquisites, etc. to custom-house officers, &c.;      supposed                                             250,000
Expense of collecting the salt duties in England
10 1/2 per cent.                                      27,000
Bounties on fish exported                               18,000
Expense of collecting the duties on stamps, cards,
advertisements, etc. at 5 and 1/4 per cent.           18,000

Total 11,642,653 £.

But this not being the case with her, she is obliged to borrow about ten millions pounds sterling, yearly, to prosecute the war that she is now engaged in, (this year she borrowed twelve) and lay on new taxes to discharge the interest; allowing that the present war has cost her only fifty millions sterling, the interest thereon, at five per cent., will be two millions and an half; therefore the amount of her taxes now must be fourteen millions, which on an average is no less than forty shillings sterling, per head, men, women and children, throughout the nation. Now as this expense of fifty millions was borrowed on the hopes of conquering America, and as it was avarice which first induced her to commence the war, how truly wretched and deplorable would the condition of this country be, were she, by her own remissness, to suffer an enemy of such a disposition, and so circumstanced, to reduce her to subjection.

I now proceed to the revenues of America.

I have already stated the number of souls in America to be three millions, and by a calculation that I have made, which I have every reason to believe is sufficiently correct, the whole expense of the war, and the support of the several governments, may be defrayed for two million pounds sterling annually; which, on an average, is thirteen shillings and four pence per head, men, women, and children, and the peace establishment at the end of the war will be but three quarters of a million, or five shillings sterling per head. Now, throwing out of the question everything of honor, principle, happiness, freedom, and reputation in the world, and taking it up on the simple ground of interest, I put the following case:

Suppose Britain was to conquer America, and, as a conqueror, was to lay her under no other conditions than to pay the same proportion towards her annual revenue which the people of England pay: our share, in that case, would be six million pounds sterling yearly. Can it then be a question, whether it is best to raise two millions to defend the country, and govern it ourselves, and only three quarters of a million afterwards, or pay six millions to have it conquered, and let the enemy govern it?

Can it be supposed that conquerors would choose to put themselves in a worse condition than what they granted to the conquered? In England, the tax on rum is five shillings and one penny sterling per gallon, which is one silver dollar and fourteen coppers. Now would it not be laughable to imagine, that after the expense they have been at, they would let either Whig or Tory drink it cheaper than themselves? Coffee, which is so inconsiderable an article of consumption and support here, is there loaded with a duty which makes the price between five and six shillings per pound, and a penalty of fifty pounds sterling on any person detected in roasting it in his own house. There is scarcely a necessary of life that you can eat, drink, wear, or enjoy, that is not there loaded with a tax; even the light from heaven is only permitted to shine into their dwellings by paying eighteen pence sterling per window annually; and the humblest drink of life, small beer, cannot there be purchased without a tax of nearly two coppers per gallon, besides a heavy tax upon the malt, and another on the hops before it is brewed, exclusive of a land-tax on the earth which produces them. In short, the condition of that country, in point of taxation, is so oppressive, the number of her poor so great, and the extravagance and rapaciousness of the court so enormous, that, were they to effect a conquest of America, it is then only that the distresses of America would begin. Neither would it signify anything to a man whether he be Whig or Tory. The people of England, and the ministry of that country, know us by no such distinctions. What they want is clear, solid revenue, and the modes which they would take to procure it, would operate alike on all. Their manner of reasoning would be short, because they would naturally infer, that if we were able to carry on a war of five or six years against them, we were able to pay the same taxes which they do.

I have already stated that the expense of conducting the present war, and the government of the several states, may be done for two millions sterling, and the establishment in the time of peace, for three quarters of a million.

As to navy matters, they flourish so well, and are so well attended to by individuals, that I think it consistent on every principle of real use and economy, to turn the navy into hard money (keeping only three or four packets) and apply it to the service of the army. We shall not have a ship the less; the use of them, and the benefit from them, will be greatly increased, and their expense saved. We are now allied with a formidable naval power, from whom we derive the assistance of a navy. And the line in which we can prosecute the war, so as to reduce the common enemy and benefit the alliance most effectually, will be by attending closely to the land service.

I estimate the charge of keeping up and maintaining an army, officering them, and all expenses included, sufficient for the defence of the country, to be equal to the expense of forty thousand men at thirty pounds sterling per head, which is one million two hundred thousand pounds.

I likewise allow four hundred thousand pounds for continental expenses at home and abroad.

And four hundred thousand pounds for the support of the several state governments — the amount will then be:

For the army 1,200,000 £.

Continental expenses at home and abroad 400,000

Government of the several states 400,000

Total 2,000,000 £.

I take the proportion of this state, Pennsylvania, to be an eighth part of the thirteen United States; the quota then for us to raise will be two hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling; two hundred thousand of which will be our share for the support and pay of the army, and continental expenses at home and abroad, and fifty thousand pounds for the support of the state government.

In order to gain an idea of the proportion in which the raising such a sum will fall, I make the following calculation:

Pennsylvania contains three hundred and seventy-five thousand inhabitants, men, women and children; which is likewise an eighth of the number of inhabitants of the whole United States: therefore, two hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling to be raised among three hundred and seventy-five thousand persons, is, on an average, thirteen shillings and four pence per head, per annum, or something more than one shilling sterling per month. And our proportion of three quarters of a million for the government of the country, in time of peace, will be ninety-three thousand seven hundred and fifty pounds sterling; fifty thousand of which will be for the government expenses of the state, and forty-three thousand seven hundred and fifty pounds for continental expenses at home and abroad.

The peace establishment then will, on an average, be five shillings sterling per head. Whereas, was England now to stop, and the war cease, her peace establishment would continue the same as it is now, viz. forty shillings per head; therefore was our taxes necessary for carrying on the war, as much per head as hers now is, and the difference to be only whether we should, at the end of the war, pay at the rate of five shillings per head, or forty shillings per head, the case needs no thinking of. But as we can securely defend and keep the country for one third less than what our burden would be if it was conquered, and support the governments afterwards for one eighth of what Britain would levy on us, and could I find a miser whose heart never felt the emotion of a spark of principle, even that man, uninfluenced by every love but the love of money, and capable of no attachment but to his interest, would and must, from the frugality which governs him, contribute to the defence of the country, or he ceases to be a miser and becomes an idiot. But when we take in with it every thing that can ornament mankind; when the line of our interest becomes the line of our happiness; when all that can cheer and animate the heart, when a sense of honor, fame, character, at home and abroad, are interwoven not only with the security but the increase of property, there exists not a man in America, unless he be an hired emissary, who does not see that his good is connected with keeping up a sufficient defence.

I do not imagine that an instance can be produced in the world, of a country putting herself to such an amazing charge to conquer and enslave another, as Britain has done. The sum is too great for her to think of with any tolerable degree of temper; and when we consider the burden she sustains, as well as the disposition she has shown, it would be the height of folly in us to suppose that she would not reimburse herself by the most rapid means, had she America once more within her power. With such an oppression of expense, what would an empty conquest be to her! What relief under such circumstances could she derive from a victory without a prize? It was money, it was revenue she first went to war for, and nothing but that would satisfy her. It is not the nature of avarice to be satisfied with any thing else. Every passion that acts upon mankind has a peculiar mode of operation. Many of them are temporary and fluctuating; they admit of cessation and variety. But avarice is a fixed, uniform passion. It neither abates of its vigor nor changes its object; and the reason why it does not, is founded in the nature of things, for wealth has not a rival where avarice is a ruling passion. One beauty may excel another, and extinguish from the mind of man the pictured remembrance of a former one: but wealth is the phoenix of avarice, and therefore it cannot seek a new object, because there is not another in the world.

I now pass on to show the value of the present taxes, and compare them with the annual expense; but this I shall preface with a few explanatory remarks.

There are two distinct things which make the payment of taxes difficult; the one is the large and real value of the sum to be paid, and the other is the scarcity of the thing in which the payment is to be made; and although these appear to be one and the same, they are in several instances riot only different, but the difficulty springs from different causes.

Suppose a tax to be laid equal to one half of what a man’s yearly income is, such a tax could not be paid, because the property could not be spared; and on the other hand, suppose a very trifling tax was laid, to be collected in pearls, such a tax likewise could not be paid, because they could not be had. Now any person may see that these are distinct cases, and the latter of them is a representation of our own.

That the difficulty cannot proceed from the former, that is, from the real value or weight of the tax, is evident at the first view to any person who will consider it.

