The American Revolutionary War of Independence

John Adams concerning the Constitution and Christianity

John Adams concerning the Constitution and Christianity [Click to enlarge]

The American Revolution profoundly influenced the later development of the United States. To appreciate that influence and understand the relevance of the Revolution to our own times is a challenge to every citizen. To respond to the challenge is vital, for an understanding of the past is necessary to meet the problems of the future. It is not given to a single generation to acquire wisdom if it ignores those who came before. The men of the Revolution knew this. When they faced the revolutionary crisis, they sought guidance from the past, from the writings of Roman historians and philosophers and 17th-century Englishmen—Algemon Sidney, Sir Edward Coke, and, above all, John Locke.

John Locke Quote Concerning the Bible

John Locke Concerning the Bible

As the founders profited from history, so may we. Almost before the Revolution ended they began to write its history—to record the events and clarify the ideals for posterity. We are posterity. If we would attain to wisdom and to an understanding of our heritage, we must understand the American Revolution. For surely an awareness of the magnitude of the sacrifices and an appreciation of the timeless quality of the ideals that brought our country into being will strengthen us as a people.

Many paths lead toward historical understanding. If they are true paths, they enter into the reality, into the presence, into an intangible yet authentic feeling of historic events and the men who made them. Of all the approaches to history, perhaps none communicates the past more directly and universally than physical evidence. An authentic structure or historic object in its original location can convey a sense of history unmatched by books or pictures. To stand in Independence Hall is to become a part of what happened there. To visit Morristown or Valley Forge is to enter into the lives and hardships of the soldiers of the Continental Army.

Great historians have recognized the importance of historic sites and have used them to impart a special life and authenticity to their works. Francis Parkman, for example, writing in the 19th century about the epic Anglo-French struggle for the North American continent, sought out the places where it happened. He followed in the footsteps of the armies and absorbed a feeling of the battlefields. He timed his visits and site studies to coincide with the season of the year in which the events occurred. The warmth or chill of the air, the sounds and colors of the woods and landscape, even the shades of night that were relevant to the historic event he tried to capture. By making the physical environment of his subject a part of his experience he added a new dimension to his histories. In them is a quality, an expression of the drama and meaning of the events, that has seldom been duplicated.
John Milton Quote Concerning Truth & Christianity

John Milton Concerning Truth & Christianity [Click to enlarge]

Few have the imagination and genius of a Parkman, but nearly all of us respond to the great scenes of the past. Visiting them heightens our awareness. It is our good fortune that a substantial number of the places associated with the history of the American Revolution have been carefully preserved. The people of the United States, acting as individuals, in private groups, and through their local, State, or national government, have wisely set aside historic sites and buildings or erected memorials where the Americans of almost two centuries ago acted out the drama of the War for Independence. Because of the foresight of all those who have contributed to the preservation of American Revolution historic sites and battlefields, we may look forward to the opportunity during the Bicentennial to recall the events that brought us independence and freedom and to reflect on their modern relevance.

The American Revolution was more than a war—more than colonies declaring separation from the mother country. It was genuinely a people’s revolution, a painful conflict that took its toll in divided communities as well as on the field of battle. The force of its ideas carried to many lands, and America became a model for men seeking a better world. The end of the war did not diminish the impact of these ideas. As Tom Paine foresaw, “The cause of America is in great measure the cause of all mankind. . . . ‘Tis not the concern of a day, a year, or an age; posterity are virtually involved in the contest, and will be more or less affected even to the end of time by our proceedings now.�

Young men predominated among those who made and fought the American Revolution. Their ideas appeal to youth today. Their strength emanated from beliefs that still underlie American ways: that all men are by nature equal, that liberty is “inhered naturally in the people,� and that the power to govern is legitimate only when given by those over whom it is to be exercised. Consequently, it is in the tradition of America to question authority, to distrust it, and to give it constant scrutiny; to restrict the use of power over the lives of men; to grant status to men for their personal qualities rather than their lineage; and to raise institutions that express human aspirations rather than deny them.

Source: Report of the Secretary of the Interior to the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission:  Published by American Revolution Bicentennial Commission 1970

Foundations of America: The American Dream

OneNationUnderGod

Editors Note: Freedom cannot exist without morality, integrity and self-restraint. This is something the Founding Fathers were quite aware of. The less morality, integrity and self-restraint people have, the greater the need for laws to restrain the actions of men. The idea of self-governance the Founding Fathers promoted included the governing of your passions & desires, to restrain yourself from bad acts and choices. The Founding Fathers knew a people who could govern their own behavior would not need laws to restrain their freedoms! Moral decline in America is key to our loss of liberty!

How many who say “God bless America� realize they each have a duty to help obtain those blessings by living a righteous life? Not only did our ancestors ask for personal forgiveness at Thanksgiving along with their thanks. They also asked forgiveness for our National sins. A very good practice to follow!

I hear so many people in this present age speak of the American Dream as if, all it were, was to have a job, buy a house, and raise a family. For some it is to become famous, to be adored far and wide for some God given talent as if it were of their own making. To others it is to grow rich or have powers over others. All of these are far from the dreams of the Founding Fathers of America.

The American Dream was, and still is that, All Men are Created Equal. [Acts 10: 22-35 “God is no respecter of persons”]

This means that all men are able to live up to the potential provided them, by the Creator of all things, unencumbered by overlords, masters, oppressive and intrusive men in high places. America was not formed under a king! The ideal of America was, and is that all men are kings, in charge of their own destinies, and their destinies not to be determined by others, others who thought they knew more of what was good for the common people than the people themselves.

Think of it! All men are kings, all under the rule of the one just and true King, the King of Creation, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. [Revelation 19:16]

Before America was formed, the people who came here. had been taught for centuries the Divine Right of Kings, men’s destinies were determined by their birth, you were what your father was, nothing more and nothing less, and the Kings decree was the law. They were nations of men, ruled by men, instead of nations of laws, which all men were made to abide by. In America all men were to have an equal voice in their own governance.

Once the Bible was translated into languages that even the common people could read and understand, they grew to understand that indeed All men are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights. The Bible taught them there is only one true King and only one true God, God being the head and Father of Christ, Christ and only Christ being the head of man, no, not one man, but all men! [1 Corinthians 11:3] Consider how Revolutionary this must have seemed at the time. The British loyalists of the War of Independence: if not only because they had the kings favor and positions of wealth, they were loyal also because they feared God and believed in the divine right of kings, they would be heard to say “For God and King”.

The American colonial Patriots believed this phrase “For God and Country” the difference being their King was, and is Christ Jesus, not king George of Great Britain, or any other! According to their understanding it was impossible for them to have a king who was mere flesh and blood such as they themselves were, indeed! Christ being the head of man, King of Kings, Lord of Lords! How could they believe anything else, except that all men were created Kings and Lords over their own destinies, over their own lives, over their own lands, over their own happiness.

Their possessions could no longer be confiscated by the king or his underlings, no longer could they be taxed out of existence and sustenance, no longer could their lives be determined by their birth, instead of their self worth! No longer could the church [Ephesians 4:5] and state tell you how to live, where to live, how to serve God, what God expected of you individually, what your destiny would be, what your station and position in life would be! Indeed you could follow your own loves, determine your own destiny, [Philippians 2:12] have any station or position your God given talent and hard work could afford you, and above all, serve God as your conscience alone dictated!

Indeed this was and still is the True American Dream! Your destiny is not to support the state, but for the state to support your liberty to work out your own destiny, follow your own dreams, pursue your own happiness, and for the state to stay out of the affairs that pertain to God, Christ Jesus, and mans conscience alone, for all men in the era of the Founding Fathers….

All men were raised on the Bible, and their consciences formed early in life, this was the true secret of liberty in America, and why America was given so much, because they were taught to follow the precepts of Christ.

“We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.� ~ John Adams

Indeed! it was those precepts that ended slavery and segregation in America. No, America was not perfect at her birth, but then who ever is? What was and is perfect? The work that God performed through men of wisdom, who sat at the feet of King Jesus, who wrote the Foundation Documents that are our birthright and heritage… The Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.

The Declaration of Independence declared it to the world, the Constitution sealed it against the powers of men, and the Bill of Rights cemented it against the abuse of government! All men are created equal by one God, and under one King, who all men must answer to for the deeds or misdeeds they commit on others!

What a great and beautiful concept, Revolutionary then, as it still seems to be today, for we are still fighting for the same things in this present time, they fought in their time! Abusive people in positions of power who think they have the right to rule over us, who think we should be thanking them for whatever meager crumbs they let fall from their ivory towers of power!

So yes, we fight, and will continue to fight, to realize the dream, that once was, and still is, America!

In the records of the expedition under Frobisher, which settled the first English colony in America, there is this entry:

“On Monday morning, May twenty-seventh, 1578, aboard the Ayde, we received all, the communion by the minister of Gravesend, prepared as good Christians toward God, and resolute men for all fortunes; and toward night we departed toward Tilbury Hope. Here we highly prayed God, and altogether, upon our knees, gave him due humble and hearty thanks, and Maister Wolfall . . . made unto us a goodbye sermon, exhorting all especially to be thankful to God for his strange and marvelous deliverance in those dangerous places.”

God bless each and every one of you, God bless America and Liberty Forever under Christ Jesus, our Lord and King! America be thankful always for the many blessings God has given to America in all things.

 

Alexis de Tocqueville author was a Frenchman who visited the United States and traveled here  extensively in the early-mid 1800’s explained the importance of Christianity to America, Americans and to her political, private and civil institutions. He wrote of his experiences in 2 volumes Democracy in America. [Following is an excerpt]

NORTH AMERICA PEOPLED BY MEN WHO PROFESSED A DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN CHRISTIANITY.

EVERY religion is to be found in juxtaposition to a political opinion, which is connected with it by affinity. If the human mind be left to follow its own bent, it will regulate the temporal and spiritual institutions of society upon one uniform principle; and man will endeavour, if I may use the expression, to harmonize the state in which he lives upon earth, with the state he believes to await him in heaven.

The greatest part of British America was peopled by men who, after having shaken off the authority of the pope, acknowledged no other religious supremacy: they brought with them into the New World a form of Christianity, which I cannot better describe, than by styling it a democratic and republican religion. This sect contributed powerfully to the establishment of a democracy and a republic; and from the earliest settlement of the emigrants, politics and religion contracted an alliance which has never been dissolved…

I have just shown what the direct influence of religion upon politics is in the United States ; but its indirect influence appears to me to be still more considerable, and it never instructs the Americans more fully in the art of being free than when it says nothing of freedom.

The [Christian] sects which exist in the United States are innumerable. They all differ in respect to the worship which is due from man to his Creator; but they all agree in respect to the duties which are due from man to man. Each sect adores the Deity in its own peculiar manner; but all the sects preach the same moral law in the name of God. If it be of the slightest importance to man, as an individual, that his religion should be true, the case of society is not the same. Society has no future life to hope for or to fear; and provided the citizens profess a religion, the peculiar tenets of that religion are of very little importance to its interests. Moreover, almost all the sects of the United States are comprised within the great unity of Christianity, and Christian morality is everywhere the same.

It may be believed without unfairness, that a certain number of Americans pursue a peculiar form of worship, from habit more than from conviction. In the United States the sovereign authority is religious, and consequently hypocrisy must be common; but there is no country in the whole world in which the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of mm than in America; and there can be no greater proof of its utility, and of its conformity to human nature, than that its influence is most powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.

I have remarked that the members of the American clergy in general, without even excepting those who do not admit religious liberty, are all in favour of civil freedom; but they do not support any particular political system. They keep aloof from parties, and from public affairs. In the United States religion exercises but little influence upon the laws, and upon the details of public opinion; but it directs the manners of the community, and by regulating domestic life, it regulates the state.

I do not question that the great austerity of manners which is observable in the United States, arises, in the first instance, from religious faith. Religion is often unable to restrain man from the numberless temptations of fortune; nor can it check that passion for gain which every incident of his life contributes to arouse ; but its influence over the mind of woman is supreme, and women are the protectors of morals. There is certainly no country in the world where the tie of marriage is so much respected as in America, or where conjugal happiness is more highly or worthily appreciated. In Europe almost all the disturbances of society arise from the irregularities of domestic life. To despise the natural bonds and legitimate pleasures of home, is to contract a taste for excesses, a restlessness of heart, and the evil of fluctuating desires. Agitated by the tumultuous passions which frequently disturb his dwelling, the European is galled by the obedience which the legislative powers of the state exact. But when the American retires from the turmoil of public life to the bosom of his family, he finds in it the image of order and of peace. There his pleasures are simple and natural, his joys are innocent and calm; and as he finds that an orderly life is the surest path to happiness, he accustoms himself without difficulty to moderate his opinions as well as his tastes. While the European endeavours to forget his domestic troubles by agitating society, the American derives from his own home that love of order, which he afterward carries with him into public affairs.

In the United States the influence of religion is not confined to the manners, but it extends to the intelligence of the people. Among the Anglo-Americans, there are some who profess the doctrines of Christianity from a sincere belief in them, and others who do the same because they are afraid to be suspected of unbelief. Christianity, therefore, reigns without any obstacle, by universal consent; the consequence is, as I have before observed, that every principle of the moral world is fixed and determinate, although the political world is abandoned to the debates and the experiments of men. Thus the human mind is never left to wander across a boundless field; and, whatever may be its pretensions, 1t is checked from time to time by barriers which it cannot surmount. Before it can perpetrate innovation, certain primal and immutable principles are laid down, and the boldest conceptions of human de— vice are subjected to certain forms which retard and stop their completion.

The imagination of the Americans, even in its greatest flights, is circumspect and undecided; its impulses are checked, and its works unfinished. These habits of restraint recur in political society, and are singularly favourable both to the tranquillity of the people and to the durability of the institutions it has established. Nature and circumstances concurred to make the inhabitants of the United States bold men, as is sufficiently attested by the enterprising spirit with which they seek for fortune. If the minds of the Americans were free from all trammels, they would very shortly become the most daring innovators and the most implacable disputants in the world. But the revolutionists of America are obliged to profess an ostensible respect for Christian morality and equity, which does not easily permit them to violate the laws that oppose their designs; nor would they find it easy to surmount the scruples of their partisans, even if they were able to get over their own. Hitherto no one, in the United States, has dared to advance the maxim, that everything is permissible with a view to the interests of society; an impious adage, which seems to have been invented in an age of freedom, to shelter all the tyrants of future ages. Thus while the law permits the Americans to do what they please, religion prevents them from conceiving, and forbids them to commit, what is rash or unjust.

Religion in America takes no direct part in the government of society, but it must nevertheless be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of free institutions. Indeed, it is in this same point of view that the inhabitants of the United States themselves look upon religious belief. I do not know whether all the Americans have a sincere faith in their religion; for who can search the human heart; but I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or to a party, but it belongs to the whole nation, and to every rank of society.

In the United States, if a political character attacks a sect, this may not prevent even the partisans of that very sect, from supporting him; but if he attacks all the sects together, every one abandons him, and he remains alone.

While I was in America, a witness, who happened to be called at the assizes of the county of Chester (state of New York), declared that he did not believe in the existence of God or in the immortality of the soul. The judge refused to admit his evidence, on the ground that the witness had destroyed beforehand all the confidence of the court in what he was about to say)“ The newspapers related the fact without any farther comment.

The New York Spectator of August 23d, 1831, relates the fact in the following terms: The court of common pleas of Chester county (New York), a few days since rejected a witness who declared his disbelief in the existence of God. The presiding judge remarked, that he had not before been admire that there was a man living who did not believe in the existence of God; that this belief constituted the sanction of all testimony in a court of justice: and that he knew of no cause in a Christian country, where a witness had been permitted to testify without such belief.�

[The instance given by the author, of a person offered as a witness having been rejected on the ground that he did not believe in the. existence of a God seems to be adduced to prove either his assertion that the Americans hold religion to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions—or his assertion, that if a man attacks all the, sects together, every one abandons him and he remains alone. But it is questionable how far the fact quoted proves either of these positions. The rule which prescribes as a qualification for a witness the belief in a Supreme Being who will punish falsehood, without which’ he is. deemed wholly incompetent to testify, is established for the protection of personal rights, and not to compel the adoption of any system of religious belief. It came with all our fundamental principles from England as a part of the common law which the colonists brought with them. It is supposed to prevail in every country in Christendom, whatever may be the form of its government ; and the only doubt that arises respecting its existence in France, is created by our author’s apparent surprise at finding such a rule in America.]

The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other; and with them this conviction does not spring from that barren traditionary faith which seems to vegetate in the soul rather than to live.

I have known of societies formed by the Americans to send out ministers of the gospel into the new western states, to found schools and churches there, lest religion should he suffered to die away in those remote settlements, and the rising states be less fitted to enjoy free institutions than the people from which they emanated. I met with wealthy New Englanders who abandoned the country in which they were born, in order to lay the foundations of Christianity and of freedom on the banks of the Missouri or in the prairies of Illinois. Thus religious zeal is perpetually stimulated in the United States by the duties of patriotism. These men do not act from an exclusive consideration of the promises of a future life; eternity is only one motive of their devotion to the cause ; and if you converse with these missionaries of Christian civilization, you will be surprised to find how much value they set upon the goods of this world, and that you meet with a politician where you expected to find a priest. They will tell you that “all the American republics are collectively involved with each other; if the republics of the west were to fall into anarchy, or to be mastered by a despot, the republican institutions which now flourish upon the shores of the Atlantic ocean would be in great peril. It is therefore our interest that the new states should be religious, in order to maintain our liberties.”

Such are the opinions of the Americans: and if any hold that the religious spirit which I admire is the very thing most amiss in America, and that the only element wanting to the freedom and happiness of the human race is to believe in some blind cosmogony, or to assert with Cabanis the secretion of thought by the brain, I can only reply, that those who hold this language have never been in America, and that they have never seen a religious or a free nation. When they return from their expedition, we shall hear what they have to say.

There are persons in France who look upon republican institutions as a temporary means of power, of wealth and distinction; men who are the condottieri [warlords] of liberty, and who fight for their own advantage, whatever he the colours they wear: it is not to these that I address myself. But there are others who look forward to the republican form of government as a tranquil and lasting state, toward which modern society is daily impelled by the ideas and manners of the time, and who sincerely desire to prepare men to be free. When these men attack religious opinions, they obey the dictates of their passions to the prejudice of their interests. Despotism may govern without faith, but liberty cannot. Religion is much more necessary in the republic which they set forth in glowing colours, than in the monarchy which they attack; and it is more needed in democratic republics than in any others. How is it possible that society should escape destruction if the moral tie be not strengthened in proportion as the political tie is relaxed? and what can be done with a people which is its own master, if it be not submissive to the Divinity ’!

PRINCIPAL CAUSES WHICH RENDER RELIGION POWERFUL IN AMERICA.

Care taken by the Americans to separate the Church from the State.–The Laws, pub. lic Opinion, and even the Exertions of the Clergy concur to promote this end.—Influence of Religion upon the Mind, in the United States, attributable to this Cause. –Reason of this.—What is the natural State of Men with regard to Religion at the present Time.—What are the peculiar and incidental Causes which prevent Men, in certain Countries, from arriving at this State.

THE philosophers of the eighteenth century explained the gradual decay of religious faith in a very simple manner. Religious zeal, said they, must necessarily fail, the more generally liberty is established and knowledge diffused. Unfortunately, facts are by no means in accordance with their theory. There are certain populations in Europe whose unbelief is only equalled by their ignorance and their debasement, while in America one of the freest and most enlightened nations in the world fulfils all the outward duties of religion with fervour.

Upon my arrival in the United States, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention ; and the longer I stayed there, the more did I perceive the great political consequences resulting from this state of things, to which I was unaccustomed. In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom pursuing courses diametrically opposed to each other; but in America I found that they were intimately united, and that they reigned in common over the same country. My desire to discover the causes of this phenomenon increased from day to day. In order to satisfy it, I questioned the members of all the different sects; and I more especially sought the society of the clergy, who are the depositaries of the different persuasions, and who are more especially interested in their duration. As a member of the Roman catholic church I was more particularly brought into contact with several of its priests, with whom I became intimately acquainted. To each of these men I expressed my astonishment and I explained my doubts: I found that they differed upon matters of detail alone; and that they mainly attributed the peaceful dominion of religion in their country, to the separation of church and state. I do not hesitate to affirm that during my stay in America,l did not meet with a single individual, of the clergy or of the laity, who was not of the same opinion upon this point. .