The amount of the quota of taxes for this State for the year, 1780, (and so in proportion for every other State,) is twenty millions of dollars, which at seventy for one, is but sixty-four thousand two hundred and eighty pounds three shillings sterling, and on an average, is no more than three shillings and five pence sterling per head, per annum, per man, woman and child, or threepence two-fifths per head per month. Now here is a clear, positive fact, that cannot be contradicted, and which proves that the difficulty cannot be in the weight of the tax, for in itself it is a trifle, and far from being adequate to our quota of the expense of the war. The quit-rents of one penny sterling per acre on only one half of the state, come to upwards of fifty thousand pounds, which is almost as much as all the taxes of the present year, and as those quit-rents made no part of the taxes then paid, and are now discontinued, the quantity of money drawn for public-service this year, exclusive of the militia fines, which I shall take notice of in the process of this work, is less than what was paid and payable in any year preceding the revolution, and since the last war; what I mean is, that the quit-rents and taxes taken together came to a larger sum then, than the present taxes without the quit-rents do now.

My intention by these arguments and calculations is to place the difficulty to the right cause, and show that it does not proceed from the weight or worth of the tax, but from the scarcity of the medium in which it is paid; and to illustrate this point still further, I shall now show, that if the tax of twenty millions of dollars was of four times the real value it now is, or nearly so, which would be about two hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling, and would be our full quota, this sum would have been raised with more ease, and have been less felt, than the present sum of only sixty-four thousand two hundred and eighty pounds.

The convenience or inconvenience of paying a tax in money arises from the quantity of money that can be spared out of trade.

When the emissions stopped, the continent was left in possession of two hundred millions of dollars, perhaps as equally dispersed as it was possible for trade to do it. And as no more was to be issued, the rise or fall of prices could neither increase nor diminish the quantity. It therefore remained the same through all the fluctuations of trade and exchange.

Now had the exchange stood at twenty for one, which was the rate Congress calculated upon when they arranged the quota of the several states, the latter end of last year, trade would have been carried on for nearly four times less money than it is now, and consequently the twenty millions would have been spared with much greater ease, and when collected would have been of almost four times the value that they now are. And on the other hand, was the depreciation to be ninety or one hundred for one, the quantity required for trade would be more than at sixty or seventy for one, and though the value of them would be less, the difficulty of sparing the money out of trade would be greater. And on these facts and arguments I rest the matter, to prove that it is not the want of property, but the scarcity of the medium by which the proportion of property for taxation is to be measured out, that makes the embarrassment which we lie under. There is not money enough, and, what is equally as true, the people will not let there be money enough.

While I am on the subject of the currency, I shall offer one remark which will appear true to everybody, and can be accounted for by nobody, which is, that the better the times were, the worse the money grew; and the worse the times were, the better the money stood. It never depreciated by any advantage obtained by the enemy. The troubles of 1776, and the loss of Philadelphia in 1777, made no sensible impression on it, and every one knows that the surrender of Charleston did not produce the least alteration in the rate of exchange, which, for long before, and for more than three months after, stood at sixty for one. It seems as if the certainty of its being our own, made us careless of its value, and that the most distant thoughts of losing it made us hug it the closer, like something we were loth to part with; or that we depreciate it for our pastime, which, when called to seriousness by the enemy, we leave off to renew again at our leisure. In short, our good luck seems to break us, and our bad makes us whole.

Passing on from this digression, I shall now endeavor to bring into one view the several parts which I have already stated, and form thereon some propositions, and conclude.

I have placed before the reader, the average tax per head, paid by the people of England; which is forty shillings sterling.

And I have shown the rate on an average per head, which will defray all the expenses of the war to us, and support the several governments without running the country into debt, which is thirteen shillings and four pence.

I have shown what the peace establishment may be conducted for, viz., an eighth part of what it would be, if under the government of Britain.

And I have likewise shown what the average per head of the present taxes is, namely, three shillings and fivepence sterling, or threepence two-fifths per month; and that their whole yearly value, in sterling, is only sixty-four thousand two hundred and eighty pounds. Whereas our quota, to keep the payments equal with the expenses, is two hundred and fifty thousand pounds. Consequently, there is a deficiency of one hundred and eighty-five thousand seven hundred and twenty pounds, and the same proportion of defect, according to the several quotas, happens in every other state. And this defect is the cause why the army has been so indifferently fed, clothed and paid. It is the cause, likewise, of the nerveless state of the campaign, and the insecurity of the country. Now, if a tax equal to thirteen and fourpence per head, will remove all these difficulties, and make people secure in their homes, leave them to follow the business of their stores and farms unmolested, and not only drive out but keep out the enemy from the country; and if the neglect of raising this sum will let them in, and produce the evils which might be prevented — on which side, I ask, does the wisdom, interest and policy lie? Or, rather, would it not be an insult to reason, to put the question? The sum, when proportioned out according to the several abilities of the people, can hurt no one, but an inroad from the enemy ruins hundreds of families.

Look at the destruction done in this city [Philadelphia]. The many houses totally destroyed, and others damaged; the waste of fences in the country round it, besides the plunder of furniture, forage, and provisions. I do not suppose that half a million sterling would reinstate the sufferers; and, does this, I ask, bear any proportion to the expense that would make us secure? The damage, on an average, is at least ten pounds sterling per head, which is as much as thirteen shillings and fourpence per head comes to for fifteen years. The same has happened on the frontiers, and in the Jerseys, New York, and other places where the enemy has been — Carolina and Georgia are likewise suffering the same fate.

That the people generally do not understand the insufficiency of the taxes to carry on the war, is evident, not only from common observation, but from the construction of several petitions which were presented to the Assembly of this state, against the recommendation of Congress of the 18th of March last, for taking up and funding the present currency at forty to one, and issuing new money in its stead. The prayer of the petition was, that the currency might be appreciated by taxes (meaning the present taxes) and that part of the taxes be applied to the support of the army, if the army could not be otherwise supported. Now it could not have been possible for such a petition to have been presented, had the petitioners known, that so far from part of the taxes being sufficient for the support of the whole of them falls three-fourths short of the year’s expenses.

Before I proceed to propose methods by which a sufficiency of money may be raised, I shall take a short view of the general state of the country.

Notwithstanding the weight of the war, the ravages of the enemy, and the obstructions she has thrown in the way of trade and commerce, so soon does a young country outgrow misfortune, that America has already surmounted many that heavily oppressed her. For the first year or two of the war, we were shut up within our ports, scarce venturing to look towards the ocean. Now our rivers are beautified with large and valuable vessels, our stores filled with merchandise, and the produce of the country has a ready market, and an advantageous price. Gold and silver, that for a while seemed to have retreated again within the bowels of the earth, have once more risen into circulation, and every day adds new strength to trade, commerce and agriculture. In a pamphlet, written by Sir John Dalrymple, and dispersed in America in the year 1775, he asserted that two twenty-gun ships, nay, says he, tenders of those ships, stationed between Albermarle sound and Chesapeake bay, would shut up the trade of America for 600 miles. How little did Sir John Dalrymple know of the abilities of America!

While under the government of Britain, the trade of this country was loaded with restrictions. It was only a few foreign ports which we were allowed to sail to. Now it is otherwise; and allowing that the quantity of trade is but half what it was before the war, the case must show the vast advantage of an open trade, because the present quantity under her restrictions could not support itself; from which I infer, that if half the quantity without the restrictions can bear itself up nearly, if not quite, as well as the whole when subject to them, how prosperous must the condition of America be when the whole shall return open with all the world. By the trade I do not mean the employment of a merchant only, but the whole interest and business of the country taken collectively.

It is not so much my intention, by this publication, to propose particular plans for raising money, as it is to show the necessity and the advantages to be derived from it. My principal design is to form the disposition of the people to the measures which I am fully persuaded it is their interest and duty to adopt, and which need no other force to accomplish them than the force of being felt. But as every hint may be useful, I shall throw out a sketch, and leave others to make such improvements upon it as to them may appear reasonable.

The annual sum wanted is two millions, and the average rate in which it falls, is thirteen shillings and fourpence per head.

Suppose, then, that we raise half the sum and sixty thousand pounds over. The average rate thereof will be seven shillings per head.

In this case we shall have half the supply that we want, and an annual fund of sixty thousand pounds whereon to borrow the other million; because sixty thousand pounds is the interest of a million at six per cent.; and if at the end of another year we should be obliged, by the continuance of the war, to borrow another million, the taxes will be increased to seven shillings and sixpence; and thus for every million borrowed, an additional tax, equal to sixpence per head, must be levied.

The sum to be raised next year will be one million and sixty thousand pounds: one half of which I would propose should be raised by duties on imported goods, and prize goods, and the other half by a tax on landed property and houses, or such other means as each state may devise.