This led me to examine more attentively than I had hitherto done, the station which the American clergy occupy in political society. I learned with surprise that they filled no public appointments; not one of them is to be met with in the administration, and they are not even represented in the legislative assemblies. In several states the law excludes them from political life; public opinion in all. And when I came to inquire into the prevailing spirit of the clergy, I found that most of its members seemed to retire of their own accord from the exercise of power, and that they made it the pride of their profession to abstain from politics.

I heard them inveigh against ambition and deceit, under whatever political opinions these vices might chance to lurk; but I learned from their discourses that men are not guilty in the eye of God for any opinions concerning political government, which they may profess with sincerity, any more than they are for their mistakes in building a house or in driving a furrow. I perceived that these ministers of the gospel eschewed all parties, with the anxiety attendant upon personal interest. These facts convinced me that what I had been told was true; and it then became my object to investigate their causes, and to inquire how it happened that the real authority of religion was increased by a state of things which diminished its apparent force: these causes did not long escape my researches.

The short space of threescore years can never content the imagination of man ; nor can the imperfect joys of this world satisfy his heart. Man alone, of all created beings, displays a natural contempt of existence, and yet a boundless desire to exist; he scorns life, but he dreads annihilation. These different feelings incessantly urge his soul to the contemplation of a future state, and religion directs his musings thither. Religion, then, is simply another form of hope; and it is no less natural to the human heart than hope itself. Men cannot abandon their religious faith without a kind of aberration of intellect, and a sort of violent distortion of their true natures; but they are invinciny brought back to more pious sentiments; for unbelief is an accident, and faith is the only permanent state of mankind. If we only consider religious institutions in a purely human point of view, they may be said to derive an inexhaustible element of strength from man himself, since they belong to one of the constituent principles of human nature.

I am aware that at certain times religion may strengthen this influence, which originates in itself, by the artificial power of the laws, and by the support of those temporal institutions which direct society. Religions, intimately united to the governments of the earth, have been known to exercise a sovereign authority derived from the twofold source of terror and of faith; but when a religion contracts an alliance of this nature, I do not hesitate to affirm that it commits the same error, as a man who should sacrifice his future to his present welfare; and in obtaining a power to which it has no claim, it risks that authority which is rightfully its own. When a religion founds its empire upon the desire of immortality which lives in every human heart, it may aspire to universal dominion: but when it connects itself with a government, it must necessarily adopt maxims which are only applicable to certain nations. Thus, in forming an alliance with a political power, religion augments its authority over a few, and forfeits the hope of reigning over all.

As long as a religion rests upon those sentiments which are the consolation of all affliction, it may attract the affections of mankind. But if it be mixed up with the bitter passions of the world, it may be constrained to defend allies whom its interests, and not the principles of love, have given to it ; or to repel as antagonists men who are still attached to its own spirit, however opposed they may be to the powers to which it is allied. The church cannot share the temporal power of the state, without being the object of a portion of that animosity which the latter excites.

The political powers which seem to be most firmly established have frequently no better guarantee for their duration, than the opinions of a generation, the interests of the time, or the life of an individual. A law may modify the social condition which seems to be most fixed and determinate; and with the social condition everything else must change. The powers of society are more or less fugitive, like the years which we spend upon the earth ; they succeed each other with rapidity like the fleeting cares of life; and no government has ever yet been founded upon an invariable disposition of the human heart, or upon an imperishable interest.

As long as religion is sustained by those feelings, propensities, and passions, which are found to occur under the same forms, at all the different periods of history, it may defy the efforts of time ; or at least it can only be destroyed by another religion. But when religion clings to the interests of the world, it becomes almost as fragile a thing as the powers of earth. It is the only one of them all which can hope for immortality; but if it be connected with their ephemeral authority, it shares their fortunes, and may fall with

those transient passions which supported them for a day. The alliance which religion contracts with political powers must needs be onerous to itself; since it does not require their assistance to live, and by giving them its assistance it may be exposed to decay.

The danger which I have just pointed out always exists, but it is not always equally visible. In some ages governments seem to be imperishable, in others the existence of society appears to be more precarious than the life of man. Some constitutions plunge the citizens into a lethargic somnolence, and others rouse them to feverish excitement. When government appears to be so strong, and laws so stable, men do not perceive the dangers which may accrue from a union of church and state. When governments display so much inconstancy, the danger is self-evident, but it is no longer possible to avoid it; to be effectual, measures must be taken to discover its approach.

In proportion as a nation assumes a democratic condition of society, and as communities display democratic propensities, it becomes more and more dangerous to connect religion with political institutions ; for the time is coming when authority will be bandied from hand to hand, when political theories will succeed each other, and when men, laws, and constitutions, will disappear or be modified from day to day, and this not for a season only, but unceasingly. Agitation and mutability are inherent in the nature of democratic republics, just as stagnation and inertness are the law of absolute monarchies.

If the Americans, who change the head of the government once in four years, who elect new legislators every two years, and renew the provincial officers every twelvemonth ; if the Americans, who have abandoned the political world, to the attempts of innovators, had not placed religion beyond their reach, where could it abide in the ebb and flow of human opinions? where would that respect which belongs to it be paid, amid the struggles of faction ‘? and what would become of its immortality in the midst of perpetual decay ’! The American clergy were the first to perceive this truth, and to act in conformity with it. They saw that they must renounce their religious influence, if they were to strive for political power; and they chose to give up the support of the state, rather than to share its vicissitudes.

In America, religion is perhaps less powerful than it has been at certain periods in the history of certain peoples ; but its influence is more lasting. It restricts itself to its own resources, but of those none can deprive it: its circle is limited to certain principles, but those principles are entirely its own, and under its undisputed control.

On every side in Europe we hear voices complaining of the absence of religious faith, and inquiring the means of restoring to religion some remnant of its pristine authority. It seems to me that We must first attentively consider what ought to be the natural state of men with regard to religion, at the present time ; and when we know what we have to hope and to fear, we may discern the end to which our efforts ought to be directed.

The two great dangers which threaten the existence of religions are schism and indifference. In ages of fervent devotion, men sometimes abandon their religion, but they only shake it off in order to adopt another. Their faith changes the objects to which it is directed, but it suffers no decline. The old religion, then, excites enthusiastic attachment or bitter enmity in either party ; some leave it with anger, others cling to it with increased devotedness, and although persuasions differ, irreligion is unknown. Such, however, is not the case when a religious belief is secretly undermined by doctrines which may be termed negative, since they deny the truth of one religion without affirming that of any other. Prodigious revolutions then take place in the human mind, without the apparent co-operation of the passions of man, and almost without his knowledge. Men lose the objects of their fondest hopes, as if through forgetfulness. They are carried away by an imperceptible current which they have not the courage to stem, but which they follow with regret, since it bears them from a faith they love, to a skepticism that plunges them into despair.

In ages which answer to this description, men desert their religious opinions from lukewarmness rather than from dislike ; they do not reject them, but the sentiments by which they were once fostered disappear. But if the unbeliever does not admit religion to be true, he still considers it useful. Regarding religious institutions in a human point of view, he acknowledges their influence upon manners and legislation. He admits that they may serve to make men live in peace with one another, and to prepare them gently for the hour of death. He regrets the faith which he has lost ; and as he is deprived of a treasure which he has learned to estimate at its full value, he scruples to take it from those who still possess it.

On the other hand, those who continue to believe, are not afraid openly to avow their faith. They look upon those who do not share their persuasion as more worthy of pity than of opposition; and they are aware, that to acquire the esteem of the unbelieving, they are not obliged to follow their example. They are hostile to no one in the world; and as they do not consider the society in which they live as an arena in which religion is bound to face its thousand deadly foes, they love their contemporaries, while they condemn their weaknesses, and lament their errors.

As those who do not believe, conceal their incredulity; and as those who believe, display their faith, public opinion pronounces itself in favour of religion: love, support, and honour, are bestowed upon it, and it is only by searching the human soul, that we can detect the wounds which it has received. The mass of mankind, who are never without the feeling of religion, do not perceive anything at variance with the established faith. The instinctive desire of a future life brings the crowd about the altar, and opens the hearts of men to the precepts and consolations of religion.

But this picture is not applicable to us; for there are men among us who have ceased to behave in Christianity, without adopting any other religion ; others who are in the perplexities of doubt, and who already affect not to believe; and others, again, who are afraid to avow that Christian faith which they still cherish in secret.

Amid these lukewarm partisans and ardent antagonists, a small number of believers exist, who are ready to brave all obstacles, and to scorn all dangers, in defence of their faith. They have done violence to human weakness, in order to rise superior to public opinion. Excited by the effort they have made, they scarcely know where to stop; and as they know that the first use which the French made of independence, was to attack religion, they look upon their contemporaries with dread, and they recoil in alarm from the liberty which their fellow-citizens are seeking to obtain. As unbelief appears to them to be a novelty, they comprise all that is new in one indiscriminate animosity. They are at war with their age and country, and they look upon every opinion which is put forth there as the necessary enemy of the faith.

Such is not the natural state of men with regard to religion at the present day; and some extraordinary or incidental cause must be at work in France, to prevent the human mind from following its original propensities, and to drive it beyond the limits at which it ought naturally to stop.

I am intimately convinced that this extraordinary and incidental cause is the close connexion of politics and religion. The unbelievers of Europe attack the Christians as their political opponents, rather than as their religious adversaries; they hate the Christian religion as the opinion of a party, much more than as an error of belief; and they reject the clergy less because they are the representatives of the Divinity, than because they are the allies of authority.

In Europe, Christianity has been intimately united to the powers of the earth. Those powers are now in decay, and it is, as it were, buried under their ruins. The living body of religion has been bound down to the dead c0rpse of superannuated polity; cut the bonds which restrain it, and that which is alive will rise once more. I know not what could restore the Christian church of Europe to the energy of its earlier days; that power belongs to God alone; but it may be the effect of human policy to leave the faith in all the full exercise of the strength which it still retains.

 

Sons of Liberty: The New York Tea Party Resolutions

Lady Liberty carrying Liberty Pole with Liberty Cap

Lady Liberty carrying Liberty Pole with Liberty Cap

It is often claimed that Massachusetts and Virginia originated the scheme of Revolutionary Committees of Correspondence, but the fact is that the General Assembly of New York on the 18th of October, 1764, appointed a Committee of Correspondence, of which Robert R. Livingston was the chairman. This was the earliest movement of the kind in America, anticipating the action of Massachusetts by six years and that of Virginia by nine. It is also true that the New York committee was more active and less timid than that of Massachusetts.

The organization known as the Sons of Liberty originated in New York and spread to nearly all the other colonies. It was made up of men who gave their time, their means, and their energies to the cause of liberty. Their sufferings and sacrifices were great, and many of them gave up their lives for their country. They were foremost in every struggle, shrank from no danger, and suffered many privations without complaint. They acted as a unit and made their influence widely felt. The two leading members of this organization were John Lamb of New York City, and William Bradford of Philadelphia. Another prominent member was Hugh Gaines of New York, who wrote largely for the patriot press, and was active on committees and as member of various organizations. He served in the army with distinction and at the close of the war became a prominent member of the Society of the Cincinnati. It was one of the New York Sons of Liberty, who, so far as is known, was the first to distinctly point to independence in any written document. It was John Morin Scott who in May, 1765, said, “If the welfare of the mother country necessarily requires a sacrifice of the most natural rights of the colonies—their right of making their own laws, and disposing of their own property by representatives of their own choosing—if such is really the case between Great Britain and her colonies, then the connection between them ought to cease and sooner or later it must inevitably cease.”

Events were shaping themselves for the final outbreak in 1769, as will be seen by the following extracts from a circular headed “To the Betrayed Inhabitants of the City and Colony of New York,” and signed “A Son of Liberty,” in possession of the New York Historical Society: “My Dear Fellow-Citizens and Countrymen:

“In a Day when the Minions of Tyranny and Despotism in the Mother Country, and the Colonies, are indefatigable in laying every Snare that their malevolent and corrupt Hearts can suggest, to enslave a free people; when this unfortunate Country has been striving under many Disadvantages for three Years past, to preserve their Freedom; . . . when the Merchants of this City and the Capital towns on the Continent, have nobly and cheerfully sacrificed their private Interests to the publick Good, rather than to promote the Designs of the Enemies of our happy Constitution; it might justly be expected, that in this day of Constitutional Light, the Representatives of this Colony, would not be so hardy, nor so lost to all sense of Duty to their Constituents . . . as to betray the Trust committed to them [in passing the vote to give the troops £1,000 out of the Treasury and £1,000 out of the money to be put out on loan, and which the colony would be obliged to make good]. And that they have betrayed the Liberties of the People. . . . And what makes the Assembly’s granting this Money the more grievous, is, that it goes to the Support of the Troops kept here, not to protect, but to enslave us. . . . Is this a State to be rested in when our all is at Stake? No, my Countrymen, Rouse! imitate the noble Example of the Friends of Liberty in England, who rather than be enslaved contend for their right with the K—g, Lords and Commons. And will you suffer your Liberties to be torn from you by your own Representatives? Tell it not in Boston; publish it not in the Streets of Charleston! . . . Assemble in the Fields on Monday next, where your sense ought to be taken on this important Point.”

After the meeting of the following day, which disapproved the action of the Assembly, another handbill, signed “Legion,” appeared, which “caused the Assembly much annoyance, was declared libelous, and a reward of £150 was offered for the discovery of the writer.” Through information given by James Parker, a printer, in whose office the printing was done, and who was threatened with the loss of his place as Secretary of the Postoffice if he did not give the name of the writer, Alexander Macdougal was arrested and imprisoned. New York honors him by naming a street for him, and the historian names him as the first martyr to the cause of liberty. Here is an extract from a letter sent to London from New York on January 22, 1770, which tells of the troublous times in the city:

“We are all in Confusion in this City; the Soldiers have cut and blowed up Liberty Pole, and have caused much Trouble between the Inhabitants. On Friday last between Burling Slip and the Fly Market, was an Engagement between the Inhabitants and the Soldiers, when much Blood was spilt. One Sailor got run through the Body, who since Died. One man got his Skull cut in the most Cruel Manner. On Saturday the Hall Bell rang for an Alarm, when was another Battle between the Inhabitants and Soldiers; but the Soldiers met with Rubbers, the Chiefest part being Sailors and Clubs to revenge the Death of their Brother, which they did with Courage and made them all run to their Barracks. What will be the end of this God knows!”

The trouble referred to in this letter culminated in the two days’ battle of Golden Hill, which has been glorified and perpetuated in history.

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Liberty Pole

[A Liberty pole is a tall wooden pole, often used as a type of flagstaff, planted in the ground, which may be surmounted by an ensign or a liberty cap.]

Battle of Golden Hill

Golden Hill was on John Street, near William, and was so called because of the effect produced by the ripening of the wheat grown there. The stamp act greatly aroused the Sons of Liberty in New York. They erected a liberty pole on the common near Golden Hill, and it was a rallying point for the patriots, their headquarters being near by. The pole was cut down by the British soldiers, and replaced by the Sons of Liberty. Twice after this the pole was cut down by the soldiers and erected again by the Sons of Liberty. The fourth pole was fastened with iron braces and protected by filling it with nails, but on the 16th of January the soldiers destroyed this, cut it in pieces, and piled them before the door of La Montayne’s Tavern. This led to the collision between the Sons of Liberty and the British that is spoken of as the Battle of Golden Hill. One citizen was killed, three severely wounded, and a considerable number injured. Many of the soldiers were badly beaten.

The New York Tea Party.

The Liberty Boys were not to be balked by the action of Mayor Hicks and the Common Council on January 30, 1770, in refusing them a site on which to erect a fifth Liberty Pole; nor were they at a loss to find a house in which to meet when the owner of the property which they had previously used as a headquarters was won over to the opposition. To meet the first emergency, they purchased a piece of ground near where the fourth pole stood, and erected thereon what was destined to be the last rallying point previous to the Revolution. To meet the second emergency they purchased a house on what is now the corner of Broadway and Ann street, and christened it Hampden Hall. They consecrated it to the cause of liberty, and on March 19, 1770, celebrated the anniversary of the colony’s triumph over the exactions of the mother country.

Lord Dunmore superseded Colden as Governor on October 25, 1770. His instructions from the home government to the colonists, or rather their representatives, were similar to those of his predecessors—”to continue in well-doing and not to forget to make due appropriations for the troops quartered among them.” During his reign the case of Macdougal was tried, George Clinton, future Governor of New York and Vice-President of the United States, defending him. Later he was released through the influence of friends.

On July 8, 1771, William Tryon was appointed Governor, Lord Dunmore having been transferred to Virginia. This new Governor was voted an income of £2,000 by the complacent Assembly, but refused it, saying he was forbidden to receive any gifts from the Assembly—a new scheme by the home government for securing the submission of the colonies, as the salary of the Governor was to be paid from his majesty’s treasury, and the treasury to be supplied from the colonial taxes.

For the next two years—1772 and 1773—complete stagnation prevailed in New York. Few records of public improvements are to be found, commerce was only partially resumed, and the use of tea by the inhabitants was obsolete. The people thought only of resistance and awaited the day of deliverance from oppression. Only one street—Warren—was laid out and regulated in 1771, and an “iron railing made round the Bowling Green for £800.”- Murray street was regulated the following year.

Much has been written of the Boston Tea Party. New York also had a Tea Party in 1773. In order to entrap the colonists and unguardedly gain their assent to the principle of Parliamentary taxation, the home Ministry passed a law permitting the East India Company to export tea to the colonies free of the duty which before had been paid in England, but retaining the duty which was paid in America. This, of course, reduced the price of tea to the colonists. The bill was declared obnoxious, and measures were decided on to prevent the landing of the large shipments ordered to America. England was alarmed, especially as her Tea Commissions in New York had resigned their commissions. Strong resolutions were passed on November 27, 1773, by the Sons of Liberty condemnatory of the Revenue Act relating to tea, and pledging fealty to one another in the maintaining of a strict quarantine against its introduction in the colony: “Resolved, That, whether the duties imposed by this act be paid in Great Britain or in America, our liberties are equally affected.”

Here is the first record of a boycott;

“Resolved, That whoever shall aid and abet, or in any manner assist in the introduction of tea from any place whatsoever into this colony, while it is subject by a British Parliament to the payment of a duty for the purpose of raising a revenue in America, shall be deemed an enemy to the liberties of America.”

“Resolved, That whoever shall be aiding or assisting in the landing or carting of such tea from any ship or vessel, or shall hire any house, storehouse, or cellar, or any place whatsoever to deposit the tea, subject to such duty, as aforesaid, shall be deemed an enemy to the liberties of America.”

“Resolved, That whoever shall sell or buy, or in any manner contribute to the purchase of tea subject to duty, as aforesaid, or shall aid or abet in transporting such tea by land or water from the city until the 7th, Geo. Ill, Chapter 46, commonly called the Revenue Act, shall be totally and clearly repealed, shall be deemed an enemy to the liberties of America.”

“Resolved, That whether the duties imposed by this act be paid in Great Britain or in America, our liberties are equally affected.”

“Resolved, That whoever shall transgress any of these resolutions, we will not deal with or employ, or have any connection with him.”

On the 16th of December, 1773, the very day of the Boston Tea Party, the New York Sons of Liberty met in the City Hall and unanimously resolved that no tea should be allowed to be landed on any pretext whatever.

The first tea ship to reach Sandy Hook was the Nancy, commanded by Captain Lockyer. It arrived the 18th of April, 1774. On the advice of the pilot, Captain Lockyer decided to go to the city before attempting to land his cargo. He consulted with the Vigilance Committee and became satisfied that it would not be possible for him to land his tea, and he made no attempt to do so. While he was in the city Captain Chambers of the ship London arrived having on board eighteen chests of tea. He declared that he had no tea on board, but the Sons of Liberty made a search and found it, when he declared that it was a private venture and brought without knowledge of the East India Company. This did not satisfy the patriots and the tea was thrown into the harbor. He took the advice of the authorities and left with Lockyer. As the two captains left the people crowded the wharf, hurrahed, fired cannon, and hoisted a flag on the liberty pole as tokens of triumph. The people of New York were not less active, vigilant, or energetic, nor did they stand less firmly for principle than did their brethren at Boston, yet little has been said or written about their part in resisting the tax on tea.