But as the duties on imports and prize goods must be the same in all the states, therefore the rate per cent., or what other form the duty shall be laid, must be ascertained and regulated by Congress, and ingrafted in that form into the law of each state; and the monies arising therefrom carried into the treasury of each state. The duties to be paid in gold or silver.

There are many reasons why a duty on imports is the most convenient duty or tax that can be collected; one of which is, because the whole is payable in a few places in a country, and it likewise operates with the greatest ease and equality, because as every one pays in proportion to what he consumes, so people in general consume in proportion to what they can afford; and therefore the tax is regulated by the abilities which every man supposes himself to have, or in other words, every man becomes his own assessor, and pays by a little at a time, when it suits him to buy. Besides, it is a tax which people may pay or let alone by not consuming the articles; and though the alternative may have no influence on their conduct, the power of choosing is an agreeable thing to the mind. For my own part, it would be a satisfaction to me was there a duty on all sorts of liquors during the war, as in my idea of things it would be an addition to the pleasures of society to know, that when the health of the army goes round, a few drops, from every glass becomes theirs. How often have I heard an emphatical wish, almost accompanied by a tear, “Oh, that our poor fellows in the field had some of this!” Why then need we suffer under a fruitless sympathy, when there is a way to enjoy both the wish and the entertainment at once.

But the great national policy of putting a duty upon imports is, that it either keeps the foreign trade in our own hands, or draws something for the defence of the country from every foreigner who participates in it with us.

Thus much for the first half of the taxes, and as each state will best devise means to raise the other half, I shall confine my remarks to the resources of this state.

The quota, then, of this state, of one million and sixty thousand pounds, will be one hundred and thirty-three thousand two hundred and fifty pounds, the half of which is sixty-six thousand six hundred and twenty-five pounds; and supposing one fourth part of Pennsylvania inhabited, then a tax of one bushel of wheat on every twenty acres of land, one with another, would produce the sum, and all the present taxes to cease. Whereas, the tithes of the bishops and clergy in England, exclusive of the taxes, are upwards of half a bushel of wheat on every single acre of land, good and bad, throughout the nation.

In the former part of this paper, I mentioned the militia fines, but reserved speaking of the matter, which I shall now do. The ground I shall put it upon is, that two millions sterling a year will support a sufficient army, and all the expenses of war and government, without having recourse to the inconvenient method of continually calling men from their employments, which, of all others, is the most expensive and the least substantial. I consider the revenues created by taxes as the first and principal thing, and fines only as secondary and accidental things. It was not the intention of the militia law to apply the fines to anything else but the support of the militia, neither do they produce any revenue to the state, yet these fines amount to more than all the taxes: for taking the muster-roll to be sixty thousand men, the fine on forty thousand who may not attend, will be sixty thousand pounds sterling, and those who muster, will give up a portion of time equal to half that sum, and if the eight classes should be called within the year, and one third turn out, the fine on the remaining forty thousand would amount to seventy-two millions of dollars, besides the fifteen shillings on every hundred pounds of property, and the charge of seven and a half per cent. for collecting, in certain instances which, on the whole, would be upwards of two hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling.

Now if those very fines disable the country from raising a sufficient revenue without producing an equivalent advantage, would it not be for the ease and interest of all parties to increase the revenue, in the manner I have proposed, or any better, if a better can be devised, and cease the operation of the fines? I would still keep the militia as an organized body of men, and should there be a real necessity to call them forth, pay them out of the proper revenues of the state, and increase the taxes a third or fourth per cent. on those who do not attend. My limits will not allow me to go further into this matter, which I shall therefore close with this remark; that fines are, of all modes of revenue, the most unsuited to the minds of a free country. When a man pays a tax, he knows that the public necessity requires it, and therefore feels a pride in discharging his duty; but a fine seems an atonement for neglect of duty, and of consequence is paid with discredit, and frequently levied with severity.

I have now only one subject more to speak of, with which I shall conclude, which is, the resolve of Congress of the 18th of March last, for taking up and funding the present currency at forty for one, and issuing new money in its stead.

Every one knows that I am not the flatterer of Congress, but in this instance they are right; and if that measure is supported, the currency will acquire a value, which, without it, it will not. But this is not all: it will give relief to the finances until such time as they can be properly arranged, and save the country from being immediately doubled taxed under the present mode. In short, support that measure, and it will support you.

I have now waded through a tedious course of difficult business, and over an untrodden path. The subject, on every point in which it could be viewed, was entangled with perplexities, and enveloped in obscurity, yet such are the resources of America, that she wants nothing but system to secure success.

Common Sense.
Philadelphia, Oct. 4, 1780.

P. S. While this paper was preparing for the press, the treachery of General Arnold became known, and engrossed the attention and conversation of the public; and that, not so much on account of the traitor as the magnitude of the treason, and the providence evident in the discovery. The matter, as far as it is at present known, is thus briefly related:

General Arnold about six weeks before had obtained the command of the important post of West Point, situated on the North River, about sixty miles above New York, and an hundred below Albany, there being no other defenceable pass between it and the last mentioned place. At what time, or in what manner, he first entered into a negotiation with the enemy for betraying the fort and garrison into their hands, does not yet appear.

While Arnold commanded at West Point, General Washington and the Minister of France went to Hartford in Connecticut, to consult on matters, in concert with Admiral Terney, commander of the French fleet stationed at Rhode Island. In the mean time Arnold held a conference with Major Andre, Adjutant-General to General Clinton, whom he traitorously furnished with plans of the fort, state of the garrison, minutes of the last council of war, and the manner in which he would post the troops when the enemy should attempt a surprise; and then gave him a pass, by the name of Mr. John Anderson, to go to the lines at the White Plains or lower, if he Mr. Anderson thought proper, he being (the pass said) on public business.

Thus furnished Andre parted from Arnold, set off for New York, and had nearly arrived at the extent of our lines, when he was stopped by a party of militia, to whom he produced his pass, but they, not being satisfied with his account, insisted on taking him before the commanding officer, Lieut. Col. Jamieson. Finding himself in this situation, and hoping to escape by a bribe, he offered them his purse, watch and a promise of any quantity of goods they would accept, which these honest men nobly and virtuously scorned, and confident with their duty took him to the proper officer. On examination there was found on him the above mentioned papers and several others, all in the handwriting of General Arnold, and finding himself thus detected, he confessed his proper name and character. He was accordingly made a close prisoner, and the papers sent off by express to West Point, at which place General Washington had arrived soon after the arrival of the packet. On this disclosure, he went in quest of Arnold, whom he had not seen that day, but all that could be learned was that Arnold had received a letter some short time before which had much confused him, since which he had disappeared. Colonel Hamilton, one of General Washington’s aids, with some others were sent after him, but he, having the start, eluded the pursuit, took boat under pretence of a flag, and got on board the Vulture sloop of war lying in the North River; on which it may be truly said, that one vulture was receiving another. From on board this vessel he addressed a letter to General Washington, which, in whatever light it may be viewed, confirms him a finished villain.

The true character of Arnold is that of a desperado. His whole life has been a life of jobs; and where either plunder or profit was the object, no danger deterred, no principle restrained him. In his person he was smart and active, somewhat diminutive, weak in his capacities and trifling in his conversation; and though gallant in the field, was defective in the talents necessary for command. The early convulsion of the times afforded him an introduction into life, to the elegance of which he was before a stranger, and the eagerness of the public to reward and encourage enterprise, procured him at once both applause and promotion. His march to Quebec gave him fame, and the plunder of Montreal put the first stamp to his public character. His behavior, at Danbury and Saratoga once more covered over his crimes, which again broke forth in the plunder of Philadelphia, under pretence of supplying the army. From this time, the true spring of his conduct being known, he became both disregarded and disesteemed, and this last instance of his treachery has proved the public judgment right.

When we take a review of the history of former times it will turn out to the honor of America that, notwithstanding the trying variety of her situation, this is the only instance of defection in a general officer; and even in this case, the unshaken honesty of those who detected him heightens the national character, to which his apostasy serves as a foil. From the nature of his crime, and his disposition to monopolize, it is reasonable to conclude he had few or no direct accomplices. His sole object was to make a monied bargain; and to be consistent with himself, he would as readily betray the side he has deserted to, as that he deserted from.

But there is one reflection results from this black business that deserves notice, which is that it shows the declining power of the enemy. An attempt to bribe is a sacrifice of military fame, and a confession of inability to conquer; as a proud people they ought to be above it, and as soldiers to despise it; and however they may feel on the occasion, the world at large will despise them for it, and consider America superior to their arms.