Sources & References:
The Journal of the New York State Teachers Association, Volumes 3-4
Cradle days of New York: (1609-1825) By Hugh Entwistle McAtamney
Proceedings of the New York State Historical Association…Volume 15
The Military and Naval Magazine of the United States, Volume 5

KENTUCKY RESOLUTIONS by Thomas Jefferson 1798

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Resolutions of Kentucky, written by Thomas Jefferson 1798

1. Resolved, That the several States composing the United States of America, are not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their General [Federal] Government; but that, by a compact under the style and title of a Constitution for the United States, and of Amendments thereto, they constituted a General Government for special purposes,—delegated to that government certain definite powers, reserving, each State to itself, the residuary mass of right to their own self-government; and that whensoever the General Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force: that to this compact each State acceded as a State, and is an integral party, its co-States forming, as to itself, the other party: that the Government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers: but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress.

2. Resolved, That the Constitution of the United States, having delegated to Congress a power to punish treason, counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States, piracies, and felonies committed on the high seas, and offences against the law of nations, and no other crimes whatsoever: and it being true as a general principle, and one of the amendments to the Constitution having also declared, that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”, therefore the act of Congress, passed on the 14th day of July, 1798, and intituled “An Act in addition to the act intituled ‘An Act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States ‘ “, as also the act passed by them on the day of June, 1789, intituled ” An Act to punish frauds committed on the Bank of the United States” (and all their other acts which assume to create, define, or punish crimes, other than those so enumerated in the Constitution), are altogether void, and of no force: and that the power to create, define, and punish such other crimes is reserved, and, of right, appertains solely and exclusively to the respective States, each within its own territory.

3. Resolved, That it is true as a general principle, and is also expressly declared by one of the amendments to the Constitution, that ” the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people “; and that no power over the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, or freedom of the press being delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, all lawful powers respecting the same did of right remain, and were reserved to the States or the people; that thus was manifested their determination to retain to themselves the right of judging how far the licentiousness of speech and of the press may be abridged without lessening their useful freedom, and how far those abuses which cannot be separated from their use should be tolerated, rather than the use be destroyed. And thus also they guarded against all abridgment by the United States of the freedom of religious opinions and exercises, and retained to themselves the right of protecting the same, as this State, by a law passed on the general demand of its citizens, had already protected them from all human restraint or interference. And that in addition to this general principle and express declaration, another and more special provision has been made by one of the amendments to the Constitution, which expressly declares, that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press “; thereby guarding in the same sentence, and under the same words, the freedom of religion, of speech, and of the press: insomuch, that whatever violated either, throws down the sanctuary which covers the others, and that libels, falsehoods, and defamation, equally with heresy and false religion, are withheld from the cognizance of Federal tribunals. That, therefore, the act of Congress of the United States, passed on the 14th day of July, 1798, intituled “An Act in addition to the act intituled ‘ An Act for the punishment of certain crimes against the United States'” which does abridge the freedom of the press, is not law, but is altogether void, and of no force.

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4. Resolved, That alien friends are under the jurisdiction and protection of the laws of the State wherein they are; that no power over them has been delegated to the United States, nor prohibited to the individual States, distinct from their power over citizens. And it being true as a general principle, and one of the amendments to the Constitution having also declared, that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people “, the act of the Congress of the

United States, passed on the day of July, 1798, intituled “An Act concerning aliens”, which assumes powers over alien friends, not delegated by the Constitution, is not law, but is altogether void, and of no force.

5. Resolved, That in addition to the general principle, as well as the express declaration, that powers not delegated are reserved, another and more special provision, inserted in the Constitution from abundant caution, has declared that “the migration or importation of such persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year 1808″: that this Commonwealth does admit the migration of alien friends, described as the subject of the said act concerning aliens: that a provision against prohibiting their migration, is a provision against all acts equivalent thereto, or it would be nugatory: that to remove them when migrated, is equivalent to a prohibition of their migration, and is, therefore, contrary to the said provision of the Constitution, and void.

6. Resolved, That the imprisonment of a person under the laws of this Commonwealth, on his failure to obey the simple order of the President to depart out of the United States, as is undertaken by said act intituled “An Act concerning aliens” is contrary to the Constitution, one amendment to which has provided that “no person shall be deprived of liberty without due process of law “: and that another having provided that “in all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to public trial by an impartial jury, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to be confronted with the witnesses against him, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence “, the same act, undertaking to authorize the President to remove a person out of the United States, who is under the protection of the law, on his own suspicion, without accusation without jury, without public trial, without confrontation of the witnesses against him, without hearing witnesses in his favor, without defence, without counsel, is contrary to the provision also of the Constitution, is therefore not law, but utterly void, and of no force: that transferring the power of judging any person, who is under the protection of the laws, from the courts to tie ‘resident of the United States, as is undertaken by the same act concerning aliens, is against the article of the Constitution which provides that ” the judicial power of the United States shall be vested in courts, the judges of which shall hold their offices during good behavior “; and that the said act is void for that reason also. And it is further to be noted, that this transfer of judiciary power is to that magistrate of the General Government who already possesses all the Executive and a negative on all Legislative powers.

7. Resolved, That the construction applied by the General Government (as is evidenced by sundry of their proceedings) to those parts of the Constitution of the United States which delegate to Congress a power “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States”, and “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the powers vested by the Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof”, goes to the destruction of all limits prescribed to their power by the Constitution: that words meant by the instrument to be subsidiary only to the execution of limited powers, ought not to be so construed as themselves to give unlimited powers, nor a part to be so taken as to destroy the whole residue of that instrument: that the proceedings of the General Government under color of these articles, will be a fit and necessary subject of revisal and correction, at a time of greater tranquillity, while those specified in the preceding resolution call for immediate redress.

8. Resolved, That a committee of conference and correspondence be appointed, who shall have in charge to communicate the preceding resolutions to the Legislatures of the several States: to assure them that this Commonwealth continues in the same esteem of their friendship and union which it has manifested from that moment at which a common danger first suggested a common union: that it considers union, for specified national purposes, and particularly to those specified in their late Federal compact, to be friendly to the peace, happiness and prosperity of all the States: that faithful to that compact, according to the plain intent and meaning in which it was understood and acceded to by the several parties, it is sincerely anxious for its preservation: that it does also believe, that to take from the States all the powers of self-government and transfer them to a general and consolidated government, without regard to the special delegations and reservations solemnly agreed to in that compact, is not for the peace, happiness or prosperity of these States; and that, therefore, this Commonwealth is determined, as it doubts not its co-States are, to submit to undelegated, and consequently unlimited powers in no man, or body of men on earth: that in cases of an abuse of the delegated powers, the members of the General Government, being chosen by the people, a change by the people would be the constitutional remedy; but, where powers are assumed which have not been delegated, a nullification of the act is the rightful remedy; that every State has a natural right in cases not within the compact (casus non foederis), to nullify of their own authority all assumptions of power by others within their limits: that without this right, they would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgment for them: that nevertheless, this Commonwealth, from motives of regard and respect for its co-States, has wished to communicate with them on the subject: that with them alone it is proper to communicate, they alone being parties to the compact, and solely authorized to judge in the last resort of the powers exercised under it, Congress being not a party, but merely the creature of the compact, and subject as to its assumptions of power to the final judgment of those by whom, and for whose use itself and its powers were all created and modified: that if the acts before specified should stand, these conclusions would flow from them; that the General Government may place any act they think proper on the list of crimes, and punish it themselves whether enumerated or not enumerated by the Constitution as cognizable by them; that they may transfer its cognizance to the President, or any other person, who may himself be the accuser, counsel, judge, and jury, whose suspicions may be the evidence, his order the sentence, his officer the executioner, and his breast the sole record of the transaction: that a very numerous and valuable description of the inhabitants of these States being, by this precedent, reduced, as outlaws, to the absolute dominion of one man. and the barrier of the Constitution thus swept away from us all, no rampart now remains against the passions and the powers of a majority in Congress to protect from a like exportation, or other more grievous punishment, the minority of the same body, the legislatures, judges, governors, and councillors of the States, nor their other peaceable inhabitants, who may venture to reclaim the constitutional rights and liberties of the States and people, or who for other causes, good or bad. may be obnoxious to the views, or marked by the suspicions of the President, or be thought dangerous to his or their election, or other interests, public or personal: that the friendless alien has indeed been selected as the safest subject of a first experiment; but the citizen will soon follow, or rather, has already followed, for already has a Sedition Act marked him as its prey;that these and successive acts of the same character, unless arrested at the threshold, necessarily drive these States into revolution and blood, and will furnish new calumnies against republican government, and new pretexts for those who wish it to be believed that man cannot be governed but by a rod of iron; that it would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety of our rights: that confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism—free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence: it is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power: that our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go; and let the honest advocate of confidence read the Alien and Sedition Acts, and say if the Constitution has not been wise in fixing limits to the government it created, and whether we should be wise in destroying those limits. Let him say what the government is, if it be not a tyranny, which the men of our choice have conferred on our President and President of our choice has assented to, and accepted over the friendly strangers to whom the mild spirit of our country and its laws have pledged hospitality and protection: that the men of our choice have more respected the bare suspicions of the President, than the solid right of innocence, the claims of justification, the sacred force of truth, and the forms and substance of law and justice. In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution. That this Commonwealth does, therefore, call on its co-States for an expression of their sentiments on the acts concerning aliens, and for the punishment of certain crimes herein before specified, plainly declaring whether these acts are or are not authorized by the Federal compact. And it doubts not that their sense will be so announced as to prove their attachment unaltered to limited government, whether general or particular. And that the rights and liberties of their co-States will be exposed to no dangers by remaining embarked in a common bottom with their own. That they will concur with this Commonwealth in considering the said acts as so palpably against the Constitution as to amount to an undisguised declaration that that compact is not meant to be the measure of the powers of the General Government, but that it will proceed in the exercise over these States, of all powers whatsoever: that they will view this as seizing the rights of the States, and consolidating them in the hands of the General Government, with a power assumed to bind the States (not merely in the cases made Federal (casus faderis) but) in all cases whatsoever, by laws made, not with their consent, but by others against their consent; that this would be to surrender the form of government we have chosen, and live under one deriving its powers from its own will, and not from our authority; and that the co-States, recurring to their natural right in cases not made Federal, will concur in declaring these acts void, and of no force, and will each take measures of its own for providing that neither these acts, nor any others of the General Government not plainly and intentionally authorized by the Constitution, shall be exercised within their respective territories.

9. Resolved, That the said committee be authorized to communicate by writing or personal conferences, at any times or places whatever, with any person or persons who may be appointed by any one or more co-States to correspond or confer with them; and that they lay their proceeding before the next session of Assembly.—Writings of Jefferson; Paul Ford Ed., vii, 289. (1798.)

A SUMMARY VIEW OF THE RIGHTS OF BRITISH AMERICA by Thomas Jefferson 1774

ThomasJeffersonQuoteAristocracy

On the instructions given to the first delegation of Virginia to Congress, in August, 1774.

The Legislature of Virginia happened to be in session, in Williamsburg, when news was received of the passage, by the British Parliament, of the Boston Port Bill, which was to take effect on the first day of June then ensuing. The House of Burgesses, thereupon, passed a resolution, recommending to their fellow-citizens, that that day should be set apart for fasting and prayer to the Supreme Being, imploring him to avert the calamities then threatening us, and to give us one heart and one mind to oppose every invasion of our liberties. The next day, May the 20th, 1774, the Governor dissolved us. We immediately repaired to a room in the Raleigh tavern, about one hundred paces distant from the Capitol, formed ourselves into a meeting, Peyton Randolph in the chair, and came to resolutions, declaring, that an attack on one colony, to enforce arbitrary acts, ought to be considered as an attack on all, and to be opposed by the united wisdom of all. We, therefore, appointed a Committee of correspondence, to address letters to the Speakers of the several Houses of Representatives of the colonies, proposing the appointment of deputies from each, to meet annually in a General Congress, to deliberate on their common interests, and on the measures to be pursued in common. The members then separated to their several homes, except those of the Committee, who met the next day, prepared letters according to instructions, and despatched them by messengers express, to their several destinations. It had been agreed, also, by the meeting, that the Burgesses, who should be elected under the writs then issuing, should be requested to meet in Convention, on a certain day in August, to learn the results of these letters, and to appoint delegates to a Congress, should that measure be approved by the other colonies. At the election, the people reelected every man of the former Assembly, as a proof of their approbation of what they had done. Before I left home, to attend the Convention, I prepared what I thought might be given, in instruction, to the Delegates who should be appointed to attend the General Congress proposed. They were drawn in haste, with a number of blanks, with some uncertainties and inaccuracies of historical facts, which I neglected at the moment, knowing they could be readily corrected at the meeting. I set out on my journey, but was taken sick on the road, and was unable to proceed. I therefore sent on, by express, two copies, one under cover to Patrick Henry, the other to Peyton Randolph, who I knew would be in the chair of the Convention. Of the former, no more was ever heard or known. Mr. Henry probably thought it too bold, as a first measure, as the majority of the members did. On the other copy being laid on the table of the Convention, by Peyton Randolph, as the proposition of a member, who was prevented from attendance by sickness on the road, tamer sentiments were preferred, and, 1 believe, wisely preferred: the leap I proposed being too long, as yet, for the mass of our citizens. The distance between these, and the instructions actually adopted, is of some curiosity, however, as it shews the inequality of pace with which we moved, and the prudence required to keep front and rear together. My creed had been formed on unsheathing the sword at Lexington. They printed the paper, however, and gave it the title of ‘ A summary view of the rights of British America.’ In this form it got to London, where the opposition took it up, shaped it to opposition views, and, in that form, it ran rapidly through several editions.

Mr. Marshall, in his history of General Washington, chapter 3, speaking of this proposition for Committees of correspondence and for a General Congress, says, ‘ this measure had already been proposed in town meeting, in Boston,’ and some pages before, he had said, that’ at a session of the General Court of Massachusetts, in September, 1770, that Court, in pursuance of a favorite idea of uniting all the colonies in one system of measures, elected a Committee of correspondence, to communicate with such Committees as might be appointed by the other colonies.’ This is an error. The Committees of correspondence, elected by Massachusetts, were expressly for a correspondence among the several towns of that province only. Besides the text of their proceedings, his own note X, proves this. The first proposition for a general correspondence between the several states, and for a General Congress, was made by our meeting of May, 1774. Botta, copying Marshall, has repeated his error, and so it will be handed on from copyist to copyist, ad infinitum. Here follows my proposition, and the more prudent one which was adopted.

A SUMMARY VIEW OF THE RIGHTS OF BRITISH AMERICA

by Thomas Jefferson;

Editor Descriptive Notes in [Brackets and Italics]

“It is the indispensable duty of the supreme magistrate to consider himself as acting for the whole community, and obliged to support its dignity, and assign to the people, with justice, their various rights, as he would be faithful to the great trust reposed in him.� ~ Cicero

Resolved, that it be an instruction to the said deputies, when assembled in general congress with the deputies from the other states of British America, to propose to the said congress that an humble and dutiful address be presented to his majesty, begging leave to lay before him, as chief magistrate of the British empire, the united complaints of his majesty’s subjects in America; complaints which are excited by many unwarrantable encroachments and usurpations, attempted to be made by the legislature of one part of the empire, upon those rights which God and the laws have given equally and independently to all. To represent to his majesty that these his states have often individually made humble application to his imperial throne to obtain, through its intervention, some redress of their injured rights, to none of which was ever even an answer condescended; humbly to hope that this their joint address, penned in the language of truth, and divested of those expressions of servility which would persuade his majesty that we are asking favours, and not rights, shall obtain from his majesty a more respectful acceptance. And this his majesty will think we have reason to expect when he reflects that he is no more than the chief officer of the people, appointed by the laws, and circumscribed with definite powers, to assist in working the great machine of government, erected for their use, and consequently subject to their superintendance. And in order that these our rights, as well as the invasions of them, may be laid more fully before his majesty, to take a view of them from the origin and first settlement of these countries.

To remind him that our ancestors, before their emigration to America, were the free inhabitants of the British dominions in Europe, and possessed a right which nature has given to all men, of departing from the country in which chance, not choice, has placed them, of going in quest of new habitations, and of there establishing new societies, under such laws and regulations as to them shall seem most likely to promote public happiness. That their Saxon ancestors had, under this universal law, in like manner left their native wilds and woods in the north of Europe, had possessed themselves of the island of Britain, then less charged with inhabitants, and had established there that system of laws which has so long been the glory and protection of that country. Nor was ever any claim of superiority or dependence asserted over them by that mother country from which they had migrated; and were such a claim made, it is believed that his majesty’s subjects in Great Britain have too firm a feeling of the rights derived to them from their ancestors, to bow down the sovereignty of their state before such visionary pretensions. And it is thought that no circumstance has occurred to distinguish materially the British from the Saxon emigration. America was conquered, and her settlements made, and firmly established, at the expence of individuals, and not of the British public. Their own blood was spilt in acquiring lands for their settlement, their own fortunes expended in making that settlement effectual; for themselves they fought, for themselves they conquered, and for themselves alone they have right to hold. Not a shilling was ever issued from the public treasures of his majesty, or his ancestors, for their assistance, till of very late times, after the colonies had become established on a firm and permanent footing. That then, indeed, having become valuable to Great Britain for her commercial purposes, his parliament was pleased to lend them assistance against an enemy, who would fain have drawn to herself the benefits of their commerce, to the great aggrandizement of herself, and danger of Great Britain. Such assistance, and in such circumstances, they had often before given to Portugal, and other allied states, with whom they carry on a commercial intercourse; yet these states never supposed, that by calling in her aid, they thereby submitted themselves to her sovereignty. Had such terms been proposed, they would have rejected them with disdain, and trusted for better to the moderation of their enemies, or to a vigorous exertion of their own force. We do not, however, mean to under-rate those aids, which to us were doubtless valuable, on whatever principles granted; but we would shew [show] that they cannot give a title to that authority which the British parliament would arrogate over us, and that they may amply be repaid by our giving to the inhabitants of Great Britain such exclusive privileges in trade as may be advantageous to them, and at the same time not too restrictive to ourselves. That settlements having been thus effected in the wilds of America, the emigrants thought proper to adopt that system of laws under which they had hitherto lived in the mother country, and to continue their union with her by submitting themselves to the same common sovereign, who was thereby made the central link connecting the several parts of the empire thus newly multiplied.

But that not long were they permitted, however far they thought themselves removed from the hand of oppression, to hold undisturbed the rights thus acquired, at the hazard of their lives, and loss of their fortunes. A family of princes was then on the British throne, whose treasonable crimes against their people brought on them afterwards the exertion of those sacred and sovereign rights of punishment reserved in the hands of the people for cases of extreme necessity, and judged by the constitution unsafe to be delegated to any other judicature. While every day brought forth some new and unjustifiable exertion of power over their subjects on that side the water, it was not to be expected that those here, much less able at that time to oppose the designs of despotism, should be exempted from injury.

Accordingly that country, which had been acquired by the lives, the labours, and the fortunes, of individual adventurers, was by these princes, at several times, parted out and distributed among the favourites and followers of their fortunes,(See Footnote 1) and, by an assumed right of the crown alone, were erected into distinct and independent governments; a measure which it is believed his majesty’s prudence and understanding would prevent him from imitating at this day, as no exercise of such a power, of dividing and dismembering a country, has ever occurred in his majesty’s realm of England, though now of very antient [ancient] standing; nor could it be justified or acquiesced under there, or in any other part of his majesty’s empire.