October 24th History of Early America

October 24, 1590
John White, The governor of the second Roanoke Colony, returns to England after an unsuccessful search for the “lost” colonists.

October 24, 1644
William Penn was born in London, the son of Admiral Sir William Penn.

William Penn and the Quakers:
Despite high social position and an excellent education, he shocked his upper-class associates by his conversion to the beliefs of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, then a persecuted sect. He used his inherited wealth and rank to benefit and protect his fellow believers. Despite the unpopularity of his religion, he was socially acceptable in the king’s court because he was trusted by the Duke of York, later King James II. The origins of the Society of Friends lie in the intense religious ferment of 17th century England. George Fox, the son of a Leicestershire weaver, is credited with founding it in 1647, though there was no definite organization before 1668. The Society’s rejections of rituals and oaths, its opposition to war, and its simplicity of speech and dress soon attracted attention, usually hostile.

October 24, 1755
French and Indian War – First British expedition against the French held Fort Niagara ends in failure after Braddock’s defeat at Fort Duquesne; the French increased the garrison and improved the fortifications. Youngstown, New York

October 24-25,. 1775
Patriots successfully defend Hampton, Virginia, from a British naval attack.
Lord John Murray Dunmore, Virginia’s last royal governor, orders a British naval fleet of six ships to sail up the James River and into Hampton Creek to attack Patriot troops and destroy the town of Norfolk, Virginia. British Captain Matthew Squire led the six ships into Hampton Creek and began bombarding the town with artillery and cannon fire, while a second contingent of British troops sailed ashore to begin engaging the Patriots.

Expecting the Patriots and local militia to come charging and to engage in open combat, the British were surprised to come under fire from expert riflemen, who began striking down British troops at a distance. Hearing of the British attack, Virginia’s local militia leader, Colonel William Woodford, marched an additional 100 members of the militia to defend Norfolk.

With reinforcements in place, the Patriots and militia pushed the British back to their ships, where the riflemen again began picking off British troops from the decks of their vessels. Facing a humiliating defeat at the hands of an outnumbered local militia, Captain Squire ordered a full British retreat. In the unorganized and hurried withdrawal that followed, two British ships ran aground and were captured. The Patriots, meanwhile, did not suffer a single fatality.

October 24,. 1776
The Secret Committee of Congress retained the Ship Reprisal, Captain Lambert Wickes, to carry Benjamin Franklin to Nantes, France.

October 24, 1777
Note: After  American artillery at Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania, inflicts severe damage on the British fleet as it moves up the river from Delaware Bay, on the 23rd.

Letter from George Washington to Continntal Congress
Head Quarters, October 24, 1777.

Sir: I do myself the honor of transmitting to Congress the inclosed copies of sundry letters just now received, and congratulate them most sincerely on the important intelligence which they contain.(fn.1) The damage the Enemy have sustained in their Ships, I hope will prevent their future attempts to gain the passage of the River, and the repulse of the Troops under Count Donnop and his Captivity, I flatter myself will also be attended with the most happy consequences. At the time these Actions happened, a Supply of ammunition was on the way to the Forts, and I have also ordered a further Quantity to be immediately sent. By Colo. Blaine one of the issuing Commissaries who left Red Bank, in the morning before the action, I am happily informed, that he had thrown considerable supplies of provision into both garrisons, he also adds, that he came from Jersey this morning, and that the Enemy had recrossed the Delaware and returned to Philadelphia.

I have written to Colonel Greene, that the Prisoners must be immediately sent from his Post, and Mr. Clymer, (fn.2) a Deputy under Mr. Boudinot,(fn.3) will set out to morrow morning to make a proper disposition of them.

It gives me great concern, to inform Congress, that after all my exertions we are still in a distressed situation for want of Blankets and Shoes. At this time, no inconsiderable part of our force are incapable of acting thro’ the deficiency of the latter, and I fear, without we can be relieved, it will be the case with two thirds of the Army in the course of a few days.

I am and have been waiting with the most anxious impatience, for a confirmation of Genl Burgoynes surrender. I have received no further intelligence respecting it, except vague report, than the first accounts which came to hand so long ago as Saturday morning. If Congress have had authentic advices about it, I wish to be favored with them. I have the honor etc.(fn.4)

October 24, 1791
First session of the 2nd Congress of the United States began in Philidelphia, in the 16th year of independence of said states, in session till May 8, 1792
Congress refuses to accept an antislavery petition from Quaker. Warner Mifflin

Footnotes:

1. These were from Maj. Samuel Ward and Commodore John Hazelwood. Ward stated: “On the 21st Inst. Four Battalions of Germans, amounting to about 1200 men commanded by Baron Donop Colo. Commandant landed at Cooper’s Ferry and Marched the same Evening to Haddonfield. At 3 o’Clock Yesterday Morning, they marched for this place; when the guard at Timber Creek bridge were informed of their approach, they took up that Bridge, and the Enemy filed off to the Left, and crossed at a Bridge four miles above. Their Advanced Parties were discovered within a quarter of a mile of the fort at 12 o’clock; At half after 4 o’Clock P.M. They sent a flag to summons the Fort, who was told, that it should never be surrendered. At three quarters after four, they began a Brisk Canonade, and soon after advanced in two Columns to the Attack. They passed the Abattis, gained the ditch, and some few got over the Pickets, but the fire was so heavy, that they soon were drove out again with considerable loss, and retreated precipitately towards Haddonfield, The Enemy’s loss amounts to 1 Lieut. Col., 3 Capts., 4 Lieuts., and near 70 killed and. the Baron Donop, his Brigade Major, a Captain-Lieutenant and upwards of 70 nonCommissioned Officers and Privates wounded and taken Prisoners. We are also informed, that several waggons are taken. The Colo. proposes to send the wounded Officers to Burlington. He also enjoins me to tell your Excellency, that both Officers and Privates behaved with the greatest Bravery. The Action Lasted 40 minutes.” The Hessians confessed to a loss of 402 killed and wounded, of whom 26 were officers. The American loss was 14 killed, 23 wounded, and 1 captain, who was reconnoitering, taken prisoner. Donop died of his wounds three days after the action. The naval part of the action was described by Commodore Hazelwood in a more complete report of October 26: “While the Fort at Red Bank was attacked, the Augusta of 64 Guns, the Roebuck of 44, Two Frigates, the Merlin of 18, and a Galley, came up through the lower Chevaux de Frieze, which were attack’d by the floating Batterys and some of the Galleys, while the rest of the Galleys was flanking the enemy, that were attacking the Fort where the Galleys did much execution. As soon as the enemy was repuls’d at the Fort, the Ships finding so hot a fire, endeavour’d to fall down, but the Augusta and Merlin ran aground. Early next morning the Galleys and floating Batteries attacked them, when an incessant fire was kept up. About 11 o’Clock I believe one of our Shot set the Augusta on fire, and at 12 she blew up, being aground. The engagement continued with the other Ships, and at 3 in the afternoon, the Merlin we think also took fire and blew up, then the firing ceased on both sides. The Roebuck dropped down to the lower Chevaux de Frieze and went thro’. Yesterday I went down to the Wrecks, and found that the Guns of both ships may be got out, if the enemy’s Ships can be kept at a proper distance. We brought off two 24 Pounders, and as soon as possible shall endeavour for the rest.” Commoodore Hazelwood complained of his lack of men. “The fleet is now so poorly Mann’d,” he wrote, “and the constant cry from Fort Mifflin is to guard that Post, that I know not how to act without more assistance.” There had been numerous desertions from the fleet. Lieutenant Colonel Smith had written (October 2): “So general a discontent and panic runs through that part of the fleet, that neither Officer nor men can be confided in, they conceive the River is lost, if the enemy gets possession of Billingsport nothing can convince them of the contrary and I am persuaded as soon as that fort is taken that almost all the fleet will desert, indeed from their disposition I am induced to believe they will openly avow themselves and desert Officers with their Crew (which has been the case with two) perhaps with their Gallies.” These letters, dated Oct. 22, 1777, are in the Washington Papers in the Library of Congress.

2. Daniel Clymer. Deputy Commissary General of Prisoners.

3. Elias Boudinot. He was Commissary General of Prisoners of the Continental Army; resigned in May, 1778; later a Delegate to Congress from New Jersey and President of Congress.

4. In the writing of Richard Kidder Meade. It was read in Congress on October :27 and referred to the Committee of Intelligence.

October 23rd History of Early America

October 23, 4004 BC.
According to 17th century divine James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh, and Dr. John Lightfoot of Cambridge, the world was created on this day, a Sunday, at 9 a.m.