That the exercise of a free trade with all parts of the world, possessed by the American colonists, as of natural right, and which no law of their own had taken away or abridged, was next the object of unjust encroachment. Some of the colonies having thought proper to continue the administration of their government in the name and under the authority of his majesty king Charles the first, whom, notwithstanding his late deposition by the commonwealth of England, they continued in the sovereignty of their state; the parliament for the commonwealth took the same in high offence, and assumed upon themselves the power of prohibiting their trade with all other parts of the world, except the island of Great Britain. This arbitrary act, however, they soon recalled, and by solemn treaty, entered into on the 12th day of March, 1651, between the said commonwealth by their commissioners, and the colony of Virginia by their house of burgesses, it was expressly stipulated, by the 8th article of the said treaty, that they should have “free trade as the people of England do enjoy to all places and with all nations, according to the laws of that commonwealth.” But that, upon the restoration of his majesty king Charles the second, their rights of free commerce fell once more a victim to arbitrary power; and by several acts of his reign, as well as of some of his successors, the trade of the colonies was laid under such restrictions, as shew what hopes they might form from the justice of a British parliament, were its uncontrouled power admitted over these states. History has informed us that bodies of men, as well as individuals, are susceptible of the spirit of tyranny. A view of these acts of parliament for regulation, as it has been affectedly called, of the American trade, if all other evidence were removed out of the case, would undeniably evince the truth of this observation. Besides the duties they impose on our articles of export and import, they prohibit our going to any markets northward of Cape Finesterre, in the kingdom of Spain, for the sale of commodities which Great Britain will not take from us, and for the purchase of others, with which she cannot supply us, and that for no other than the arbitrary purposes of purchasing for themselves, by a sacrifice of our rights and interests, certain privileges in their commerce with an allied state, who in confidence that their exclusive trade with America will be continued, while the principles and power of the British parliament be the same, have indulged themselves in every exorbitance which their avarice could dictate, or our necessities extort; have raised their commodities, called for in America, to the double and treble of what they sold for before such exclusive privileges were given them, and of what better commodities of the same kind would cost us elsewhere, and at the same time give us much less for what we carry thither than might be had at more convenient ports. That these acts prohibit us from carrying in quest of other purchasers the surplus of our tobaccoes remaining after the consumption of Great Britain is supplied; so that we must leave them with the British merchant for whatever he will please to allow us, to be by him reshipped to foreign markets, where he will reap the benefits of making sale of them for full value. That to heighten still the idea of parliamentary justice, and to shew with what moderation they are like to exercise power, where themselves are to feel no part of its weight, we take leave to mention to his majesty certain other acts of British parliament, by which they would prohibit us from manufacturing for our own use the articles we raise on our own lands with our own labour. By an act passed in the 5th Year [1732] of the reign of his late majesty king George the second, an American subject is forbidden to make a hat for himself of the fur which he has taken perhaps on his own soil; an instance of despotism to which no parallel can be produced in the most arbitrary ages of British history. By one other act, passed in the 23d year [1750] of the same reign, the iron which we make we are forbidden to manufacture, and heavy as that article is, and necessary in every branch of husbandry, besides commission and insurance, we are to pay freight for it to Great Britain, and freight for it back again, for the purpose of supporting not men, but machines, in the island of Great Britain. In the same spirit of equal and impartial legislation is to be viewed the act of parliament, passed in the 5th year of the same reign, by which American lands are made subject to the demands of British creditors, while their own lands were still continued unanswerable for their debts; from which one of these conclusions must necessarily follow, either that justice is not the same in America as in Britain, or else that the British parliament pay less regard to it here than there. But that we do not point out to his majesty the injustice of these acts, with intent to rest on that principle the cause of their nullity; but to shew that experience confirms the propriety of those political principles which exempt us from the jurisdiction of the British parliament. The true ground on which we declare these acts void is, that the British parliament has no right to exercise authority over us.

That these exercises of usurped power have not been confined to instances alone, in which themselves were interested, but they have also intermeddled with the regulation of the internal affairs of the colonies. The act of the 9th of Anne [9th year in the Reign of Queen Anne, 1711] for establishing a post office in America seems to have had little connection with British convenience, except that of accommodating his majesty’s ministers and favourites with the sale of a lucrative and easy office.

That thus have we hastened through the reigns which preceded his majesty’s, during which the violations of our right were less alarming, because repeated at more distant intervals than that rapid and bold succession of injuries which is likely to distinguish the present from all other periods of American story. Scarcely have our minds been able to emerge from the astonishment into which one stroke of parliamentary thunder has involved us, before another more heavy, and more alarming, is fallen on us. Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period, and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly prove a deliberate and systematical plan of reducing us to slavery.

That the act passed in the 4th year [1731] of his majesty’s reign, intitled “An act for granting certain duties in the British colonies and plantations in America, &c.”

One other act, passed in the 5th year [1732] of his reign, intitled “An act for granting and applying certain stamp duties and other duties in the British colonies and plantations in America, &c.” [Stamp Act]

One other act, passed in the 6th year [1733] of his reign, intitled “An act for the better securing the dependency of his majesty’s dominions in America upon the crown and parliament of Great Britain;” [Act declared the right of the British Parliament over the American Colonies] and

one other act, passed in the 7th year [1734] of his reign, intitled “An act for granting duties on paper, tea, &c.”

form that connected chain of parliamentary usurpation, which has already been the subject of frequent applications to his majesty, and the houses of lords and commons of Great Britain; and no answers having yet been condescended to any of these, we shall not trouble his majesty with a repetition of the matters they contained.

But that one other act, passed in the same 7th year of the reign, having been a peculiar attempt, must ever require peculiar mention; it is intitled “An act for suspending the legislature of New York.”

One free and independent legislature hereby takes upon itself to suspend the powers of another, free and independent as itself; thus exhibiting a phoenomenon unknown in nature, the creator and creature of its own power. Not only the principles of common sense, but the common feelings of human nature, must be surrendered up before his majesty’s subjects here can be persuaded to believe that they hold their political existence at the will of a British parliament. Shall these governments be dissolved, their property annihilated, and their people reduced to a state of nature, at the imperious breath of a body of men, whom they never saw, in whom they never confided, and over whom they have no powers of punishment or removal, let their crimes against the American public be ever so great? Can any one reason be assigned why 160,000 electors in the island of Great Britain should give law to four millions in the states of America, every individual of whom is equal to every individual of them, in virtue, in understanding, and in bodily strength? Were this to be admitted, instead of being a free people, as we have hitherto supposed, and mean to continue ourselves, we should suddenly be found the slaves, not of one, but of 160,000 tyrants, distinguished too from all others by this singular circumstance, that they are removed from the reach of fear, the only restraining motive which may hold the hand of a tyrant.

That by “an act to discontinue in such manner and for such time as are therein mentioned the landing and discharging, lading or shipping, of goods, wares, and merchandize, at the town and within the harbour of Boston, in the province of Massachusetts Bay, in North America,” which was passed at the last session of British parliament; a large and populous town, whose trade was their sole subsistence, was deprived of that trade, and involved in utter ruin. Let us for a while suppose the question of right suspended, in order to examine this act on principles of justice: An act of parliament had been passed imposing duties on teas, to be paid in America, against which act the Americans had protested as inauthoritative. The East India company, who till that time had never sent a pound of tea to America on their own account, step forth on that occasion the assertors of parliamentary right, and send hither many ship loads of that obnoxious commodity. The masters of their several vessels, however, on their arrival in America, wisely attended to admonition, and returned with their cargoes. In the province of New England alone the remonstrances [protests] of the people were disregarded, and a compliance, after being many days waited for, was flatly refused. Whether in this the master of the vessel was governed by his obstinancy [stubborn, inflexible], or his instructions, let those who know, say. There are extraordinary situations which require extraordinary interposition. An exasperated people, who feel that they possess power, are not easily restrained within limits strictly regular. A number of them assembled in the town of Boston, threw the tea into the ocean, and dispersed without doing any other act of violence. If in this they did wrong, they were known and were amenable to the laws of the land, against which it could not be objected that they had ever, in any instance, been obstructed or diverted from their regular course in favour of popular offenders. They should therefore not have been distrusted on this occasion. But that ill fated colony had formerly been bold in their enmities against the house of Stuart, and were now devoted to ruin by that unseen hand which governs the momentous affairs of this great empire. On the partial representations of a few worthless ministerial dependents, whose constant office it has been to keep that government embroiled, and who, by their treacheries, hope to obtain the dignity of the British knighthood, without calling for a party accused, without asking a proof, without attempting a distinction between the guilty and the innocent, the whole of that antient and wealthy town is in a moment reduced from opulence to beggary. Men who had spent their lives in extending the British commerce, who had invested in that place the wealth their honest endeavours had merited, found themselves and their families thrown at once on the world for subsistence by its charities. Not the hundredth part of the inhabitants of that town had been concerned in the act complained of; many of them were in Great Britain and in other parts beyond sea; yet all were involved in one indiscriminate ruin, by a new executive power, unheard of till then, that of a British parliament. A property, of the value of many millions of money, was sacrificed to revenge, not repay, the loss of a few thousands. This is administering justice with a heavy hand indeed! and when is this tempest to be arrested in its course? Two wharfs are to be opened again when his majesty shall think proper. The residue which lined the extensive shores of the bay of Boston are forever interdicted the exercise of commerce. This little exception seems to have been thrown in for no other purpose than that of setting a precedent for investing his majesty with legislative powers. If the pulse of his people shall beat calmly under this experiment, another and another will be tried, till the measure of despotism be filled up. It would be an insult on common sense to pretend that this exception was made in order to restore its commerce to that great town. The trade which cannot be received at two wharfs alone must of necessity be transferred to some other place; to which it will soon be followed by that of the two wharfs. Considered in this light, it would be an insolent [an arrogant lack of respect] and cruel mockery at the annihilation of the town of Boston.

By the act for the suppression of riots and tumults in the town of Boston, passed also in the last session of parliament, a murder committed there is, if the governor pleases, to be tried in the court of King’s Bench, in the island of Great Britain, by a jury of Middlesex. The witnesses, too, on receipt of such a sum as the governor shall think it reasonable for them to expend, are to enter into recognizance to appear at the trial. This is, in other words, taxing them to the amount of their recognizance, and that amount may be whatever a governor pleases; for who does his majesty think can be prevailed on to cross the Atlantic for the sole purpose of bearing evidence to a fact? His expences are to be borne, indeed, as they shall be estimated by a governor; but who are to feed the wife and children whom he leaves behind, and who have had no other subsistence but his daily labour? Those epidemical disorders, too, so terrible in a foreign climate, is the cure of them to be estimated among the articles of expence, and their danger to be warded off by the almighty power of parliament? And the wretched criminal, if he happen to have offended on the American side, stripped of his privilege of trial by peers of his vicinage, removed from the place where alone full evidence could be obtained, without money, without counsel, without friends, without exculpatory proof, is tried before judges predetermined to condemn. The cowards who would suffer a countryman to be torn from the bowels of their society, in order to be thus offered a sacrifice to parliamentary tyranny, would merit that everlasting infamy now fixed on the authors of the act! A clause for a similar purpose had been introduced into an act, passed in the 12th year [1739] of his majesty’s reign, intitled “An act for the better securing and preserving his majesty’s dockyards, magazines, ships, ammunition, and stores;” against which, as meriting the same censures, the several colonies have already protested.

That these are the acts of power, assumed by a body of men, foreign to our constitutions, and unacknowledged by our laws, against which we do, on behalf of the inhabitants of British America, enter this our solemn and determined protest; and we do earnestly entreat his majesty, as yet the only mediatory power between the several states of the British empire, to recommend to his parliament of Great Britain the total revocation of these acts, which, however nugatory they be, may yet prove the cause of further discontents and jealousies among us.

That we next proceed to consider the conduct of his majesty, as holding the executive powers of the laws of these states, and mark out his deviations from the line of duty: By the constitution of Great Britain, as well as of the several American states, his majesty possesses the power of refusing to pass into a law any bill which has already passed the other two branches of legislature. His majesty, however, and his ancestors, conscious of the impropriety of opposing their single opinion to the united wisdom of two houses of parliament, while their proceedings were unbiassed by interested principles, for several ages past have modestly declined the exercise of this power in that part of his empire called Great Britain. But by change of circumstances, other principles than those of justice simply have obtained an influence on their determinations; the addition of new states to the British empire has produced an addition of new, and sometimes opposite interests. It is now, therefore, the great office of his majesty, to resume the exercise of his negative power, and to prevent the passage of laws by any one legislature of the empire, which might bear injuriously on the rights and interests of another. Yet this will not excuse the wanton exercise of this power which we have seen his majesty practise on the laws of the American legislatures. For the most trifling reasons, and sometimes for no conceivable reason at all, his majesty has rejected laws of the most salutary tendency. The abolition of domestic slavery is the great object of desire in those colonies, where it was unhappily introduced in their infant state. But previous to the enfranchisement of the slaves we have, it is necessary to exclude all further importations from Africa; yet our repeated attempts to effect this by prohibitions, and by imposing duties which might amount to a prohibition, have been hitherto defeated by his majesty’s negative: Thus preferring the immediate advantages of a few African corsairs to the lasting interests of the American states, and to the rights of human nature, deeply wounded by this infamous practice. Nay, the single interposition of an interested individual against a law was scarcely ever known to fail of success, though in the opposite scale were placed the interests of a whole country. That this is so shameful an abuse of a power trusted with his majesty for other purposes, as if not reformed, would call for some legal restrictions.

With equal inattention to the necessities of his people here has his majesty permitted our laws to lie neglected in England for years, neither confirming them by his assent, nor annulling them by his negative; so that such of them as have no suspending clause we hold on the most precarious of all tenures, his majesty’s will, and such of them as suspend themselves till his majesty’s assent be obtained, we have feared, might be called into existence at some future and distant period, when time, and change of circumstances, shall have rendered them destructive to his people here. And to render this grievance still more oppressive, his majesty by his instructions has laid his governors under such restrictions that they can pass no law of any moment unless it have such suspending clause; so that, however immediate may be the call for legislative interposition, the law cannot be executed till it has twice crossed the atlantic, by which time the evil may have spent its whole force.

But in what terms, reconcileable to majesty, and at the same time to truth, shall we speak of a late instruction to his majesty’s governor of the colony of Virginia, by which he is forbidden to assent to any law for the division of a county, unless the new county will consent to have no representative in assembly? That colony has as yet fixed no boundary to the westward. Their western counties, therefore, are of indefinite extent; some of them are actually seated many hundred miles from their eastern limits. Is it possible, then, that his majesty can have bestowed a single thought on the situation of those people, who, in order to obtain justice for injuries, however great or small, must, by the laws of that colony, attend their county court, at such a distance, with all their witnesses, monthly, till their litigation be determined? Or does his majesty seriously wish, and publish it to the world, that his subjects should give up the glorious right of representation, with all the benefits derived from that, and submit themselves the absolute slaves of his sovereign will? Or is it rather meant to confine the legislative body to their present numbers, that they may be the cheaper bargain whenever they shall become worth a purchase.

One of the articles of impeachment against [Robert] Tresilian [Cornish lawyer, and Chief Justice of the King’s Bench between 1381 and 1387], and the other judges of Westminister Hall, in the reign of Richard the second, [ 1377-1399] for which they suffered death, as traitors to their country, was, that they had advised the king that he might dissolve his parliament at any time; and succeeding kings have adopted the opinion of these unjust judges. Since the establishment, however, of the British constitution, at the glorious revolution, on its free and antient principles, neither his majesty, nor his ancestors, have exercised such a power of dissolution in the island of Great Britain; and when his majesty was petitioned, by the united voice of his people there, to dissolve the present parliament, who had become obnoxious to them, his ministers were heard to declare, in open parliament, that his majesty possessed no such power by the constitution. But how different their language and his practice here! To declare, as their duty required, the known rights of their country, to oppose the usurpations of every foreign judicature, to disregard the imperious mandates of a minister or governor, have been the avowed causes of dissolving houses of representatives in America. But if such powers be really vested in his majesty, can he suppose they are there placed to awe the members from such purposes as these? When the representative body have lost the confidence of their constituents, when they have notoriously made sale of their most valuable rights, when they have assumed to themselves powers which the people never put into their hands, then indeed their continuing in office becomes dangerous to the state, and calls for an exercise of the power of dissolution. Such being the causes for which the representative body should, and should not, be dissolved, will it not appear strange to an unbiassed observer, that that of Great Britain was not dissolved, while those of the colonies have repeatedly incurred that sentence?

But your majesty, or your governors, have carried this power beyond every limit known, or provided for, by the laws: After dissolving one house of representatives, they have refused to call another, so that, for a great length of time, the legislature provided by the laws has been out of existence. From the nature of things, every society must at all times possess within itself the sovereign powers of legislation. The feelings of human nature revolt against the supposition of a state so situated as that it may not in any emergency provide against dangers which perhaps threaten immediate ruin. While those bodies are in existence to whom the people have delegated the powers of legislation, they alone possess and may exercise those powers; but when they are dissolved by the lopping off one or more of their branches, the power reverts to the people, who may exercise it to unlimited extent, either assembling together in person, sending deputies, or in any other way they may think proper. We forbear to trace consequences further; the dangers are conspicuous with which this practice is replete.

That we shall at this time also take notice of an error in the nature of our land holdings, which crept in at a very early period of our settlement. The introduction of the feudal tenures into the kingdom of England, though antient, is well enough understood to set this matter in a proper light. In the earlier ages of the Saxon settlement feudal holdings were certainly altogether unknown; and very few, if any, had been introduced at the time of the Norman conquest. Our Saxon ancestors held their lands, as they did their personal property, in absolute dominion, disencumbered with any superior, answering nearly to the nature of those possessions which the feudalists term allodial. [Allodial: title is a real property ownership system where the real property is owed free and clear of any superior landlord] William, the Norman, first introduced that system generally. The lands which had belonged to those who fell in the battle of Hastings, and in the subsequent insurrections of his reign, formed a considerable proportion of the lands of the whole kingdom. These he granted out, subject to feudal duties, as did he also those of a great number of his new subjects, who, by persuasions or threats, were induced to surrender them for that purpose. But still much was left in the hands of his Saxon subjects; held of no superior, and not subject to feudal conditions. These, therefore, by express laws, enacted to render uniform the system of military defence, were made liable to the same military duties as if they had been feuds; and the Norman lawyers soon found means to saddle them also with all the other feudal burthens [burdens]. But still they had not been surrendered to the king, they were not derived from his grant, and therefore they were not [be]holden of him. A general principle, indeed, was introduced, that “all lands in England were held either mediately or immediately of the crown,” but this was borrowed from those holdings, which were truly feudal, and only applied to others for the purposes of illustration. Feudal holdings were therefore but exceptions out of the Saxon laws of possession, under which all lands were held in absolute right. These, therefore, still form the basis, or ground-work, of the common law, to prevail wheresoever the exceptions have not taken place. America was not conquered by William the Norman, nor its lands surrendered to him, or any of his successors. Possessions there are undoubtedly of the allodial nature. Our ancestors, however, who migrated hither, were farmers, not lawyers. The fictitious principle that all lands belong originally to the king, they were early persuaded to believe real; and accordingly took grants of their own lands from the crown. And while the crown continued to grant for small sums, and on reasonable rents; there was no inducement to arrest the error, and lay it open to public view. But his majesty has lately taken on him to advance the terms of purchase, and of holding to the double of what they were; by which means the acquisition of lands being rendered difficult, the population of our country is likely to be checked. It is time, therefore, for us to lay this matter before his majesty, and to declare that he has no right to grant lands of himself. From the nature and purpose of civil institutions, all the lands within the limits which any particular society has circumscribed around itself are assumed by that society, and subject to their allotment only. This may be done by themselves, assembled collectively, or by their legislature, to whom they may have delegated sovereign authority; and if they are alloted in neither of these ways, each individual of the society may appropriate to himself such lands as he finds vacant, and occupancy will give him title.

That in order to enforce the arbitrary measures before complained of, his majesty has from time to time sent among us large bodies of armed forces, not made up of the people here, nor raised by the authority of our laws: Did his majesty possess such a right as this, it might swallow up all our other rights whenever he should think proper. But his majesty has no right to land a single armed man on our shores, and those whom he sends here are liable to our laws made for the suppression and punishment of riots, routs, and unlawful assemblies; or are hostile bodies, invading us in defiance of law. When in the course of the late war it became expedient that a body of Hanoverian troops should be brought over for the defence of Great Britain, his majesty’s grandfather, our late sovereign, did not pretend to introduce them under any authority he possessed. Such a measure would have given just alarm to his subjects in Great Britain, whose liberties would not be safe if armed men of another country, and of another spirit, might be brought into the realm at any time without the consent of their legislature. He therefore applied to parliament, who passed an act for that purpose, limiting the number to be brought in and the time they were to continue. In like manner is his majesty restrained in every part of the empire. He possesses, indeed, the executive power of the laws in every state; but they are the laws of the particular state which he is to administer within that state, and not those of any one within the limits of another. Every state must judge for itself the number of armed men which they may safely trust among them, of whom they are to consist, and under what restrictions they shall be laid.

To render these proceedings still more criminal against our laws, instead of subjecting the military to the civil powers, his majesty has expressly made the civil subordinate to the military. But can his majesty thus put down all law under his feet? Can he erect a power superior to that which erected himself? He has done it indeed by force; but let him remember that force cannot give right.