October 23, 1641
Outbreak of the Irish Rebellion of 1641.
Catholics, under Phelim O’Neil, rise against the Protestants and massacred men, women and children to the number of 40,000 (some say 100,000).

October 23, 1642
Battle of Edgehill: First major battle of the First English Civil War.

October 23, 1694
British/American colonial forces, led by Sir William Phipps, fail to seize Quebec from the French.

October 23, 1707
The first Parliament of Great Britain meets.

October 23, 1739
War of Jenkins’ Ear starts: British Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, reluctantly declares war on Spain.

October 23. 1775
The Congressional Committee meeting with Washington agrees to accept the Penobscot, Stockbridge, and St. John’s Indian tribes offers of assistance, allowing them to be employed in the Army if necessary. The committee decides, however, to exclude African Americans.

October 23. 1776
Washington moved his headquarters from Harlem Heights to White Plains.

October 23. 1776
The Maryland Convention reported that inhabitants of Caroline County had marched into Dorchester County and in a “violent manner” taken and carried away salt from the local inhabitants.

October 23, 1777
American artillery at Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania, inflicts severe damage on the British fleet as it moves up the river from Delaware Bay.

October 23, 1783
Virginia emancipates slaves who fought for independence during the Revolutionary War.

I’ll have to details later

October 22nd Colonial and American Revolutionary War History

October 22. 1746
The College of New Jersey was officially chartered. It later became known as Princeton University.

October 22. 1775
Former president of the Continental Congress, Peyton Randolph of Virginia, dies in Philadelphia.

October 22. 1776
Congress elected Arthur Lee of London as Commissioner to France. “Mr. (Thomas) Jefferson having informed Congress that the state of his family will not permit him to accept the honour of going as their Commissioner to France.” Benjamin Franklin was the second Commissioner chosen.

Short bio: Arthur Lee, born in Virginia in 1740. educated at Eton College and University of Edinburgh, studied law at the Temple in London, and practiced law in London, 1770-6, sent by Congress on several diplomatic missions in Europe during the Revolution, member of Congress, 1782-4, member of the Board of the Treasury, 1784-9, died in Virginia, 1792.

October 22, 1777
An American garrison at Fort Mercer, New Jersey, repels an attack by Hessian troops, at the Battle of Red Bank

October 22, 1777
After failing to receive requested reinforcements, General Howe asks that he be relieved of command. The British Government refused to send him any.

General William Howe in the American Revolution:

Stating that “he was ordered, and could not refuse,” Howe sailed for Boston with Major Generals Henry Clinton and John Burgoyne. Arriving May 15, Howe brought reinforcements for General Thomas Gage. Under siege in the city, the British were forced to take action when American forces fortified Breed’s Hill on the Charlestown Peninsula overlooking the city. While Clinton favored an amphibious attack to cut off the American line of retreat, Howe advocated a more conventional frontal attack. Taking the conservative route, Gage ordered Howe to move forward on June 17.

In the resulting Battle of Bunker Hill, Howe’s men succeeded in driving off the Americans but sustained over 1,000 casualties in capturing their works. Though a victory, the battle deeply influenced Howe and crushed his initial belief that the rebels represented only a small part of the American people. A dashing, daring commander earlier in his career, the high losses at Bunker Hill made Howe more conservative and less inclined to attack strong enemy positions. Knighted that year, Howe was temporarily appointed commander-in-chief on October 10 (it was made permanent in April 1776) when Gage returned to England.

Howe’s Inability to Crush the Rebellion:

Forced out of Boston on March 17, 1776, after General George Washington emplaced guns on Dorchester Heights, Howe withdrew with the army to Halifax, Nova Scotia. There, a new campaign was planned with the goal of taking New York. Landing on Staten Island on July 2, Howe’s army soon swelled to over 30,000 men. Crossing to Gravesend Bay, Howe flanked and defeated Washington at the Battle of Long Island on August 26/27. Falling back to fortifications at Brooklyn Heights, the Americans awaited a British assault. Based on his earlier experiences, Howe was reluctant to attack and began siege operations.

This hesitation allowed Washington’s army to escape to Manhattan. He was soon joined by his brother who had orders to act as a peace commissioner. Though the Howes met with American leaders, they were only permitted to extend pardons to those rebels who submitted. Their offer refused, they began active operations against New York City. Landing on Manhattan on September 15, Howe ultimately forced Washington from the island and later drove him from a defensive position at the Battle of White Plains. Rather than pursue Washington’s beaten army, Howe returned to New York to secure Forts Washington and Lee.

Again showing an unwillingness to eliminate Washington’s army, Howe soon moved into winter quarters around New York and only dispatched a small force under Major General Lord Charles Cornwallis to create a “safe zone” in northern New Jersey. Recovering in Pennsylvania, Washington was able to win victories at Trenton and Princeton in December and January. As a result, Howe pulled back many of his outposts. While Washington continued small-scale operations during the winter, Howe was content to remain in New York enjoying a full social calendar.

In the spring of 1777, Burgoyne proposed a plan for defeating the Americans which called for him to lead an army south through Lake Champlain to Albany while a second column advanced east from Lake Ontario. These advances were to be supported by an advance north from New York by Howe. While this plan was approved by Colonial Secretary Lord George Germain, Howe’s role was never clearly defined nor was he issued orders from London to aid Burgoyne. As a result, though Burgoyne moved forward, Howe launched his own campaign to capture the American capital at Philadelphia. Left on his own, Burgoyne was defeated in the critical Battle of Saratoga

Sailing south from New York, Howe moved up the Chesapeake Bay and landed at Head of Elk on August 25, 1777. Moving north, Howe defeated Washington at the Battle of Brandywine on September 11. Outmaneuvering the Americans, Howe captured the city without a fight eleven days later. Concerned about Washington’s army, Howe left a small garrison in the city and moved northwest. On October 4, he won a near-run victory at the Battle of Germantown. In the wake of the defeat, Washington retreated into winter quarters at Valley Forge.

Under severe criticism in England for failing to crush the Americans and feeling he had lost the king’s confidence, Howe requested to be relieved on October 22. After attempting to lure Washington into battle late that fall, Howe and the army entered winter quarters in Philadelphia. Again enjoying a lively social scene, Howe received word that his resignation had been accepted on April 14, 1778. After an extravagant festival in his honor on May 18, Howe turned command over to Clinton and departed.
Howe in Later Life

Arriving in England, he entered into the debate over the conduct of the war and published a defense of his actions. Made a privy counselor and Lieutenant General of the Ordnance in 1782, Howe remained in active service. With the outbreak of the French Revolution he served in a variety of senior commands in England. Made a full general in 1793, he died on July 12, 1814, after a prolonged illness, while serving as governor of Plymouth. An adept battlefield commander, Howe was beloved by his men but received little credit for his victories in America. Slow and indolent by nature, his greatest failure was an inability to follow up on his successes.

October 22, 1779
The New York Act of Attainder or Confiscation Act
The New York legislature declares Governor Lord John Murray Dunmore, General Wiliam Tryon, Oliver De Lancey, along with 57 others, to be public enemies. As a result of this act, these individuals have their personal estates confiscated.

October 22, 1836
Sam Houston was inaugurated as the first constitutionally elected president of the Republic of Texas.

October 22, 1844
This day is recognized as “The Great Disappointment” among those who practiced Millerism. The world was expected to come to an end according to the followers of William Miller.

October 20th Colonial and American Revolutionary War History

October 20, 1774
The new Continental Congress, the governing body of America’s colonies, passed an order proclaiming that all citizens of the colonies “discountenance and discourage all horse racing and all kinds of gaming, cock fighting, exhibitions of shows, plays and other expensive diversions and entertainment.”

October 20, 1775
The committee meeting with Washington about the Army agrees that the forces should be supplied with provisions by the New England colonies. Washington is given the authority to impress wagons, vessels, horses, and other necessary items.

October 20, 1776
The William Morris & Co. wrote this day that the American coast was quite clear (of British ships) “so that the spirits of enterprize has seized most People and they are making or trying to make Fortunes.”

October 20, 1776
Rev. William McKay gave a sermon at Fort Ticonderoga in which he begged them not to be be weak and afraid, but to “do yourselves honor by using the weapons of your warfare with that heroism, firmness, and magnanimity which the cause requires.”

October 20-30 1781
Combined British, Loyalist, and Indian Raid Launched in the Mohawk Valley, New York. This force, led by Major John Ross, is nipped in the bud by a combination of lack of Indian interest, muddy roads, and the possibility of encountering Patriot militia commanded by Colonel Marinus Willett. This is the last attempted British offensive in Tryon County.

October 20, 1782
Battle of Cape Spartel (Morocco)
Spain’s primary objective upon entering the American Revolution was to regain Gibraltar from the British. The 46 ship-of–the-line Franco-Spanish squadron commanded by Admiral Cordoba vastly outnumbers the 35 ships-of-the line belonging to Admiral Sir Richard Howe. In the four-hour engagement, each side incurs over 600 casualties. However, the British retain possession of Gibraltar and manage to maintain control of the vital supply routes leading to the island.

October 20, 1783
Congress votes to build a second “federal town” on the banks of the Potomac River, with plans to alternate sessions between there and Philadelphia.

Richard Henry Lee2

Founder Richard Henry Lee, Cicero of America

Rhetoric, as defined in the lexicons, as taught in the schools, as practised in times of peaceful leisure–is not the kind that graced the forum during the American Revolution. No studied or written speeches were then crowded upon the audience to kill time or gain popularity. Judge McKean remarked just before his death–“I do not recollect any formal speeches, such as are made in Parliament and our late Congresses. We had no time to hear such speeches–little for deliberation–action was the order of the day.”

See also Founder Francis Lightfoot Lee

School eloquence is very different from native heart-thrilling soul-stirring rhetoric. The former is like the rose in wax without odor–the latter like the rose upon its native bush perfuming the atmosphere with the rich odors distilled from the dew of heaven. The former is the finely finished statue of a Cicero or Demosthenes, more perfect in its lineaments than the original–the latter is the living man animated by intellectual power–rousing the deepest feelings of every heart–electrifying every soul as with vivid lightning. The former is a picture of the passions all on fire–the latter is the real conflagration pouring out a stream of impassioned words that burn like liquid flames bursting from a volcano. The former brings the fancy of an audience into playful action–the latter sounds an alarum that vibrates through the tingling ears to the soul and drives back the rushing blood upon the aching heart. The former moves the cerebral foliage in waves of recumbent beauty like a gentle wind passing over a prairie of tall grass and flowers–the latter strikes a blow that resounds through the wilderness of mind like rolling thunder through a forest of oaks. The former fails when strong commotions and angry elements agitate the public peace–the latter can ride upon the whirlwind of faction, direct the tornado of party spirit and rule the storm of boiling passion. This was the only kind of eloquence practised by the Sages and Heroes who achieved our Independence. At such times school elocution is a mockery–a vain show that disgusts men when the fate of millions is suspended by a single hair. At such a crisis the deep fountains of the soul are broken up and gush out in living streams of natural overwhelming eloquence.

Richard Henry Lee

Richard Henry Lee

Among the powerful orators of ’76 was Richard Henry Lee, son of Thomas Lee, born in Westmoreland County, Virginia, on the 20th of January 1732. His ancestors were among the early settlers of the Old Dominion and were
prominent in directing the destiny of the Colony. They were men of liberal principles and at all times promptly resisted every encroachment upon their rights. The arbitrary power exercised by Charles I. over his European subjects which hurled him from his throne, was resisted by the Lees. When Cromwell assumed the crown he was never recognised by Virginia. The mandate that  proclaimed the second Charles King–originated with Lee and Berkley of the Old Dominion. The plan of ultimate Independence was cherished by the elder Lees. Through the bright vista of the future they contemplated the millennium of Freedom in America. So strongly impressed was the father of Richard Henry with this idea that he fixed in his mind the location of the seat of government and purchased lands in the vicinity of Washington. By some historians this act is called a paradox that philosophy has been perplexed to explain. To my mind the solution has no perplexity. A man of deep reflection and large intelligence does not draw his conclusions alone from present appearances. He compares the past with the present and makes deductions for the future. The historic map of the world is covered with the rise, progress and extinction of nations, kingdoms and empires. From the causes and effects delineated upon the same map, it was the natural conclusion of a penetrating mind that the expansive territory of this country, with all the bounties of nature lavished upon it, must eventually become so densely populated that its physical force would be too powerful for any European country to hold dominion over it. The geographical centre was also plain as the settlements were then progressing. This prophecy, as it has been termed, was the result of deep thought arriving at conclusions drawn from the unerring laws of nature, showing that Mr. Lee possessed an analyzing mind that moved in an extensive orbit.

Richard Henry Lee commenced his education at Wakefield, Yorkshire, England and remained in that kingdom until he completed it. He returned a finished scholar, an accomplished gentleman with a reputation untarnished by vice or folly. From his childhood honesty and morality were his darling attributes–he delighted in reposing under the ethic mantle. During his absence his innate republicanism did not become tinctured with the farina of European courts or the etiquette of aristocracy. In classic history he found the true dignity of man portrayed–his inalienable rights delineated. In the philosophy of Locke he saw the rays of light reflected upon human nature–the avenues of the immortal mind opened to his enraptured vision. In the Elements of Euclid the laws of demonstration were presented to his delighted understanding and gave fresh vigor to his logical powers. Endowed with these qualifications he was prepared to enter upon the great theatre of public action and adorn the circle of private life.

His first public act was in raising a company of troops and tendering his services to Gen. Braddock. That proud Briton considered the Provincials puerile and declined the proffered aid. His fate is a matter of history. In 1757 Mr. Lee was appointed a Justice of the Peace and President of the Court. Shortly after he was elected to the House of Burgesses and made himself thoroughly acquainted with the laws of legislation and government–the true policy and various interests of the colony and with the rules of parliamentary proceedings. Retarded by an almost unconquerable diffidence, he took very little part in debate at first. It was not until he became excited by a subject in which he felt a deep interest that his Ciceronean powers were developed. A bill was before the House imposing a duty on the importation of slaves into Virginia–virtually amounting to a prohibition. It was strongly opposed by several influential members. Mr. Lee became roused and poured upon
his astonished audience such a flood of burning eloquence against the importation of human beings to be made slaves, that his opponents trembled as they listened. In vivid colors he painted the cruelties of Cortes in South America, the Saracens in Spain and passed through the dark catalogue of monsters who had disgraced humanity with barbarism–then pointed his colleagues to the darker blot–the more barbarous practices that branded with infamy the unhallowed slave-trade then monopolized by mother Britain. He pointed to the bloody scenes of other times when the physical force of the slaves had enabled them to rise and crush their masters at one bold stroke. By stopping the traffic, the evil entailed upon them might be provided for and the certain and dreadful consequences of a constant influx from Africa be warded off. His eloquence was applauded but his philanthropic views were voted down by the friends of the crown. The trade was virtually originated and long continued by Great Britain, now so loud in complaints against us for not at once providing for an evil entailed by her. Had this bill passed, her revenue would have been less and thousands of Africans left at their peaceful homes. O! shame where is thy blush!

This powerful effort raised Mr. Lee to the rank of the Cicero of America. The exposure of the base corruptions practised by Mr. Robinson, then treasurer of the Colony, was the next important service rendered by him. As this was an attack upon the aristocracy, it required much skill, boldness and sagacity to introduce the probe successfully. This he did in a masterly manner and proved clearly that the treasurer had repeatedly re-issued reclaimed treasury bills to his favorite friends to support them in their extravagance by which the Colony was robbed of the amount by their payment a second time without a _quid pro quo_ [equivalent.] For this bold act Mr. Lee was applauded by every honest man–hated and dreaded by public knaves.

When Charles Townsend laid before the British Parliament the odious and more extensive plan of taxing the American colonies which Mr. Grenville called _the philosopher’s stone_, Mr. Lee was among the first to sound the alarm. Within a month after the passage of the preliminary Act in Parliament followed by a revolting catalogue of unconstitutional and
oppressive laws, he furnished his London friends with a list of arguments against it sufficient to convince every reasonable man of the injustice and impolicy of the measure. When Patrick Henry proposed his bold resolutions against the Stamp Act in 1765 Mr. Lee gave them the powerful aid of his eloquent and unanswerable logic. He was very active in the formation of associations to resist the encroachments of the crown. He aided in  compelling the collector of stamps to relinquish his office, deliver up his commission and the odious stamp paper. The people were advised not to touch or handle it. His pen was also ably used and produced many keen, withering, logical, patriotic, pungent essays that had a salutary influence upon the public mind. He corresponded with the patriots of New York and New England. According to the testimony of Col. Gadsden of S. C. and the public documents of that eventful era, Mr. Lee was the first man who proposed the Independence of the colonies. He had unquestionably imbibed the idea from his father whose ancestors had predicted it for the last hundred years and had probably handed it down from sire to son. In a letter from Richard Henry Lee to Mr. Dickinson dated July 25th 1768 he proposes upon all seasonable occasions to impress upon the minds of the people the necessity of a struggle with Great Britain “_for the ultimate establishment of independence–that private correspondence should be conducted by the lovers of liberty in every province_.” His early proposition in Congress to sever the material ties was considered premature by most of the friends of Liberty. He had long nursed this favorite project in his own bosom–he was anxious to transplant its vigorous scions into the congenial bosoms of his fellow patriots.