That these are our grievances which we have thus laid before his majesty, with that freedom of language and sentiment which becomes a free people claiming their rights, as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate: Let those flatter who fear; it is not an American art. To give praise which is not due might be well from the venal, but would ill beseem those who are asserting the rights of human nature. They know, and will therefore say, that kings are the servants, not the proprietors of the people. Open your breast, sire, to liberal and expanded thought. Let not the name of George the third be a blot in the page of history. You are surrounded by British counsellors, but remember that they are parties. You have no ministers for American affairs, because you have none taken from among us, nor amenable to the laws on which they are to give you advice. It behoves [to be necessary or fitting for, i.e. Requires] you, therefore, to think and to act for yourself and your people. The great principles of right and wrong are legible to every reader; to pursue them requires not the aid of many counsellors. The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest. Only aim to do your duty, and mankind will give you credit where you fail. No longer persevere in sacrificing the rights of one part of the empire to the inordinate desires of another; but deal out to all equal and impartial right. Let no act be passed by any one legislature which may infringe on the rights and liberties of another. This is the important post in which fortune has placed you, holding the balance of a great, if a well poised empire. This, sire, is the advice of your great American council, on the observance of which may perhaps depend your felicity and future fame, and the preservation of that harmony which alone can continue both to Great Britain and America the reciprocal advantages of their connection. It is neither our wish, nor our interest, to separate from her. We are willing, on our part, to sacrifice every thing which reason can ask to the restoration of that tranquillity for which all must wish. On their part, let them be ready to establish union and a generous plan. Let them name their terms, but let them be just. Accept of every commercial preference it is in our power to give for such things as we can raise for their use, or they make for ours. But let them not think to exclude us from going to other markets to dispose of those commodities which they cannot use, or to supply those wants which they cannot supply. Still less let it be proposed that our properties within our own territories shall be taxed or regulated by any power on earth but our own. The God who gave us life gave us liberty at the same time; the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them. This, sire, is our last, our determined resolution; and that you will be pleased to interpose with that efficacy which your earnest endeavours may ensure to procure redress of these our great grievances, to quiet the minds of your subjects in British America, against any apprehensions of future encroachment, to establish fraternal love and harmony through the whole empire, and that these may continue to the latest ages of time, is the fervent prayer of all British America!

Footnote(s) 1. 1632 Maryland was granted to lord Baltimore, Pennsylvania to Penn, and the province of Carolina was in the year 1663 granted by letters patent of majesty, king Charles II. in the 15th year of his reign, in propriety, unto the right honourable Edward earl of Clarendon, George duke of Albemarle, William earl of Craven, John lord Berkeley, Anthony lord Ashley, sir George Carteret, sir John Coleton, knight and baronet, and sir William Berkeley, knight; by which letters patent the laws of England were to be in force in Carolina: But the lords proprietors had power, _with the consent of the inhabitants,_ to make bye-laws for the better government of the said province; so that no money could be received, or law made, without the consent of the inhabitants, or their representatives.

FINIS.

A DECLARATION BY THE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, IN GENERAL CONGRESS ASSEMBLED.

The following extract is interesting as showing the influence of the “Proposed Instructions” on contemporary opinion:

Thomas Jefferson, who was one of the elected, was prevented by indisposition from attending. But he forwarded by express, for the consideration of its members, a series of resolutions. I distinctly recollect the applause bestowed on the most of them, when they were read to a large company at the house of Peyton Randolph, to whom they were addressed of all the approbation was not equal. From the celebrated letters of the Pennsylvanian Farmer (John Dickinson) we had been instructed to bow to the external taxation of parliament, as resulting from our migration and a necessary dependence on the mother country. But this composition of Mr. Jefferson shook this conceded principle, although it had been confirmed by a still more celebrated pamphlet of Daniel Dulaney of Maryland, and cited by Lord Chatham as a text-book of American rights. The young ascended with Mr. Jefferson to the source of those rights [Our Creator], the old required time for consideration before they could tread this lofty ground which, if it had not been abandoned, at least had not been fully occupied throughout America. From what cause it happened that the resolutions were not printed by order of the Convention does not appear; but as they were not adopted, several of the author’s admirers subscribed for their publication. When the time of writing is remembered, a range of inquiry not then very frequent, and marching far beyond the politics of the day will surely be allowed them.—[Edmund Randolph in MS. History of Virginia, quoted in Ford’s “Jefferson,” vol. I., p. 422, and reprinted here by permission of G. P. Putnam & Sons.]

Sources:
The writings of Thomas Jefferson: being his autobiography, correspondence, reports, etc. by Thomas Jefferson from the original manuscripts deposited in the Department of State, Volume One; Published 1853 by Taylor & Maury, Washington
A summary view of the rights of British America: Set forth in some Resolutions intended for: The Inspection of the present Delegates of the People of Virginia, now in Convention. by Thomas Jefferson; 1774

 

Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking up Arms July 6, 1775

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June 23, 1775, John Rutledge of South Carolina, William Livingston of New Jersey, Franklin, Jay, and Thomas Johnson of Maryland, were appointed & committee ” to draw up a declaration, to be published by General Washington, upon his arrival at the camp before Boston.” The report was brought in the next day, and on the 26th, after debate, was recommitted, and Dickinson and Jefferson added to the committee. A draft prepared by Jefferson being thought by Dickinson too outspoken, the latter prepared a new one, retaining, however, the closing paragraphs as drawn by Jefferson. In this form the declaration was reported June 27, and agreed to July 6.

References.— Text in Journals of Congress (ed. 1800), I., 134-139. The case for the colonies in 1775 is best stated in John Adams’s Novanglus (Works, IV., 11-177), in reply to a series of newspaper articles by Daniel Leonard, over the signature of Massachusettensis. The two series were printed together at Boston in 1819. See also Chamberlain’s John Adams, the Statesman of the Revolution.

A declaration by the Representatives of the United Colonies of North-America, now met in Congress at Philadelphia, setting forth the causes and necessity of their taking up arms.

IF it was possible for men, who exercise their reason to believe, that the divine Author of our existence intended a part of the human race to hold an absolute property in, and an unbounded power over others, marked out by his infinite goodness and wisdom, as the objects of a legal domination never rightfully resistible, however severe and oppressive, the inhabitants of these colonies might at least require from the parliament of Great Britain some evidence, that this dreadful authority over them, has been granted to that body. But a reverence for our great Creator, principles of humanity, and the dictates of common sense, must convince all those who reflect upon the subject, that government was instituted to promote the welfare of mankind, and ought to be administered for the attainment of that end. The legislature of Great-Britain, however, stimulated by an inordinate passion for a power not only unjustifiable, but which they know to be peculiarly reprobated by the very constitution of that kingdom, and desperate of success in any mode of contest, where regard should be had to truth, law, or right, have at length, deserting those, attempted to effect their cruel and impolitic purpose of enslaving these colonies by violence, and have thereby rendered it necessary for us to close with their last appeal from reason to arms.—Yet, however blinded that assembly may be, by their intemperate rage for unlimited domination, so to slight justice and the opinion of mankind, we esteem ourselves bound by obligations of respect to the rest of the world, to make known the justice of our cause.

Our forefathers, inhabitants of the island of Great-Britain, left their native land, to seek on these shores a residence for civil and religious freedom. At the expense of their blood, at the hazard of their fortunes, without the least charge to the country from which they removed, by unceasing labour, and an unconquerable spirit, they effected settlements in the distant and inhospitable wilds of America, then filled with numerous and warlike nations of barbarians. — Societies or governments, vested with perfect legislatures, were formed under charters from the crown, and an harmonious intercourse was established between the colonies and the kingdom from which they derived their origin. The mutual benefits of this union became in a short time so extraordinary, as to excite astonishment. It is universally confessed, that the amazing increase of the wealth, strength, and navigation of the realm, arose from this source; and the minister, who so wisely and successfully directed the measures of Great-Britain in the late war, publicly declared, that these colonies enabled her to triumph over her enemies. —-Towards the conclusion of that war, it pleased our sovereign to make a change in his counsels. — From that fatal moment, the affairs of the British empire began to fall into confusion, and gradually sliding from the summit of glorious prosperity, to which they had been advanced by the virtues and abilities of one man, are at length distracted by the convulsions, that now shake it to its deepest foundations. —The new ministry finding the brave foes of Britain, though frequently defeated, yet still contending, took up the unfortunate idea of granting them a hasty peace, and of then subduing her faithful friends.

These devoted colonies were judged to be in such a state, as to present victories without bloodshed, and all the easy emoluments of statuteable plunder. —The uninterrupted tenor of their peaceable and respectful behaviour from the beginning of colonization, their dutiful, zealous, and useful services during the war, though so recently and amply acknowledged in the most honourable manner by his majesty, by the late king, and by parliament, could not save them from the meditated innovations. — Parliament was influenced to adopt the pernicious project, and assuming a new power over them, have in the course of eleven years, given such decisive specimens of the spirit and consequences attending this power, as to leave no doubt concerning the effects of acquiescence under it. They have undertaken to give and grant our money without our consent, though we have” ever exercised an exclusive right to dispose of our own property; statutes have been passed for extending the jurisdiction of courts of admiralty and vice-admiralty beyond their ancient limits; for depriving us of the accustomed and inestimable privilege of trial by jury, in cases affecting both life and property; for suspending the legislature of one of the colonies; for interdicting all commerce to the capital of another; and for altering fundamentally the form of government established by charter, and secured by acts of its own legislature solemnly confirmed by the crown; for exempting the “murderers” of colonists from legal trial, and in effect, from punishment; for erecting in a neighbouring province, acquired by the joint arms of Great-Britain and America, a despotism dangerous to our very existence; and for quartering soldiers upon the colonists in time of profound peace. It has also been resolved in parliament, that colonists charged with committing certain offences, shall be transported to England to be tried.

But why should we enumerate our injuries in detail? By one statute it is declared, that parliament can “of right make laws to bind us in all cases whatsoever.” What is to defend us against so enormous, so unlimited a power? Not a single man of those who assume it, is chosen by us; or is subject to our controul or influence; but, on the contrary, they are all of them exempt from the operation of such laws, and an American revenue, if not diverted from the ostensible purposes for which it is raised, would actually lighten their own burdens in proportion, as they increase ours. We saw the misery to which such despotism would reduce us. We for ten years incessantly and ineffectually besieged the throne as supplicants; we reasoned, we remonstrated with parliament, in the most mild and decent language.

Administration sensible that we should regard these oppressive measures as freemen ought to do, sent over fleets and armies to enforce them. The indignation of the Americans was roused, it is true; but it was the indignation of a virtuous, loyal, and affectionate people. A Congress of delegates from the United Colonies was assembled at Philadelphia, on the fifth day of last September. We resolved again to offer an humble and dutiful petition to the king, and also addressed our fellow-subjects of Great-Britain. We have pursued every temperate, every respectful measure: we have even proceeded to break off our commercial intercourse with our fellow-subjects, as the last peaceable admonition, that our attachment to no nation upon earth should supplant our attachment to liberty. —This, we flattered ourselves, was the ultimate step of the controversy: but subsequent events have shewn, how vain was this hope of finding moderation in our enemies.

Several threatening expressions against the colonies were inserted in his majesty’s speech; our petition, tho’ we were told it was a decent one, and that his majesty had been pleased to receive it graciously, and to promise laying it before his parliament, was huddled into both houses among a bundle of American papers, and there neglected. The lords and commons in their address, in the month of February, said, that “a rebellion at that time actually existed within the province of Massachusetts Bay; and that those concerned in it, had been countenanced and encouraged by unlawful combinations and engagements, entered into by his majesty’s subjects in several of the other colonies; and therefore they besought his majesty, that he would take the most effectual measures to inforce due obedience to the laws and authority of the supreme legislature.” — Soon after, the commercial intercourse of whole colonies, with foreign countries, and with each other, was cut off by an act of parliament; by another several of them were intirely prohibited from the fisheries in the seas near their co[a]sts, on which they always depended for their sustenance; and large reinforcements of ships-and troops were immediately sent over to general Gage..

Fruitless were all the entreaties, arguments, and eloquence of an illustrious band of the most distinguished peers, and commoners, who nobly and strenously asserted the justice of our cause, to stay, or even to mitigate the heedless fury with which these accumulated and unexampled outrages were hurried on. — Equally fruitless was the interference of the city of London, of Bristol, and many other respectable towns in our favour. Parliament adopted an insidious manoeuvre calculated to divide us, to establish a perpetual auction of taxations where colony should bid against colony, all of them uninformed what ransom would redeem their lives; and thus to extort from us, at the point of the bayonet, the unknown sums that should be sufficient to gratify, if possible to gratify, ministerial rapacity, with the miserable indulgence left to us of raising, in our own mode, the prescribed tribute. What terms more rigid and humiliating could have been dictated by remorseless victors to conquered enemies? in our circumstances to accept them, would be to deserve them.

Soon after the intelligence of these proceedings arrived on this continent, general Gage, who in the course of the last year had taken possession of the town of Boston, in the province of Massachusetts-Bay, and still occupied it is a garrison, on the 19th day of April, sent out from that place a large detachment of his army, who made an unprovoked assault on the inhabitants of the said province, at the town of Lexington, as appears by the affidavits of a great number of persons, some of whom were officers and soldiers of that detachment, murdered eight of the inhabitants, and wounded many others. From thence the troops proceeded in warlike array to the town of Concord, where they set upon another party of the inhabitants of the same province, killing several and wounding more, until compelled to retreat by the country people suddenly assembled to repel this cruel aggression. Hostilities, thus commenced by the British troops, have been since prosecuted by them without regard to faith or reputation.— The inhabitants of Boston being confined within that town by the general their governor, and having, in order to procure their dismission, entered into a treaty with him, it was stipulated that the said inhabitants having deposited their arms with their own magistrates, should have liberty to depart, taking with them their other effects. They accordingly delivered up their arms, but in open violation of honour, in defiance of the obligation of treaties, which even savage nations esteemed sacred, the governor ordered the arms deposited as aforesaid, that they might be preserved for their owners, to be seized by a body of soldiers; detained the greatest part of the inhabitants in the town, and compelled the few who were permitted to retire, to leave their most valuable effects behind.

By this perfidy wives are separated from their husbands, children from their parents, the aged and the sick from their relations and friends, who wish to attend and comfort them; and those who have been used to live in plenty and even elegance, are reduced to deplorable distress.

The general, further emulating his ministerial masters, by a proclamation bearing date on the i2th day of June, after venting the grossest falsehoods and calumnies against the good people of these colonies, proceeds to “declare them all, either by name or description, to be rebels and traitors, to supersede the course of the common law, and instead thereof to publish and order the use and exercise of the law martial.” — His troops have butchered our countrymen, have wantonly burnt Charlestown, besides a considerable number of houses in other places; our ships and vessels are seized; the necessary supplies of provisions are intercepted, and he is exerting his utmost power to spread destruction and devastation around him.

We have received certain intelligence, that general Carelton [Carleton], the governor of Canada, is instigating the people of that province and the Indians to fall upon us; and we have but too much reason to apprehend, that schemes have been formed to excite domestic enemies against us. In brief, a part of these colonies now feel, and all of them are sure of feeling, as far as the vengeance of administration can inflict them, the complicated calamities of fire, sword, and famine. We [From this point the declaration follows Jefferson’s draft.]  are reduced to the alternative of chusing an unconditional submission to the tyranny of irritated ministers, or resistance by force. —The latter is our choice. —We have counted the cost of this contest, and find nothing so dreadful as voluntary slavery. — Honour, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them, if we basely entail hereditary bondage upon them.

Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our internal resources are great, and, if necessary, foreign assistance is undoubtedly attainable. —We gratefully acknowledge, as signal instances of the Divine favour towards us, that his Providence would not permit us to be called into this severe controversy, until we were grown up to our present strength, had been previously exercised in warlike operation, and possessed of the means of defending ourselves. With hearts fortified with these animating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the world, declare, that, exerting the utmost energy of those powers, which our beneficent Creator hath graciously bestowed upon us, the arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will, in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverence, employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather then to live slaves.

Lest this declaration should disquiet the minds of our friends and fellow-subjects in any 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 see restored. — Necessity has not yet driven us into that desperate measure, or induced us to excite any other nation to war against them. — We have not raised armies with ambitious designs of separating from Great-Britain, and establishing independent states. We fight not for glory or for conquest. We exhibit to mankind the remarkable spectacle of a people attacked by unprovoked enemies, without any imputation or even suspicion of offence. They boast of their privileges and civilization, and yet proffer no milder conditions than servitude or death.

In our own native land, in defence of the freedom that is our birth-right, and which we ever enjoyed till the late violation of it — for the protection of our property, acquired solely by the honest industry of our fore-fathers and ourselves, against violence actually offered, we have taken up arms. We shall lay them down when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors, and all danger of their being renewed shall be removed, and not before.

With an humble confidence in the mercies of the supreme and impartial Judge and Ruler of the Universe, we most devoutly implore his divine goodness to protect us happily through this great conflict, to dispose our adversaries to reconciliation on reasonable terms, and thereby to relieve the empire from the calamities of civil war.

Benjamin Rush: The War of Independence and Future Hope for America July 4th 1776

Benjamin Rush: Father of American Psychiatry

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Benjamin Rush writes, to Rev. Mr. [William] Gordon, at Roxbury, Mass., December 10, 1778:

Dear Sir.

It gave me great pleasure to find from your last letter that your feelings & Opinions accord so exactly with mine on the present state of our Affairs. The time is now past, when the least danger is to be apprehended to our liberties from the power of Britain, the Arts of commissioners, or the machinations of Tories [British loyalists]. Tyranny can now enter our country only in the shape of a Whig [American Patriots]. All our jealousy Should be of ourselves. All our fears, Should be of our great men, whether in civil or military authority. Our Congress begin already to talk of the State Necessity, and of making justice yield in some cases to policy. This was the apology, I was told, for confirming the unjust Sentence that was passed upon General [Charles] Lee. Gordon tells us that in England, the Whigs in power are always Tories, and the Tories out of power are always Whigs. I think I have discovered Something of the same kind already in our country. In my opinion, we have more to dread from the Ambition, avarice, craft & dissolute Manners of our Whigs than we have from a host of Governor [George] Robinsons, Dr [John] Berkenhouts, [Thomas] Hutchinsons or [Joseph] Galloways. Virtue, Virtue, alone my dear friend, is the basis of a republic. “Fiat justitia, ruat coelum,” [Translation: “Let justice be done, though the heavens should fall“] was my maxim during the short time I acted for the public. I had no political Ambition to gratify. I neither feared nor courted any party. I loved liberty for its own Sake, & I both loved & pitied human nature too much to flatter it. But what was the consequence? my political race was Short. I thank my countrymen for dismissing me from their Service. I want no Offices nor honors from them. My temper & my business render me alike independent of the world. But still I will love them, & watch for their happiness. I long to see the image of God restored to the human mind. I long to see Virtue & religion supported & vice & irreligion banished from Society by wise & equitable governments. I long to see an Asylum prepared for the persecuted & oppressed of all countries, & a door opened for the progress of knowledge, literature, the Arts, & the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to the ends of the earth. And these great events are only to be accomplished by establishing & perpetuating liberty in our country. O! best of blessings! Who would not follow thee blindfold? Who would not defend thee from the treachery of friends as well as from the malice of enemies? But I must stop. When liberty, the liberty we loved, and contended for in the years 1774 & 1776 is my Subject, I know not where to begin, nor where to end. 0! come celestial stranger & dwell in this our land. Let not our ignorance, our Venality, our luxury, our idolatry to individuals, & our Other anti-republican Vices, provoke thee to forsake the temple our Ancestors prepared for thee. Put us not off with Great Britain’s acknowledging our independence. Alas! the great Ultimatum of our modern patriots. It is liberty alone that can make us happy. And without it the memorable 4th of July 1776, will be execrated by posterity as the day in which Pandora’s box was opened in this country.

I am impatient to see your history. How many Chapters or Volumes have you allotted for the blunders of our Congress, & generals? Weak minds begin already to ascribe our deliverance to them. Had not heaven defeated their counsels in a thousand instances, we should have been hewers of wood & drawers of water to the Subjects of the king of Britain.

With compts. to Mrs Gordon &c. I
am yours sincerely,

B. Rush. Decr 10th 1778.

Revd Mr. Gordon, at Roxbury, near Boston.

Jefferson Foresaw and Prophesied about This Time in American History

Thomas Jefferson Foresaw and Prophesied about This Exact Time in American History!

ThomasJeffersonQuoteSpiritOurTimes

The SPIRIT OF THE TIMES MAY ALTER, WILL ALTER. Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may commence persecution, and better men be his victims. It can never be too often repeated, that the time for fixing every essential right on a legal basis is while our rulers are honest, and ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war we shall be going down hill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and THEIR RIGHTS DISREGARDED. They will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. THE SHACKLES, THEREFORE, WHICH SHALL NOT BE KNOCKED OFF AT THE CONCLUSION OF THIS WAR, WILL REMAIN ON US LONG, WILL BE MADE HEAVIER AND HEAVIER, TILL OUR RIGHTS SHALL REVIVE OR EXPIRE IN A CONVULSION.”—Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, query XVII.