Soon after the House of Burgesses convened in 1769, as chairman of the judiciary committee, Mr. Lee introduced resolutions so highly charged with liberal principles calculated to demolish the Grenville superstructure and reduce to dust his talismanic _philosopher’s stone_,  that they caused a dissolution of the House and concentrated the wrath of the British ministry and its servile bipeds against him. The rich fruits of their persecution were the formation of non-importation associations, committees of safety and correspondence and the disaffection of the English merchants towards the mother country in consequence of the impolitic measures calculated to prostrate their importing and exporting trade. Lord North now assumed the management of the grand drama of oppression and laid more deeply the revenue plan. By causing a repeal of the more offensive Acts he hoped to lull the storm of opposition that was rapidly rising and prepare for more efficient action. Had the Boston Port Bill been omitted his dark designing treachery might have succeeded more triumphantly. This fanned the burning flame of resentment to a white heat. It spoke in language too plain to be mistaken–too strong to be endured.

In 1774 Mr. Lee was a delegate to the Congress convened at Philadelphia. At that memorable meeting he acted a conspicuous part. After Patrick Henry had broken the seal that rested on the lips of the members as they sat in deep and solemn silence, he was followed by Mr. Lee in a strain of _belles-lettres_ eloquence and persuasive reasoning that took the hearts of his audience captive and restored to a calm the boiling agitation that shook their manly frames as the mountain torrent of Demosthenean eloquence was poured upon them by Henry. He was upon the committee that prepared an address to the  king–the people of Great Britain and to the Colonies. Those documents were written by him and adopted with but few amendments. He was upon the committee that prepared
the address to the people of Quebec and upon the committee of rights and grievances and non-intercourse with the mother country. In the warmth of his ardor he proposed several resolutions that were rejected because considered premature at that time–not that the purity of his motives were doubted. Many of the members still hoped that timely redress of grievances would restore peace. They had clearly and forcibly set forth their complaints and desires and could not yet be persuaded that ministers were madly bent on ruin. For solidity of reasoning, force of sagacity and wisdom of conclusion–the proceedings of that Congress stand without a parallel upon the historic page. So thought Lord Chatham, Burke and many of the wisest English statesmen at that time.

In 1775 Mr. Lee was unanimously elected to the Virginia Legislature where the same zeal for Liberty marked his bold career. He received a vote of thanks for his noble course in Congress and was made a delegate for the next session. A more congenial field now opened for this ardent patriot. Temporizing was no longer the order of the the day. Vigorous action had become necessary. His zeal and industry had ample scope. With all his might he entered into the good work. Upon committees–in the house, everywhere he was all activity. In 1776 he was a member of Congress. In obedience to the instructions of the Virginia Legislature and his long nursed desires, on the 7th of June he rose amidst the
assembled patriots of the nation in the Hall of Liberty and offered the resolution for the adoption of a Declaration of Independence. This resolution he enforced by one of the most brilliant and powerful displays of refined and forcible eloquence ever exhibited in our country. On the 10th of the same month he was called home by the illness of his family which prevented him from taking his place as chairman of the committee upon his resolution agreeably to parliamentary rules. Mr. Jefferson was put in his place. The wrath of British power against him was now at its zenith. During his short stay at home an armed force broke into his house at night and by threats and bribes endeavoured to induce his servants to inform them where he could be found. He was that night a few miles distant with a friend. They were told he had gone to Philadelphia.

In August he returned to Congress and most gladly affixed his name to that sacred instrument upon which his imagination had feasted for years. He continued at his post until June 1777 when he returned home to confute a base slander charging him with unfaithfulness to the American cause in consequence of having received rents in kind instead of Continental money. He was honorably acquitted by the Assembly and received a vote of thanks from that body for his fidelity and industry in the cause of freedom–rather a cooler to his semi-Tory enemies. During the two ensuing years his bad health compelled him to leave Congress several times, but his counsel was at the command of his colleagues at all times. Nothing but death could abate his zeal in the good cause.

The portals of military glory were now opened to Mr. Lee. He was appointed to the command of the militia of his native county and proved as competent to wield the sword and lead his men to action as he was to command an audience by his powerful eloquence. Defeated in the north the British made a rush upon the Southern States. Whenever they approached the neighbourhood under the charge of Mr. Lee they found his arrangements a little too precise for their convenience and abandoned their visits entirely. In 1780-1-2 he served in the Virginia legislature. The proposition of making paper bills a legal tender–of paying debts due to the mother country and of a general assessment to support the Christian religion–were then before the House and excited great interest. Mr. Lee advocated and Mr. Henry opposed them. From the necessity of the case he was in favor of the first. Upon the sacredness of contracts he based his arguments in favor of the second and from ethics he drew conclusions in favor of the last. He said refiners might weave reason into as fine a web as they pleased but the experience of all time had shown religion to be the guardian of morals. He contended that the declaration of rights was aimed at restrictions on the form and mode of worship and not against the legal compulsory support of it. In this Mr. Lee erred. He probably had forgotten that Christ declared his kingdom was not of this world and that the great Head of the Christian religion had for ever dissolved the bans of church and state by that declaration. In other respects the position is untenable in a republican government and can never promote genuine piety in any.

In 1784 he was again elected to Congress and chosen President of that body. At the close of the session he received a vote of thanks for the faithful and able performance of his duty and retired to the bosom of his family to rest from his long and arduous toils. He was a member of the Convention that framed the Federal Constitution and took a deep interest in the formation of that saving instrument. He was a U. S. Senator in the first Congress that convened under it and fully sustained his previous high reputation. Infirmity at length compelled him to bid a final farewell to the public arena. His last public services were rendered in the legislature of his own state. On his retirement a most flattering resolution of thanks for his numerous valuable services was passed by that body on the 22d of October 1792. He then retired to the peaceful shades of Chantilly in his native county crowned with a chaplet of amaranthine flowers emitting rich odors lasting as time. There he lived–esteemed, beloved, respected and admired until the 19th of June 1794 when the angel of death liberated his immortal spirit from its clay prison–seraphs conducted his soul to realms of bliss there to enjoy the reward of a life well spent.

Mr. Lee was a rare model of human excellence and refinement. He was a polished gentleman, scholar, orator and statesman. In exploring the vast fields of science he gathered the choicest flowers–the most substantial fruits. The classics, _Belles Lettres_–the elements of civil, common, national and municipal law–the principles of every kind of government were all familiar to his mind. He was ardently patriotic, pure and firm in his purposes, honest and sincere in his motives, liberal in his principles, frank in his designs, honorable in his actions. As an orator the modulation of his voice, manner of action and mode of reasoning were a _fac simile_ of Cicero as described by Rollin. He richly merited the appellation–CICERO OF AMERICA.

His private character was above reproach. He possessed and exercised all those amiable qualities calculated to impart substantial happiness to all around him. To crown with enduring splendor all his rich and varied talents–he was a consistent Christian–an honest man. As his dust reposes in peace let his examples deeply impress our heart: and excite us to fulfill the duties of life to the honor of ourselves, our country and our God.

From Sages and Heroes of the American Revolution; L. Carrol Judson

Francis Lightfoot Lee

Founder Francis Lightfoot Lee

From Sages and Heoes of the American Revolution

The actions of men cannot be well understood without a thorough
knowledge of human nature. We must trace the map of the immortal mind,
learn the avenues of its circuit, follow it through the regions of
revolving thought, become familiar with the passions that influence and
control it–learn its natural desires, innate qualities, springs of
action–its multifarious combinations. We must understand its native
divinity, earthly frailty, malleability, expansions, contractions and
its original propensities. In addition to all this knowledge, to judge
correctly of the actions of an individual we must know the predominants
and exponents of his mind–the impress it has received from education,
the motives that impelled him to action, his propulsive and repulsive
powers, the ultimatum of his designs and his ulterior objects. With all
these guides we may still become involved in error unless we move within
the orbit of impartiality, divest ourselves of all prejudice and have
our judgments warmed by the genial influence of heaven-born charity.
With all these lights we should never pass judgment of censure upon any
person unless the good of community requires it or a court of justice
demands it. Could this rule be strictly adhered to by individuals and
the press–rays of millenial glory would burst upon the wilderness of
mind and cause it to bud and blossom as the rose. A peaceful and
quiescent rest would calm the angry feelings and boiling passions of
men, daily lashed to a foaming fury by the unnecessary and often
erroneous expressed opinions of others. On this point the Sages and
Heroes of the American Revolution were examples worthy of imitation.
Each one held most sacred the reputation of his co-workers. The few
violations of this principle were frowned upon with an indignity that
gave the recusants the Belshazzar trembles.

See also Founder Richard Henry Lee, Cicero of America

Francis Lightfoot Lee

Francis Lightfoot Lee

Among them no one was more tender of character than Francis Lightfoot
Lee. He was the son of Thomas Lee–born in Westmoreland county,
Virginia, on the 14th of October 1734. He was the brother of Richard
Henry Lee whose eloquence rose higher but whose reflections were no
deeper than those of Francis. In childhood he was admired for his
docility and amiable deportment–in youth he was the pride of every
circle in which he moved and when manhood dawned upon him he exhibited a
dignity of mind and maturity of judgment that all delighted to honor.

He was educated by the Rev. Mr. Craig a Scotch clergyman of high
literary attainment and profound erudition. Under his tuition the germs
of knowledge took deep root in the prolific mental soil of young Lee and
produced plants of rapid and luxuriant growth. The Scotch _literati_ are
remarkable for deep investigation, thorough analyzation and lucid
demonstration. I have never met one who was a pedant, a vain pretender
or a superficial scholar. Under such an instructor the intellectual
powers of Francis assumed a vigorous and healthful tone that placed him
upon the substantial basis of useful knowledge and enduring fame. He was
delighted with the solid sciences and spent less time in the bowers of
Belles Lettres than his Ciceronean brother. The history of classic
Greece and Republican Rome enraptured his mind with the love of liberty
and liberal principles. He read closely, thought deeply and investigated
thoroughly. He prosecuted his studies with untiring industry and became
an excellent scholar without the advantages of European seminaries to
which most of the sons of wealthy men were then sent to complete their
education. Imitating the examples of his elder brothers who had received
the highest polish of English gentilesse and French etiquette he became
a polished gentleman in his manners. Raised in the midst of affluence,
actuated by the purest ethics, free from a desire to participate in the
follies of the world, living in the peaceful enjoyment of those refined
pleasures that promote felicity without enervating the body or
corrupting the heart, the favorite of his numerous acquaintances–his
earthly happiness was of the purest kind. His mind richly stored with
scientific theory and with correct moral and religious principles, he
entered the school of experience and became emphatically a practical
man. Possessed of an ample fortune he could devote his time to what he
deemed most useful. Having early imbibed a love for rational liberty and
having fully canvassed the conduct of the British ministry towards the
American Colonies, Mr. Lee resolved to oppose the encroachments of the
king upon the rights clearly guaranteed by the English constitution. He
could not consent that the trappings of the crown, the pomp of the
courts, the extravagance of the ministry and the expenses of the
Parliament of Great Britain should be borne by the yoemanry of America
who were eloigned from the protection and fraternal feeling of that
power, deprived of participating in legislation, subject to the caprice
of every new cabinet created by the King, dragged from their native
homes to be tried by a foreign jury, oppressed by the insolence of
hireling officers, driven from under the mantle of constitutional rights
and treated as mere vassals of the mother country.

In 1765 he was elected to the house of Burgesses to represent Loudoun
county where his estate was situated. He at once took a bold stand in
favor of rational Liberty. Blessed with a strong and investigating mind,
a deep and penetrating judgment, a clear and acute perception, a pure
and patriotic heart, a bold and fearless disposition–he became one of
the most efficient advisers in the legislative body. He continued to
represent Loudoun county until 1772 when he married the estimable
Rebecca–daughter of Col. Taylor of Richmond county where he located
permanently. The same year he was elected from his new district and
continued to do good service in the house of Burgesses until he repaired
to the Continental Congress. Amidst the gathering storm of the
Revolution and the trying scenes that accumulated thick and fast around
him–he stood unmoved and undismayed. He advocated every measure
calculated to promote the independence of his country and was prolific
in plans for the accomplishment of that much desired object. As a member
of committees he had no superior. He was familiar with every form of
government and understood well the rights conferred by Magna Charta and
the British constitution. He was prepared to act advisedly and was
resolved to resist unto blood the illegal advances of the designing and
avaricious ministry. He made no pretensions to oratory, seldom spoke in
public but when so highly excited as to rise he poured upon his
opponents a flood of keen and withering logic that often made them
quail.

On the 15th of August 1775 Mr. Lee was elected to the Continental
Congress. A more expansive field was then opened before him. To do or
die–to live in chains or peril everything for Liberty had become the
dilemma. Columbia’s soil had been saturated with the blood and serum of
Americans shed by the very men who had been cherished by their bounty
and fed by their labor. The dim flickerings of hope for redress and
conciliation were fast expiring in the socket of forbearance. The great
seal of the compact had been broken by the British ministry–the last
petitions, addresses and remonstrances were prepared–the final course
for the Colonies to pursue was soon to be determined. Inglorious peace
or honorable war were the two propositions. In favor of the last Mr. Lee
put forth the strong energies of his mind. Eternal separation from
England and Independence for America could only satisfy his views. Being
upon numerous committees his influence was strongly felt. Liberty had
become a _desideratum_ with him. When the proposition of final
separation from the mother country was submitted by his brother his soul
was raised to the zenith of patriotic feeling. When the Declaration of
Rights was adopted his mind was in an ecstacy of delight. His influence,
vote and signature told how pure and strong were his desires in its
favor.

He rendered essential aid in framing the Articles of Confederation that
governed Congress and the Colonies during the Revolution. This was a
subject of great delicacy and labor. Besides the work of the committee
it passed through thirty-nine discussions in the House. He contended
that the rights of contiguous fisheries and the free navigation of the
Mississippi river should be incorporated in the claims of the United
States in all propositions of peace. The wisdom and sagacity of his
position are now fully demonstrated. It was then opposed by some and not
duly appreciated but by few.

Mr. Lee was continued in Congress up to 1779 when he declined a
re-election and retired from the public arena to scenes more congenial
to him but less beneficial to the deliberations of the august body he
had long graced with his wisdom. His enjoyment of domestic life was
transient. Contrary to his wishes he was elected to the legislature of
his native state and repaired to the post of duty. After aiding in
removing the perplexing difficulties that embarrassed the government of
the Old Dominion he again retired to the peaceful retreat of private
life where he remained until April 1797 when he was summoned to appear
forthwith at the Bar of the God he loved and had honored through life.
Calm and resigned he bowed submissively to the messenger who bore the
mandate–bid his friends an affectionate farewell and took his departure
triumphing in faith with a full assurance of a joyful reception in a
brighter and better world. He died of pleurisy and was followed in a few
days by his wife. They had no children but their graves were moistened
by the tears of numerous relatives and friends.

In public life Mr. Lee was eminently useful–his private worth shone
with equal brilliancy. Always chaste, cheerful, amusing and
instructive–he delighted every circle in which he moved. Wealthy,
benevolent and liberal–he was the widow’s solace, the orphan’s father
and the poor man’s friend. Kind, affectionate and intelligent–he was a
good husband, a faithful companion and safe counsellor. Polished, urbane
and gentlemanly–his manners were calculated to refine all around him.
Moral, discreet and pious–his precepts had a salutary influence upon
the minds of all who heard them and were not callous to good advice. He
spurned the slanderer, kindly reproved the vicious and by counsel and
example disseminated the principles of morality and religion. He was a
bright model of human excellence.

It has been erroneously stated that he was unfriendly to Washington. The
mistake of the writer probably arose from incorrectly associating Gen.
Charles Lee, who came from Wales in 1773, with the Lees of Virginia and
who was suspended from his command one year for disobedience to orders
at the battle of Monmouth. He was a brave officer and only made a small
mistake which he deeply regretted. The approval of the sentence was
voted for in Congress by Francis. After the adoption of the Federal
Constitution he was asked his opinion upon it. His answer shows his
confidence in Washington. “I am old and do not pretend to judge these
things now but one thing satisfies me it is all right–General
Washington is in favor of it and John Warden is opposed to it.” Warden
was opposed to our Independence.

Let the shining examples of Mr. Lee be reflected forcibly on our minds
and lead us to do all the good in our power whilst we live and prepare
for a peaceful and happy exit from the abysm of time.