These words of one of the wisest statesmen of all time imply that the rights of the individual, those civil and religious liberties purchased by our fathers at so dear a price, can be endangered only by a great and radical change in “the spirit of the times.” Obviously, no man, no set of men, no internal or external conditions, could rebind the souls, or even curtail the temporal rights, of those sturdy children of the Reformers to whom the above words were first addressed. Liberty (in America) could again be endangered only by such a radical change in the character of the people themselves as would effect a change in “the spirit of the times.”

“They will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights.”

Most clear thinkers have known all along that this is not an age of pre-eminent mental or moral development. They realize that mere intellectual knowledge is not power in the realm of morals. The wide diffusion of intelligence is of little conservative value for either the individual or society at large, if not accompanied by a corresponding improvement in morals. In other words, we may educate the senses, the memory, the reason; but if we do not reach the heart, the will, the conscience, if the secret motives of the soul are not purified, this general diffusion of “education” merely tends to enable the individual to display on a wider stage the motives controlling him. Intellectual education, or what we term in a collective form “civilization” and “culture,” merely gives the individual more power, more opportunities. And in their practical outworkings, as seen all around us, we must own that modern conditions, in some way or other, are as far as ever from developing greater contentment or more self-control on the part of the masses, or more unselfishness on the part of the classes.

It is a very superficial view that leads any one to say that the race as a whole is developing physically or mentally or morally. The unit of the nation is the home, the individual character; and who will say that in these respects “the spirit of the times ” has not noticeably fallen away from the standards of colonial times, or even of two or three generations ago? The creature comforts of a high civilization have never in the history of our world tended to strengthen man’s moral backbone or to hold more secure the moral foundations of society. In biology we have learned that acquired characters are not transmitted to offspring. Similarly we cannot biologically inherit the progress that our fathers made in heart culture, any more than in art; and we all know that in the latter we are sadly degenerate. He who reads the thoughts says the same of our morals. The Bible says that “in the last days perilous times shall come,” that “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse; ” and it enumerates a list of characteristics belonging to those who have a “form of godliness,” of the truthfulness and accuracy of which the daily papers of every land are a sad and terrible witness.

In the words of James A. Froude. “We live in days of progress and enlightenment; nature on a hundred sides has unlocked her storehouses of knowledge. But she has furnished no ‘open sesame’ to bid the mountain gate fly wide which leads to conquest of self.”— Essay on Bunyan, p. 34.

In morals and ethics, as in art, our laws and models are all in the dim, misty past; and the dark centuries of sin and woe that separate us from those bright ideals seem to have resulted only in weakening our moral powers of discernment and resolve, and in rendering even more incurable the race’s inherited taint of mental, moral, and physical decay.

“Let us be sure that those who come after will say of us in our time, that in our time we did everything that could be done. We finished the race, we kept them free, we kept the faith.” ~ President Ronald Reagan

“For a half century or so the moral and religious training of the millions has been neglected, or even counteracted by doctrines that have shriveled up every moral and religious motive, until nothing is left as a guide of life but expediency and self-interest; and how long can a community, or a nation, or a world, hold together on such a basis without a strong central authority, when ninety-nine per cent are fired with the conviction that they are being oppressed and defrauded by the other one per cent.” ~ George McCready Price (Creationist; 1920) This is what the liberal democrats / progressives have been working towards!

Isaiah 59:14-15 The United States under Democrat Leadership after Liberal Democrats and pop culture in our education system and government since the early 1900’s culminating in the 60’s radicals now in power.

Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:

2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.

4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.

5 They hatch cockatrice’ eggs, and weave the spider’s web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper.

6 Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands.

7 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.

8 The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.

9 Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.

10 We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noon day as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men.

11 We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us.

12 For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them;

13 In transgressing and lying against the Lord, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood.

14 And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.

15 Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.

16 And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.

17 For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloak.

18 According to their deeds, accordingly he will repay, fury to his adversaries, recompence to his enemies; to the islands he will repay recompence.

19 So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.

20 And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord.

21 As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.

2 Chronicles 7:14-16
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, 
and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then 
will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal 
their land.
15 Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer 
that is made in this place.
16 For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may 
be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there 
perpetually.
Sources: Religious Liberty Library Vol 1.
Back to the Bible: Or, The New Protestantism By George McCready Price
King James Holy Bible

Vivant Libertatis


Jean Lafitte: From Pirate to Patriot

Jean Lafitte

Jean Lafitte

Lafitte, The Baratarian Chief; A Tale Founded On Fact: From Pirate to Patriot.

“P. The man is a fool who surrenders himself to such unmanly, such womanish weakness.

L. Hast thou ever loved?

“P. Never.

“L. Then confine thy reproaches to subjects thou canst understand. The oak which has bowed to the blast may again become erect and majestic; the country which the earthquake has desolated may again become verdant and beautiful; but the heart whose finest feelings have been chilled by the icy hand of misfortune; whose fondest hopes have been destroyed in their bud, never recovers from the shock, but remains leafless, ruinous, desolate, and forsaken.” Old Play.

“May I never see the white cliffs of old England again, if I am not heartily glad to escape from this horrid hole!” cried, or rather muttered a weather-beaten, rough, hardy-looking seaman, as we seated ourselves Tinder the awning of the steamboat which was to convey us, with several other passengers, from the city of New Orleans, to vessels which were waiting for us at the English Turn. “I am an Englishman,” continued he, “and I care not who knows it—there is my home, and if I set my foot on that dear shore again, let me go to Davy’s locker if they again catch me in this land of Frenchmen and Mulattoes, Spaniards and Indians, Creoles and Negroes, and the cursed, quarrelsome Americans, too: —if you look squint at them, you are on your beam-ends in a moment I tread on their toes, bang’s the word, and daylight shines through you.”

As the honest tar appeared to be in a talkative mood, I determined to indulge his loquacity, and replied, “My good fellow, you appear to be quite out of humor to-day. I should conclude that you must have been shamefully misused. I have lived several months among these same Americans, and have no cause to complain of any ill-treatment whatever.”

“Several months!” echoed he, with an air of astonishment; “why, I had not been in port two days before I happened to tell a Kentuckian he lied, (and, by my soul, he did,) when he gave me a broadside which stove in my lights, and before I could muster to quarters, I was fairly carried by boarding—d**n him! but it was the first time that Anson Humber was obliged to strike his colors to a land-lubber.”

“I admit,” I replied, “that these Kentuckians are not the most polite people in the world; but if you keep on the right side of them, you will find friends till the last moment.”

“May I dangle from the yard-arm this minute,” cried the irritated sailor, “if I was ever able to tell the larboard from the starboard side of these fresh-water lobsters; wear your ship which way you will, they always strike across the beam, and are ready for raking or boarding— and by Nelson’s right arm, (peace to his memory!) I had rather ship the heaviest wave of the Atlantic than have one of these madmen to deal with.”

“Perhaps,” I replied, “you ought to blame yourself for some of the treatment of which you complain; you know, when John Bull gets plenty of corn in his garret, he is apt to be proud and dictatorial.”

“Likely enough,” said he; “you know, too, when a sailor gets his ‘three sheets spread to the wind, he fears neither God, man, nor the devil; all seas are clear, and he cares for neither shores, rocks, nor quicksands. But what’s the reason you have escaped so well? It must be because you are a gentleman: no, that can’t be the cause either, for here gentlemen shoot one another for sport.”

“But that,” I answered, “is a kind of sport which I should not like; and the simple reason why I think there is no difficulty, is, because I have attended to my own affairs.”

“Perhaps so,” he replied. “Yesterday morning, I got up early, and took a tour up the river on—what d’ye call it—the lever, lev-lev—hang it, let the name go.”

“The Levee, my good friend, you mean.”

“Yes, that’s it—on the Levee—where I saw a boat’s crew anchor a wagon and approach the spot where, like a rat in the hold, I was snugly hid behind some orange-trees. A couple of them took their stations in line, and I perceived, that as soon as they could bring their guns to bear, there was likely to be some bloodshed. Good, thought I; if you will kill each other, the more the merrier. An attempt was made to induce one of them to strike his colours, but they were nailed to the mast, and could not be taken down. The battle commenced and the first broadside told well. One was damaged in the rigging, but the other went down to the bottom completely blood-logged.”

“That was a curious affair, indeed; what became of the rest of the party?” I asked.

Why, they made all sail for the city, and as soon as they were out of sight, I steered for the same port, and soon found myself safely lodged in my old berth,” was his answer.

During the latter part of the conversation, a person, whom I had not noticed before, attracted my attention; his countenance, when I was able to catch a glimpse of it, under the large hat, with its nodding plume, which covered his head and was pulled down with an evident intention of concealment, betrayed considerable agitation; and while Anson was describing, with the carelessness and volubility of an old seaman, the fatal duel he had that morning witnessed, he arose from his seat, and with hasty and irregular movements paced the deck, but maintained a steady and total silence. His form was not of that robust and masculine kind which denotes strength purely mechanical, but there was a firmness in his step, a lightness in his movements, and an ease and gracefulness in his carriage, which indicated strength, quickness, and decision. He was well dressed, and at his side hung a sabre of the most formidable dimensions; a pair of pistols showed themselves from his holt; but as at this place all went armed, his appearance in this respect would not excite remark. His complexion had evidently once been fair, but a southern sun had browned his cheeks till few lines were left of that roseate hue, which, from the traces visible where his curling hair had shaded his temples, it was evident had once predominated. His features were femininely regular; his forehead high and proudly arched, while beneath his eyebrows, black and waving, shone a pair of eyes, which, when agitated, appeared to flash lightning, and at a glance penetrate the secret recesses of the heart. I confess I trembled involuntarily when my eyes met his, as he started to his feet, when Anson described his position during the duel. Brown as was his complexion, an instant flush passed over his countenance, and he placed his hand on the hilt of the sabre in a manner which showed he was accustomed to its use. It was, however, as instantly dropped to his side, and he resumed his former position with as much indifference as though nothing had occurred. A pair of whiskers of the most enormous size shaded his cheeks, and really met under his chin, proving the service to which he was attached, and completed the outline of the person who had so strongly engaged my attention, and who exhibited an appearance of coolness, daring, and intrepidity, which I had never before witnessed.

While I was surveying this person, Anson, undisturbed by my inattention, had continued his chatter, and it was not until I heard the word pirate, that I was roused from my revery.

“What is that about pirates!” I inquired; “was any thing said about them in the city?”

“Nothing,” said Anson, “but that there are some of the sharks off the river; and I heard one fellow swear roundly that he yesterday saw the piratical chief.”

“Why,” I replied, “did he not lodge an information against him, and let him receive the punishment due such a crime?â€?

Ah! that’s the very question I asked the fellow myself,” answered Anson, “and offered, besides, to assist in securing him, and taking him to the yard-arm, if necessary; but the fellow said it would be as much as his head was worth to think of any such thing; besides, he might want a favour himself in that line some day or other, and it was best not to meddle with other folks’ matters.”

“Well, Anson,” said I, “if they meddle with us, we must pay them in their own coin; and it will not be your fault, I presume, if they do not receive change to the full amount.”

“No, it will not—but they said,” continued Anson, “that the chief of the gang killed a man yesterday, because he recog-recog-recognised, I think they called it—and charged the fellow with being the robber of his vessel and cargo. I do not mean he stabbed him in the dark, as a Spaniard or Frenchman would, but he told him it was false: so they shot at one another like gentlemen.”

The stranger again rose from his seat and walked across the deck, but remained silent. By this time, Anson had talked himself out of breath, and concluded to take a bit of a nap on the deck; and as the stranger appeared to shun observation, and showed no disposition to converse, we dropped down the river in silence.

Evening found us on board the fine stout brig Cleopatra, laden with indigo, cochineal, and a quantity of specie. She was a British vessel, just arrived from Santa Cruz, and employed as a cartel in exchanging some prisoners, by direction of the commanding officer on the West India station. From New Orleans she was to proceed to New York, and I gladly availed myself of the opportunity offered to visit my native region, from which business and war had so long kept me. The stranger, on parting with us as we went on board the Cleopatra, bade us adieu with the manners of a gentleman, and, while Anson Humber was cursing some of the rigging which had been procured at New Orleans, as a mere Yankee contrivance, he, in a half-suppressed tone of voice, whispered, “There are rovers on the deep; should difficulty overtake you, remember Lafitte.” As he pronounced these words, he leaped into a small boat which floated alongside the steamboat in which we had descended the river, and, amidst the darkness of the evening, was soon out of sight among the craft which almost covered the surface of the waters.

“By the powers !” exclaimed Anson, who had caught the tones of the stranger’s voice, low as they were uttered, “that is the very man who killed the other up the Levee yesterday morning: ah! I smell another rat, too; he is the pirate himself,” continued Anson, with a kind of shudder—” my head does not feel half so safely seated on my shoulders as it did ten minutes ago; but can we not overhaul him? I should like to lay alongside of him, well armed as he is.”

“If you should, Anson, brave as you are, it is my opinion you would find yourself in a more disagreeable predicament than when you were boarded by a Kentuckian. If, however, we meet with a pirate, we need fear nothing. A dozen such fellows as you are might enable us to bid defiance to old Neptune himself.” “You are right, sir,” replied the sailor, “while that flutters,” (pointing to the colours which streamed gayly in the wind,) “I will insure the safety of the Cleopatra. But I am so sleepy, that if the vessel was striking on breakers, or pirates were boarding, I could hardly keep awake.” So saying, he stowed himself in his hammock, and in a few minutes nothing was to be heard but the waves of the Mississippi as they dashed against the vessel, the measured pace of the sentinel as he traversed the quarter-deck, or the heavy breathing of those of the crew, who, after a hard day’s labour, were refreshing themselves in the sweet embraces of sleep.

I too threw myself on my bed, but not to sleep. A thousand circumstances united to interest my mind and keep me wakeful. I was about to return to the land of my fathers, the, home of my childhood. Home! that endearing word !—what tender recollections crowd upon die mind, when ten thousand charms of that delightful place present themselves in all their sweetness and freshness. Long as I had been separated from my native State—long as I had traversed the various regions of the globe—long as it had been since half the wide world had interposed between me and the place where I had first tasted the pleasures and pains of life, I had not forgotten a single scene around which memory lingered with such interest. The village spire, which threw its shadow over the green, where with the companions of my boyhood; we wrestled, jumped, laughed, ran, and sported, while the ball flew rapidly round the circle—the gloomy churchyard, which, when a truant boy, I had so often shudderingly passed, when the pale moon glimmered athwart the marbles which crowded the sacred enclosure, and, to my affrighted imagination, appeared to people the dreary place with the tenants of that world from which no traveller returns—the hills I had often climbed —the green valleys I had often crossed—the mountains among which I had so often roved in pursuit of such game as they afforded, all passed in review; and I even thought with rapture on the huge rock which was shaded with the branches of my favourite walnut-tree, and where, happy as the squirrel which barked over my head, I had spent many an hour, cracking the nuts which every wind made to rattle down around me.

The various countries and scenes through which I had passed since I first became a wanderer from the land of my childhood, now that my imagination pictured those wanderings as drawing to a close, rose in all their various shades before me, and the pains and pleasures of my peregrinations were again presented in bold relief by the powerful effect of memory. Over the civilized plains of Europe and the semi-barbarous regions of Asia I had roved. I had seen the aurora borealis dance over the regions of eternal frost—the sun in vain attempt to dissolve the chains which an Arctic winter had formed—and I had felt its fervid heat where equinoctial skies shed their debilitating and pernicious influence. I had traversed the plains of Orinoco, and the banks of the La Plata: I had climbed the Cordilleras, and, with the enthusiasm of youth, beheld the setting sun gild those bright isles of the Pacific, which are sprinkled in such profusion over the surface of its broad blue waters, and whose inhabitants are as guileless and unsuspecting as their skies are bright and cloudless. I had seen the St. Lawrence rolling its majestic stream, collected from a thousand lakes, to the ocean—and I was then floating on the bosom of the father of the rivers, which, rising among the frozen lakes and interminable forests of the north, discharges its turbid waters into the Mexican Gulf, amid the orange groves and sugar-plantations of the South; while, after years of absence had elapsed, I was about to visit the parental roof, with the intention of bringing my wanderings to a close, and spending the remainder of my days in quiet contentment and peaceful happiness. Nor was my interview with the stranger of such mysterious character and appearance forgotten. His apparent connection with the pirates, who, if report stated correctly, frequented the islands which lie off the Mississippi, and whose inhuman atrocities formed a common topic of conversation at New Orleans, I felt to be ominous of the result of our voyage; and although his words afforded a ray of hope to me, I wished I had not seen him.

Such were my feelings, as I in vain wooed the god of sleep for a temporary oblivion to my perturbed ideas; and it was not until the watch had been changed the last time that I fell asleep, from which I did not wake in the morning until the vessel was already several miles on her voyage. When I went upon deck, the vessel was floating along the current between the high woods which covered both banks of the river. Scarcely a breath of wind was to be felt—the sails hung idly against the mast, and we depended on the current alone to speed us to the ocean.

If ever there was a country over which the genius of desolation might be said to hold undisputed dominion, it is the region around the mouth of the Mississippi. Below Plaquemines it is one dreary and desolate marsh, covered with cane and reeds, and sinking gradually to the dead level of the Gulf. For miles before we reached the mouth of the river, the sea could be distinctly seen from the masthead, stretching away on each side of the point of land formed by the continual depositions of this mighty stream. Subject to overflow by the rise of the Mississippi or the inundations of the Gulf, and frequently submerged to the depth of six or eight feet by the autumnal tornadoes, no animals are to be seen; and the cormorant, as he wings his lonely way along these dreary shores, finds a precious resting-place on the banks of sand-shells which the continual breaking of the waves has raised around these pestilential marshes.

At last, the bar was passed, and we found ourselves on the broad bosom of the Gulf. The sailors, delighted with the prosperous commencement of the voyage, were all mirth and glee, and while the sails were filled with breezes which were hurrying us as we fondly imagined to New York, our port of destination, the can of grog circulated freely, and mirth and dance and song swept the hours rapidly away.

Our captain was an able officer, in whom we could repose the utmost confidence—the subalterns were experienced and attentive—the crew consisted of eleven hardy, rough sons of the ocean, making in all, including myself and two other passengers, about twenty souls on board. The vessel was a new stout ship, merchant rigged, but mounting six guns and well provided with arms and ammunition, and all the necessary implements of offensive and defensive war.—The day passed away, and it was not until the forenoon of the second day after leaving the river, that any thing occurred to vary the dull monotony of a sea-voyage. I was sitting in my cabin, arranging some packages of papers, &c, when I was roused by an unusual uproar on the deck, and the boatswain’s shrill whistle calling all hands to quarters. I speedily deposited in their trunks the papers I was reviewing, and hastened to the deck—before I reached which, however, I heard several guns fired.

The cause of alarm was a vessel of suspicious appearance, which had been bearing down for some time, apparently with the intention of crossing the Cleopatra’s course, and though the British colors were at the mast, (and they were within hail,) they neglected to answer the repeated call of Captain Bowden, who at last ordered a gun to be fired over them. To this no attention was paid—few men were to be seen on deck—and the vessel continued her course in a manner which indicated an intention to lay the vessel immediately on board our ship. At this moment, Captain Bowden hailed them and ordered them to keep off, or he would fire upon them; when the decks of the vessel were instantly crowded with armed men, the British colours were hauled down and the red flag displayed, and a heavy fire of musketry opened upon us from the pirate, for such it was evident she was. The guns of the Cleopatra could be brought to bear with admirable effect, and it was soon evident that if they could be prevented from boarding us, the conflict would not long remain doubtful.

“Three to one, my brave lads,” cried Captain Bowden, as through his glass he surveyed his assailants—” but were they five to one, we shall soon make them count one to two—sweep their deck, boys; we’ll teach the rascals to keep a respectful distance.” Finding his attempt to board unavailing, the pirate hauled out of reach of our small arms, which had done great execution among his crowded decks. The cessation of the contest was however but momentary—our assailants returned to the attack with fury, and, in spite of our exertions, succeeded in grappling our vessel. His decks exhibited a motley assemblage of ferocious-looking villains, black, white, and yellow, whose horrid imprecations and oaths were enough to appall the bravest heart, as, repulsed from our bulwarks in their attempts to board, it was only to renew the assault with double desperation and rage. Several of our bravest fellows had already fallen, when twenty or thirty of these tigers took advantage of a swell of the sea which brought the vessels in contact, and sprang on board the Cleopatra, sabre in hand. They were met by our crew with such vigour that scarcely had a minute elapsed before their numbers were reduced one half, and the remainder were wavering, when a fellow threw himself on board from the piratical vessel, put himself at the head of the assailants, and with shouts and imprecations urged his followers forward. “Hell and furies!” he cried, “shall these few men escape in this way? Send them to perdition in a moment. Remember, all or nothing.” Captain Bowden threw himself before the pirate, and a combat of the most obstinate kind ensued—terrific and desperate. A pause of some moments ensued among the other combatants, who suspended the work of death to witness a contest on which so much was depending. At last, British valour rose triumphant, and the pirate dropped mortally wounded upon the deck.

“Captain Bowden for ever!” shouted Anson, as the blood spouted from the mouth of the marauder mixed with curses and execrations, while he flew to finish the work of death upon the remainder. Anson’s bravery carried him so far that he was surrounded, and a blow was aimed at him which would have speedily sent him to Davy’s Locker, had not a blow from my sabre dropped the fellow’s head from his body, and his spouting trunk fell lifeless to the deck.

“That fellow is anchored where he won’t slip his cable these hundred years,” cried Anson, as he gave the head a kick, which sent it across the deck; “but never let me taste the roast-beef of old England again, if I don’t believe that you have wielded the sabre before now.”

“Very likely, my good fellow,” I replied; “but before we think o( roast-beef, we must rid the vessel of these villains.”

“Have at the rascals, then I” shouted Anson, as he thrust his sword to the hilt through the body of a huge negro, and before he had time to drop, seized him and threw him into the ocean. “The sharks may have him and welcome, if they can stomach the black dog; I won’t have such a stinking fellow on the Cleopatra’s deck,” said Anson, as the wave splashed against the vessel from the negro’s fall. Anson, however, had no time for soliloquizing, for he was confronted by a tall, weazel-faced Frenchman, whose rapid thrusts and skilful manoeuvres it required all his attention to meet. At last, thin as was the mark, Anson’s sabre hit, and the Frenchman fell.

“Cursed poor!” said Anson, as he placed his foot on the fallen foe and extricated his weapon; “thin as your frog-soup—a fellow might read the Assembly’s Catechism through you.”

At this instant, another vessel, which was within a few miles at the commencement of the struggle, and which, as the firing commenced, had approached us rapidly, now neared us sufficiently to enable us to discover, that, like the vessel with which we were already engaged, she was a pirate.’ When she was within fifty yards of us, her crew gave a shout, which was instantly echoed from our first assailants, and our decks were again crowded with a motley crew of desperadoes. “There is but one alternative,” said Captain Bowden to me, “we must conquer or die. Our situation is indeed desperate, but it cannot be so bad as to be hopeless.” So saying, he put himself at the head of the few remaining, and few indeed they were, for of the brave men who were so cheerful and happy in the morning, but six or eight were left—the rest lay mixed with the foes who were piled in slaughtered heaps around. Our charge was murderous, and the screams of the wounded and groans of the dying were heard above the dash of the waters, the din of the conflict, or the shouts of the combatants. The tide was quickly turned, and the deck was on the point of being speedily cleared, when a figure of the most athletic appearance, his face covered with blood from a sabre-wound in his head, around which a handkerchief was tightly bound, and his features distorted with rage, leaped from the deck of our first opponent, and, with sabre in hand, rushed upon Captain Bowden.

“Curse on your cowardice!” cried he to his followers, “shall two men drive you to the devil? If you want the whole prize, fight; if not, wait till you are obliged to share it with Lafitte.” The conflict was terrible. As Anson endeavoured to parry a blow aimed at Captain Bowden, the buccaneer, by a sudden wheel of his sabre, severed his shoulders from his body—I was covered with his blood—and giving a single groan, he fell lifeless art my feet.

“Poor fellow, thou shalt not die unrevenged,” I cried, and closed with his murderer.

By a violent effort, and before he could save himself from my impetuous attack, I had dashed him to the deck, and was on the point of transfixing him with my sabre, when my feet, which were wet with blood, slipped, and I fell upon my antagonist. He was too much injured by the fall to be able to avail himself of the advantage my accident had given him; but. I was instantly seized by a half-dozen of the pirates, and should have been speedily sacrificed, had not Captain Bowden thrown himself among them, and with his death-dealing sabre freed me from their grasp. I was hardly on my feet before the cry, “They are boarding us on the starboard quarter!” was heard; and I perceived a fresh band of murderers were already on board.

“If we must die, let us sell our lives at as dear a rate as possible,” said I to Captain Bowden; and we rushed upon the gang who were pouring upon the starboard quarter of the Cleopatra. Our swords soon thinned their numbers, but we were weary with slaughter, and there appeared no end to our toils. Four only of our crew were left, and we felt that we must soon sink under the overwhelming force which was pouring upon us from all sides. At that instant, a volley of musketry killed every man of our crew, who had hitherto escaped to assist us in stemming the torrent, and Captain Bowden and myself were surrounded by wretches, whose yells, oaths, and imprecations made them more resemble demons than human beings. To prevent being placed in a situation where we could not keep our enemies at bay, we retreated, or were rather carried by the crowd of assailants, to the corner of the vessel, where a pile of slain rose around us, and the deck was flooded with gore.

“Fools, to throw away your lives in this manner,” shouted a stentorian voice, from a person who was seen struggling through the crowd of assailants; “give them the cold lead!And this order was obeyed by a volley of balls, which brought Captain Bowden to the deck, while the life-blood flowed in torrents from his numerous wounds. “Oh, my dear wife and children! Great God, protect them!” was all he could utter before he was a lifeless corpse. The man who had given the order, and who, from his commanding manner, appeared to be the chief of pirates, had cleared his way through the assailants, and, with his drawn sabre, now confronted me. I rejoiced to see him, for his strength and the manner in which he wielded his instrument of death, convinced me that, if he conquered, my death could not be lingering—and if he fell, I should have the satisfaction of freeing the world of a monster.

The combat was obstinate: I fought with the hopelessness of desperation, and pressed my assailant so closely, that he found himself unable to resist the assault, when, by an unlucky blow, my sabre was snapped in a dozen pieces, and I stood before him unarmed and defenceless. Baring my bosom, I inwardly commended myself to my Maker, and told him to strike; but, to my surprise, he dropped the point of his weapon, and looking me earnestly in the face, as he wiped the blood from his brow, exclaimed—”Not when unarmed; brave men honour the brave—you are safe—remember Lafitte!” and I instantly recognised him as the person who had so strongly attracted my attention while on our voyage from New Orleans to the English Turn.

“Who is this, that preaches safety?â€? exclaimed a voice half choaked with rage, and in tones that made me shudder; “may damnation seize me, if he shall not atone with his blood for the murder of my brother!’ So saying, he fired a pistol, which would have shattered my brains, had not Lafitte, by an instantaneous and dexterous movement of his sabre, thrown his pistol into the air when the assassin was in the act of firing, by which means I was preserved, although I was so near that my face was severely burnt by the discharge.

“Were it not, Laborde,” said Lafitte, “that I apprehend the injury on your head has made you raving, this act of rebellion to my authority would be your last. But be careful how you tempt my forbearance too far.”

“Cowardly miscreant!” cried Laborde, “you think to rob me of my victim—but should hell, with all its legions arrayed against me, appear, I would be revenged. This vessel is my prize! this sabre shall keep possession, and this sabre shall revenge my brother.”

“Touch but a hair of this man’s head to injure him,” answered Lafitte, in a voice which showed he was accustomed to command, “and your life shall answer for that crime.”

“I care not for your threats—I bid defiance to your power; this fellow dies—nor shall heaven or hell prevent,” cried Laborde, as he flew at me with his sabre, but found his progress arrested by the herculean strength of Lafitte. “Here,” said the latter, calling some of his crew,'” take this fellow, and secure him in his vessel till he becomes more rational, and his rage has time to cool, or, by the powers above, he dies! —my authority shall not be trifled with.” He was seized, and by main strength dragged towards his ship, struggling and roaring like a mad bull, when, by a sudden exertion, he freed his arms, plunged a dagger to the heart of one of those who were endeavouring to secure him, and before Lafitte, who was giving some orders about clearing the vessels, was aware of his approach, he received a blow upon his head, which dropped him, stunned and senseless, to the deck. Lafitte’s sabre flew from his hand and fell at my feet, and ere Laborde could reach me, I was ready to receive him, as he rushed upon his devoted prey with the fury of a tiger.

“Now, cursed wretch, thou shalt die!—Lafitte himself cannot save thee!cried Laborde, his eyes flashing fire, his features distorted with rage, and yelling like a maniac. His ungovernable rage threw him off his guard, and as he made a desperate plunge at my breast, I parried the blow; his heart received the point of my weapon, and he fell lifeless upon the blood-covered deck. What would have been my fate from the rest of these wretches, had not Lafitte at that moment recovered his feet and stilled the commotion which was rising, is unknown. “Brave fellows,” said he, “in Laborde you behold the fate of him who dares to disobey my orders—shun his example. Let these vessels be taken to Barataria, and in them we shall find treasure equal to our utmost expectations, and which shall be equally shared by all.” A shout of approbation, and “Long live Lafitte!” rent the air. The decks were cleared of the dead, who, as well as the badly wounded, were committed to the waves; and when the setting sun threw his last rays on the topmasts of the Cleopatra, we were in full sail for the Island of Barataria, which I found was the rendezvous of the pirates who frequented the Gulf, and of whom Lafitte was the acknowledged chief.

The Island of Barataria, at which we arrived on the day after the capture of the Cleopatra, is one of those low, sunken islands, or rather clusters of sand-bars, which are so numerous in the Gulf of Mexico, hardly elevated above the reach of the equinoctial tornado, and, owing to the drought and heat, scarcely habitable for a considerable part of the year. Here, after considerable difficulty from intricacies of navigation, or unskillfulness of the pilot, we found ourselves at anchor, and Lafitte, accompanied by myself, immediately went on shore. A few groves of orange-trees, scattered peach-trees, and luxuriant vines were to be seen, which contrasted strongly with the few miserable huts which formed the establishment of these outlaws of civilization—this congregated mass of refuse from every nation under heaven. Plunder, assassination, and murder were here legalized. Power formed the only law; and every species of iniquity was here carried to an extent, of which no person who had not witnessed a similar den of pollution could form the most distant idea. In this place, which, as one of the pirates himself observed, “was a hell on earth, and well stocked with devils of all ranks and degrees,” were to be seen a few women, who vied with the men in trampling on all decency and decorum, and whose language and manners were a compound of all the vileness and profanity which could be collected from the wretches with whom they associated. If my first impressions were unfavourable, subsequent observations did nothing to remove them. The crews of the piratical vessels were landed—and when a division had been made of the plunder, commenced a scene of intoxication, gambling, quarrelling, and murder, which still chills my blood to remember, and which the sabre of Lafitte was required sometimes to subdue. He alone seemed to possess any command over his passions, and his voice was never heard among them in vain; while he shared the danger equally with the meanest sailor, whatever plunder was acquired was divided among them with the most scrupulous exactness. His influence over them was great, and their confidence in him unbounded.

Nearly three weeks passed away, and although I suffered at no time any contumely or insults from the pirates, and Lafitte always treated me in the most respectful manner, frequently requesting me to give myself no uneasiness, as, for whatever loss in property I might have sustained on board the Cleopatra, I should receive ample compensation, still I felt my situation irksome in the extreme. My anxiety was observed by Lafitte.

“I see,” said he, “you are anxious to leave us. I do not wish to detain you, for such company cannot be agreeable. Be patient a few days longer, and I will enable you to depart in safety. Would to heaven I could accompany you!” “And why can you not?” I asked; “what should make you hesitate? Such a life as this—one unvarying round of danger, fatigue, and crime, surely can possess no charms to a man whose very actions prove that he was born to a nobler, a better fate.”

“How,” said he, “can the notorious Lafitte, the chief of pirates, the commander of outlaws, the companion of murderers, the man whose very name carries terror from Carthagena to Havana, mix in the society of civilized men? Would the laws be silent? Would not the sword of justice leap from its scabbard at the very mention of my name? And these men, these pestilential humours in the body politic, is there not quite as much hope that justice will be done them, when collected in one mass, as when scattered abroad,to pollute the fountains of society, and spread their poisonous influence through the streams of social compact and order? As to this mode of living, it is the danger alone that furnishes to me its only charms; it is not for the sake of wealth—it is not for the bad eminence of being a sovereign among pirates; but it is because, when once unfortunate circumstances have made a man an outlaw, it is difficult to obtain admission into the pale of society; it is because I would willingly set my life on the hazard of a shot to free myself from misfortunes, which have followed close upon my heels ever since I had an existence, that you find me a pirate, a native of Barataria.”

“If I understand you, then,” I replied, “you would not hesitate to leave this place and these wretches to their fate, if the past could be buried in oblivion—if your offences against the laws could be cancelled and your safety insured.”

“Were there none concerned but myself,” he answered, “you would be perfectly correct; but these men I must not forsake—their safety must depend on my own. As to the rest, I can easily hear your implied assertion of guilt without being offended; it is scarcely possible for you to feel otherwise; but it is inevitable necessity alone that compels me to endure my present situation; most gladly would I quit it, but the hope is vain, and I must content myself to use my influence in restraining the atrocities of these men in the most effectual manner possible.” “Perhaps not,” I replied. “I know the chances are indeed small, but I think there is one in which exists a possibility of effecting your wishes; and I should be happy could I be the instrument of accomplishing them.” “Name but the means by which it can be effected,” answered he with earnestness, “and I shall feel myself for ever indebted to you.”

“I shall deal frankly with you,” I replied: “I know not on which side your feelings are enlisted in the contest which is at present raging between the United States and Great Britain; but I shall put the question plainly. Would you yourself embark in the cause of America, and use your exertions to induce your men to do so, if an act of pardon and oblivion could be obtained under the Presidential seal? ”

“Most willingly,” he answered; “let but the name of pirate be buried, and I pledge myself that these men will be found among the bravest defenders of the republic.”

“Then my best exertions shall be used in your behalf—your services will soon be wanted where they will produce the most effect. Great Britain is fitting out a powerful fleet in the West Indies, which is probably destined against New Orleans, and, from your thorough acquaintance with the whole coast of the Gulf, and the necessity of collecting a formidable force at that point, the Government of the United States would no doubt listen favourably to whatever overtures might be made in your behalf. There is one favour, however, which I shall insist upon from you, and which you will not refuse—a relation of the circumstances which induced you to become what you now appear to have been from youth, a pirate by profession.”

“By profession,” said he, smiling. “l am a pirate; but the time was when I was not. If it will be gratifying to you to have a knowledge of some of the events of my past life, I shall cheerfully comply with your request, although the recital will call to my mind scenes which have wrung my heart to its centre.

The county of Westchester, in the State of New York, was my birthplace : my name is Mortimer Wilson. In what manner I acquired my present name, you will learn from my story: it is sufficient that to the pirate I am known only as Lafitte. If to be born of honest, industrious, and respectable parents, be an advantage, that advantage I enjoyed;—if to be born of parents destitute of wealth, and compelled by misfortune to use every exertion to support a helpless and dependent family, be a disadvantage, I suffered. One of my earliest impressions, and one that I distinctly remember, was a determination to be rich; for my parents felt the evils of poverty, and riches, I imagined, furnished the means of gratifying our wishes, of whatever kind they might be. I had an uncle, living in the city of New York, a merchant of respectability, who, when on a visit to my father’s, noticed with pleasure my playfulness, repartee, and independence, and obtained my parents’ consent that I should live with him in the city, with the intention of introducing me into the mercantile business, should my progress answer the expectations he had formed of me. I was then ten years old, and my situation with my uncle was as agreeable as I could wish. His family was small, an only son and daughter, affectionate and lovely; they treated me as a brother, while, being a few years younger than myself, I obtained a complete ascendency over them; and I can safely say I knew no greater delight than witnessing and partaking in their happiness. I gave my uncle, by my proficiency in my studies, by my undeviating attention to business, and the love felt for himself and family, the highest satisfaction; nor do I remember his giving me a single unpleasant word during the whole time I resided under his benevolent and hospitable roof.

I had now reached my nineteenth year—and my uncle made me proposals of establishing me in the business on my own account, if I chose; generously offering to furnish me with whatever capital it might require—but observing, at the same time, that if it was agreeable to me, he should prefer having me continue the head of the establishment with which I was well acquainted, as it was his intention to retire from business, in favour of his son, and that nothing could please him better than to see us together advancing the interest he had laboured to acquire and promote. I assured the good man that nothing could be more gratifying to me than such an arrangement, and that his pleasure should always be a law to me; while I flattered myself that I had secured the great object of my wishes, wealth and happiness.

At, this juncture, my uncle received intelligence respecting a mercantile house in Charleston, with whom he was engaged in extensive transactions, that made it necessary for me to repair immediately to that place—and no time was lost in making preparations for my departure. I sailed for Charleston—reached that city in safety—accomplished the object of my mission—transmitted an account of my success to my uncle through the post-office—and while waiting with impatience the sailing of the vessel which was to convey me to the place where my fondest wishes were concentrated, I was attacked by the fever of the country, which raged with such violence that I was entirely deprived of my reason, and, for weeks, the friends with whom I resided despaired of my life. A strong constitution, however, enabled me to survive the attack, and, after some time, gleams of returning recollection and reason began to shoot across my bewildered imagination and memory. The first that I can distinctly recollect was a strong impression of a beautiful form which appeared to be hovering around me and administering to my wants. My imagination had converted her into an angelic being; and I fancied that I had already passed the tremendous ordeal which awaits the departed spirit—had been admitted into the mansions of the blessed, and that the form which I had beheld was my guardian angel, sent to console me for the troubles of the world I imagined I had left. Perhaps the sweet music of the piano, which, from the adjoining room, distinctly reached me, as fairy fingers pressed the keys, contributed to the delusion; for that I conceived to be the music of heaven’s minstrelsy. Returning reason, however, soon dispelled all these illusory dreams; and instead of a disimbodied spirit, I found myself a tenant of earth, and subject to the mutations of time.

I said all those illusory dreams were dispelled; but it was not so—there was one from which I could not, from which I did not wish to awake; with steps light and noiseless as those made by fairy feet— eyes brilliant and sparkling, as any that ever sparkled under the delightful skies of Italy—a form which, accustomed as I had been to the beauties of the North, far surpassed all that my imagination had ever conceived—this lovely creature watched over my bed, and though to me utterly unknown, manifested a sympathetic feeling for my welfare, a solicitude for my recovery, which endeared her to me, and caused my heart to flutter with an emotion it had never before felt.

Unable to lift my hand or utter a syllable without the greatest difficulty, I lay for hours viewing with rapture the angelic creature who hung over me, as she bathed my burning brow in the cooling fluid, or administered the reviving cordial; and when I had recovered strength enough to make the attempt of expressing my gratitude, she placed her white taper fingers on my lips, and with an accent which like an electric shock thrilled through every fibre of my own heart, required me to be silent.

“I am your physician,” added she, smiling, “and if you wish restoration to health, (heaven knows how much pleasure such an event would give!) you must follow my directions implicitly.” I moved my head in token of submission to her will, pressed her hand to my lips, and the blushing girl hastily quitted the chamber. The mystery which I had been unable to solve when reflecting on my fair attendant, as before my sickness I had never seen her, was unravelled when I had so far recovered as to be able to converse. I found myself under the hospitable roof of Colonel Mornton, a brother to the merchant on whose account I had visited Charleston, and to whose house I had been removed on account of its more retired character, and where I should be less liable to be disturbed by the noise and bustle of the city.

My fair attendant was an only daughter o/ the colonel’s, who had arrived in the city from a visit to Columbia during the first week of my sickness, and by devoting herself to my attendance, had voluntarily deprived herself of the charms which that season of the year presents to youth, when all its mirth and gayety, and crowded theatres, brilliant assemblies, splendid parties, and the fascinating ball-room, more than compensate for the deserted and dreary appearance of the city during the season when the malaria compels the inhabitants to seek refuge in the elevated parts of the country, or by a journey to the north, combine objects of pleasure and health, which are frequently so widely separated.

My health returned slowly—but never were days more delightfully passed than those which glided away in the company of Mary Mornton, the lovely person who had obtained so complete an ascendency over my whole soul, that the thought that returning health, much as I desired it, would hasten my separation from one whose presence I felt to be absolutely necessary to my happiness, threw a chill over my feelings; and I dismissed the unwelcome intruder as an enemy to my peace and happiness.

I had now so far recovered as to be able to receive company, and even to attend a few select parties, where I was introduced to a young lady, an intimate acquaintance of the lovely Mary’s, of the greatest accomplishments, and, as she fondly imagined, unrivalled beauty. On the most friendly terms with Mary, Miss Hanson was always received with pleasure at Colonel Mornton’s, and now that the rounds of pleasure had once been enjoyed, she became a daily visitor. Intent only on the transcendent excellence of the lovely Mary, I had no time to make comparisons between them; and had I undertaken it, they would undoubtedly have been partial. A brother of Miss Hanson’s, whose name was George, was frequently a visitor at my residence, sometimes in company with his sister, sometimes without; and although his cold, haughty, supercilious, and overbearing manner was far from agreeable, yet his rank, his station in society, and his prospects in life, contributed to give him an ascendency in all parties, which few felt inclined to dispute.

He had returned from Europe a short time previous to my arrival in Charleston, and the imposing superiority which a sea-voyage across the Atlantic enables a man to assume as a judge of manners and men, I concluded might not wholly have been laid aside. As it concerned myself personally, I cared but little about him; but there was one subject which gave me more uneasiness than any other, and that was the marked attention he paid to Mary. Though I closely observed her, I could see nothing in her conduct to justify any apprehensions—yet I confess i felt it would be morally impossible for her to reject the superior advantages which a union with this man presented above any I could offer.

“That is the most charming creature I ever saw,” said George to me, one evening, as we were together sitting on a sofa, while Mary and his sister were playfully discussing some question of fashion or taste, in another part of the room; “I have visited Paris and London, but, among all their fashionable circles and their beauties, I never saw a Mary Mornton. Who could have thought that the rosebud that I so heedlessly overlooked three years ago, when I left Charleston for Europe, would so soon have expanded into so beautiful a flower?”

“Perhaps no one,” I replied, with an air of indifference which ill accorded with my feelings. The compliment my heart told me was just, and I was inwardly pleased to hear it awarded, although I felt fearful of the result, should his preference be openly avowed. “Mary is indeed a fine girl—but I must be permitted to say the same of the greater part of the Charleston fair with whom I have had the happiness to become acquainted.”

“Ah, Mortimer,” said George, tapping me on the shoulder, “that maidenly blush of yours gives the lie to the pretended coldness of your words; but you had better be upon your guard, and not suffer her to run away with your heart—for it is well understood that Mary is to be mine.”

I started to my feet as he pronounced the last words, and was in the act of demanding an explanation, when I fortunately reflected that, by so doing, I must disclose what I most wished to conceal, and that I had no right whatever to make the demand; so I carelessly answered him, “that I did not consider my heart in so much danger as he supposed,” and that “Mary, if he obtained her, would doubtless make an agreeable companion.”

At this moment, Mary came laughing up to us, and taking my hand, “Mortimer,” said she, “our Miss Hanson insists on our passing the afternoon with her to-morrow, and I have promised you shall comply with her request. May I say you will do so?”

Certainly,” I answered; “l am too much indebted to you to make objections to what you propose.”

“Then I propose,” said Mary, “that you invite our friend George to forget Europe and become an American. He talks and acts as stately as if he thought of nothing less than Catholic Cathedrals, London Monuments, or Egyptian Pyramids. Now, George,” continued she, peeping archly in his face, “tell me seriously and soberly—did the belles of London or Paris eclipse the stars of our Western hemisphere?”

Upon my honour, Mary,” he replied, “the question has been fairly put, and shall be as plainly and promptly answered; it is, no! no!”

“Such, I knew, would be your answer,” replied the lovely girl. “I give you full credit for the sincerity of your reply.”

“My answer was given in sober earnest,” said George; ” and I again repeat, that the most fashionable circles of London or Paris cannot produce a parallel, in loveliness and beauty, to Mary”—

“Stop,” said she, interrupting him, “not another word of your European gallantry. Remember, Mary Mornton is a plain American girl, unaccustomed to compliments, and upon whom all such fine sayings are entirely thrown away.”

“You seem to speak, Mary,” he answered, “as if I had forgotten my country; I protest against such a supposition.”

“To-morrow we will see,” replied she, smiling, “whether I am correct.”

The carriage at this moment drove up to the door, and as I handed Miss Hanson into it, she pressed my hand and whispered, “You will not forget your promise—remember, my happiness depends on you!”

“Be assured I will not,” I hastily replied, as she drew her veil over her beautiful features—and the carriage drove off.

“Mary,” said I, after they departed, “you were too unmercifully severe with our friend George; it is well you are not a man, or you would be called out to answer for your plainness.”

“I know him well,” she answered; “at least as well as a person can know such a compound of hauteur and hypocrisy—and I neither fear nor love him. It is a disadvantage under which we girls labour, that we are obliged to listen to the impertinence of fools, and we are charged with doing so because it pleases us.”

She looked down and sighed, as she pronounced the last words; and I felt so confounded at the consequences I found myself involuntarily drawing from his assertion, ” She is to be mine,” and her implied admission, “I must endure him,” that I had no inclination to speak—and there was a silence of a minute or two.

“I see,” said Mary, “my company is tiresome after that which we have enjoyed this afternoon, and, with your leave, I will bid you good evening.”

You must not!” I replied, eagerly, taking her by the hand and reseating her beside me on the sofa; “forgive my rudeness; attribute it to ill-health; to ill-breeding; to want of confidence; to any thing rather than the cause you have named; rather than indifference to your company.”

“Well,” she replied, “I forget it all; but you must remember that as I am still your physician, you have no right to indulge in reflections which would injure your health by being pursued, and of which I am ignorant. I see,” continued she, smiling archly in my face, “you are afflicted with that awful disorder, jealousy! you are afraid of George— and well you may be, for he is a dangerous fellow.”

“I am not without apprehension on his account,” I answered. “You admit that you do not love him, and yet you are to be his.”

“To be his! Mary Mornton to be his!” interrupted the lovely girl, rising from the sofa, her countenance flushed with animation: “Who told you so! George has not dared to intimate any thing of the kind— yet why should he not! He has no idea that any person could differ with him on this subject; but he is mistaken : never, never will Mary Mornton consent to receive that man for a husband: death would be a preferable bridegroom!

But who will blame George for endeavouring to possess such excellence?” I replied. “For desiring the happiness of calling such a treasure his own! Yes, Mary, you will believe me when I tell you, that though I would rather die a thousand deaths than witness such an event, yet his feelings are so far in unison with my own, that I feel more disposed to pity than to blame him.”

“No more, Mortimer, no more; so far I will believe that you are in earnest, that you do not intend what you have said to be merely complimentary; yet, let me entreat you to be cautious: should George become apprehensive on my account, his suspicions might fall on you, and remember the consequences would be fatal.”

“Only say, Mary, that you would feel an interest in my happiness, and forgive me for doubting it, after the proofs I have already received; only say that the most ardent attachment of a person as unworthy as I am would not be viewed with indifference by you, and I could venture the displeasure of a world.”

“You are becoming too serious for a sick man,” said Mary, smiling. “But if it would be any pleasure to know that 1 feel interested in your happiness, or willing to contribute to it, (since I have never been in the habit of dissembling my sentiments,) I shall tell you frankly, that if the sincerest wishes for your welfare will be the means of averting evil, you will long be happy.”

I was in the act of attempting to express the emotions of my throbbing heart, when Mary again placed her finger on her lips, and, blushing in all the loveliness of innocence, half returned my embrace as I clasped her to my bosom.

The next day came, and, accompanied by the lovely Mary, we repaired to the mansion of General Garrett, with whom George and Miss Hanson resided. We were received with all that attention, that ease and courtly politeness, which distinguish the well-bred in all countries Miss Hanson received the compliments that were paid her without embarrassment, and George almost forgot the air of a man who had seen “vastly fine things in his day.” He soon seated himself by me. “Mortimer,” said he, “I vow I would be sick half a year myself, if by that means I could secure the company of Mary, as you have done.”

“There is little pleasure in sickness,” I replied, “yet I acknowledge it might be something of a temptation to suffer, if we could be certain of having the hours cheered by the attendance of such girls as Miss Hanson and Mary.”

“But every one,” he continued, “would not be noticed as you have been; it is natural, I believe, for the female sex to bestow their sympathy and their love on strangers, with whom they are unacquainted, and of whose character they can know nothing.”

There was an ill-natured emphasis given to this last sentence, which I suspect slightly crimsoned my countenance; but instantly regaining my composure, without appearing to notice the manner in which the words were spoken, I replied, “I believed he must be mistaken, for, although I was a stranger, and felt most sensibly the favours which had been conferred upon me by the polite attentions of the Charleston fair, yet, I never could believe that a man who conducted himself as became a gentleman, would suffer, in their estimation, by time or acquaintance.”

“Perhaps not,” answered he, coldly, “but”—

“Gentlemen,” said Mary, interrupting him, “I take the liberty of protesting in Miss Hanson’s name and my own, against your having all the conversation to yourselves; we must be permitted to assist you.” And her eyes met mine with an expression which said, “Remember— beware!

Certainly,” said I, and she took her seat between us on the sofa, while Miss Hanson placed herself beside me, and, with her usual gayety and volubility, commenced a conversation. But a few minutes, however, elapsed, before a servant entered with a message, requesting Mary to return immediately, as her mother had been taken seriously ill since we had left home. The carriage was immediately ordered, and Mary took advantage of the momentary absence of Mr. Hanson to request me to spend the afternoon where I then was.

“I shall obey you, though unwillingly,” I replied.

“I know it, I feel it,” answered she, smiling; “still you must obey. Remember, I am to be your guardian angel. Come, George, (who at that moment entered the room,) you shall be my beau; Mortimer I shall leave to make your sister amends for my absence.”

George bowed apart, and, with little abatement of his customary hauteur, handed Mary into the carriage, who kissed her hand to me as the carriage drove off; and I found myself alone with the beautiful and accomplished Miss Hanson.

“Ah, Mortimer,” said she, as we seated ourselves on the sofa, “how happy am I to have this opportunity of convincing you how much I am interested in your welfare; any thing that my fortune can command, or my influence accomplish, is at your disposal.”

“I fully estimate the value and kindness of your offer,” I replied; “and should circumstances make it necessary, shall not hesitate to avail myself of its advantages. Now, however, I must think of nothing but my return to my friends at the North, from whom I have been so long absent.”

“Then,” said she, “you intend to leave us; but, when among your friends at the North, you must remember there are some at the South by whom you will never be forgotten.” “And, there are some,” I replied, “who, while this heart shall continue to beat, will be remembered with feelings of purest delight; and, though I am compelled to leave them now, they will never be effaced from my recollection.”

I spoke with an earnestness and warmth of which I was insensible, till I perceived the cheek of my fair companion suffused with blushes— and I hastened to correct the impression which I found I had made, by saying, “that the kindness and tenderness with which I had been treated since I had arrived in Charleston, could not but leave the most lively impressions on my mind with regard to its inhabitants, and would ever be remembered with gratitude.”

“Is that the only emotion which will be excited by a remembrance of the South?” asked she, with a look and manner which left no room to mistake the meaning.

“I can hardly say,” I replied, “what feelings will predominate when reason shall be left to her sway: for here I feel more under the influence of my passion than my judgment.”

“You appear determined,” said she, smiling, “to remain ignorant of the subject on which I feel a trembling anxiety to know your opinion; but whatever indifference you may manifest, my feelings will not permit me to remain in suspense. Perhaps what I have to say will lessen me in your estimation; perhaps will by you be viewed as a violation of female propriety and decorum; but I throw myself on your mercy for forgiveness. Mortimer, I Love you!—cannot live without you—you will love me—you will make me yours—then my, whole life shall be spent in making you happy!”

Heavens! what a moment! Her beautiful countenance, flushed with the purple glow of love, reposed on my bosom, and when she threw her arms around my neck, as she finished speaking, her snowy bosom throbbed against my beating heart with electric effect; her coral lips almost touched mine, and he must have been more or less than man who could have refrained from invading their vermilion sanctuary. But the hallucination was but momentary; reason assumed her station as umpire, and the passions, victorious as they had been for a moment, now bowed in quiet submission to her sceptre. A single recollection of Mary, lovely Mary, artless and unassuming, would have sufficed to have broken the chains which a thousand such females might have woven around me. But though I could not love, most sincerely did I pity her.

“My dear Miss Hanson,” I replied, as soon as I could summon resolution enough to trust my voice, “most readily do I forgive you. I know full well the emotions of the heart are uncontrollable; and you must forgive me for saying, that you have addressed me on a subject of which I as yet know nothing, and, therefore, can say nothing, except that I shall always remember with pleasure the happy hours I have spent in your company; and, that in the important affairs of love, I must be guided by the wishes of that man who has been to me a second father, and one on whom I am dependent.”

“And is it money, then, that influences you in your desires?” she replied with earnestness. “You shall have it, to the extent of your wishes; why continue to be dependent on him, when it is so easy to be independent?”

“Ah, my dear Annette,” I answered, “the warmth of your feelings makes you overlook the consequences that would flow from my acceptance of your proposals; you have forgotten that I am young, unsettled in business, destitute of property, without powerful friends, and dependent for every thing; what would the world say? what would her parents say, should the rich, the gay, and the accomplished Annette Hanson throw herself away on a stranger, friendless and homeless?â€?

“Say not,” said she, “that you are friendless; that will never be! All your excuses only show that you do not, that you will not love me; but I deserve to be miserable. Some more fortunate, but not faithful, girl will be blessed with that affection, that love for which I in vain have [pur]sued. Be that as it may, I trust you will be happy!”

She burst into tears, and sobbed aloud.

“Lovely girl,” said I, “my heart bleeds for you. Oh, cease those tears, I am unworthy of you—forget me—let some more deserving youth share that worth which kings might be proud to possess.”

My feelings at that moment were indescribable. Most sincerely did 1 sympathize with her: I could hardly forbear weeping. At this instant, George entered the room; he looked at us with the greatest surprise.

“I perceive,” said he, “that I have intruded.”

“Not at all,” I replied, “your presence will be a relief to us both With your leave, Annette, I will retire, and call again to-morrow, when I shall hope to find you in better health and spirits!

Never,” she answered; “but go—I shall expect you to-morrow.”

I returned home. But my perturbed imagination forbade mo to rest, and when at last my feverish anxiety overcame my senses, and I slumbered for a few moments, my terrific visions were far more intolerable than the waking reality. The image of the lovely Mary flitted before me; but impassable gulfs separated me forever from her; while the beautiful and weeping Annette, with dishevelled hair and disordered dress, seemed to reproach me with something of which I was unable to form the most distant idea. Morning at last arrived, and the breakfast table, with the cheerful influence and delightful company of Mary, soon dispelled these unpleasant impressions, and restored the usual elasticity of my spirits.

“Well, Mortimer, you had a pleasant visit yesterday,” said Mary, as, after breakfast, we took our customary walk in the garden, and seated ourselves beneath a cluster of rose-bushes. “Your countenance showed the impression made upon your heart.”

“If my countenance was a true index to my feelings,” I answered “I must have looked frightful, for my impressions since yesterday have been none of the most delightful.”

“I cannot say the same,” replied Mary, laughing, “for I have fairly obtained a new lover, one who thinks he combines in his own person all the excellences of his sex; and one who would not hesitate to blow out the brains of any one who should dare to hint that he was mistaken in his estimate of himself; yes, George has at length stooped so low as to tell Mary Mornton he loves her.”

“If that is the case,” I answered in the same careless manner, “I may as well give up my pretensions at once, and the sooner I leave Charleston the better.”

“You have spoken the truth,” said Mary, her countenance at once assuming the utmost seriousness; “the sooner you leave Charleston the better—danger may attend you here—perhaps misery to us both.”

“Mary,” said I, seizing her hand, “for heaven’s sake explain yourself! Suspense is worse than certainty.”

“I have, for some time,” continued she, ” seen to what point his attentions were directed, and my object in leaving you with Miss Hanson when I was sent for yesterday, was to give him an opportunity to throw in his declaration, as the lawyers call it, if he chose, and, by at once letting him know his case was hopeless, put an end to the tedious formalities of such a suitor.”

“I have the utmost confidence, Mary, in your management,” I replied; “but I have formed a very wrong opinion of George, if he is a person, who, when his pride and will, if nothing more, are interested, will quietly take ‘no’ for an answer, and tamely surrender such an object of pursuit.”

“You are perfectly correct,” answered Mary; “from all fools, good Lord, deliver me! but especially from a self-conceited, obstinate one. George looked at me with an air of some surprise, when I coolly and plainly rejected him; it was but a moment, however. ‘I know,’ said he, ‘that you can have no possible objection to me; but perhaps you are already prepossessed in favour of some one else; perhaps that beggarly speculator from the North has been tampering with your heart, and insinuating himself into your good graces; but whoever he may be, he will ere long repent his interference.’ ‘Mr. Hanson,’ I answered, ‘you are much mistaken if you suppose that such threats or dictation can produce any effect on the mind of Mary Mornton, except it is contempt for their author—my heart is as yet my own, but when I see fit to bestow that, with my affection, on any individual, I shall do it without considering myself accountable to you or any other person, my dear parents excepted.’ ‘You appear so well when angry,’ answered George, ‘that I am sorry to leave you; yet before I go, I must assure you, that I will bear no rival in my love to you.’ So saying, he left the room, and I feel confident,” continued Mary, “that evil awaits you, if you remain in this place; remember, you are under my directions, and I command you to depart for the North immediately—yes, to-day, if possible—that fellow would not hesitate to sacrifice you to his passions.”

“And is it you, Mary, that commands me to leave you? Is it you that would bid me forsake the society of the only person that can make life tolerable? Is it you that would interpose a distance between us, that might for ever prevent our union? and all because a blustering braggadocio threatens. No, let me perish first—I fear him not.”

“You talk like a boy,” said Mary, smiling. “I am not so willing to part with you as you seem to suppose, and it is to prevent a separation, which I, of all others, should most dread, that I have laid my commands upon you; and you will obey—I know you will, and live for happiness and—Mary!

Bewitching girl,” I replied, “you shall be obeyed, however painful your request—but think not that I can absent myself long from you: I shall soon return, be the consequences what they may.”

“When you receive my leave,” said the lovely creature, “when I have fairly disposed of George—not before, remember, not till you have my leave—if you do, it is at your peril.”

At that moment, a servant arrived with a request for me to return to the house, as a gentleman wished to speak with me. I accompanied him, and at the door was met by Mr. Mornton, who informed me that Mr. Hanson had called to see me, and was then at my lodging-room, where I repaired immediately, and found George in waiting. The cold and insolent manner with which he received my salutation, the changeableness of his countenance, and the snakelike glance of his eyes, intimated plainly the gale of the passions within.

“I concluded, after you left us, last evening,” said he, “to pay my compliments to you in person, this morning. I presume we shall remain uninterrupted.â€?

Certainly, sir, if you wish.”

“I do,” he replied, and I stepped to the door and turned the key.

“Now,” said he, “I demand, without circumlocution or equivocation, the reasons of your attempt to ingratiate yourself into the affections of Miss Mornton, when you must have known her engagements to me, and especially after you had pledged yourself to my sister.”

“Your language,” I replied, “is so extraordinary and unbecoming a gentleman, that unless you state on what authority you make the demand, you will excuse me if I take no further notice of it or you, except to show you the door, where the cool air might benefit you, by producing a return of your reason.”

“I will let you know,” said he, his countenance pale with rage, “before I leave you, that I am not to be trifled with. I demand the satisfaction of a gentleman, for the imposition you have practised on my sister, and are now trying to react on Miss Mornton.”

“If your sister has given you information that has led to this conduct, she has grossly belied both herself and me. I, however, do not believe a syllable of it respecting her; and so far as Miss Mornton is concerned, she is at hand, and can speak for herself.”

I moved towards the door, when he sprang from his seat, placed his back to the door, drew a pistol from his pocket, and swore most tremendously that but one of us should leave the room alive.

“I despise you and your threats,” said I, “and would leave the room this moment in spite of you, were it not that I have no wish to injure you, and I do not intend to give you the chance of murdering me.”

“I need not,” said he, “the information of any one to assist me in detecting your villany; and no one knows my intention of giving it the chastisement it deserves. Your impudent coolness shall avail you nothing; you have affronted me in such a manner, that nothing but blood can efface the stain; you have stepped between me and happiness, and when I thought that I had secured Miss Mornton, instead of meeting a return of my love, I found that you, miscreant as you are, had interfered, and I received nothing but cold incivility and reproach!”

“Your epithets, of which you are so liberal,” I replied, “you had better reserve, in order to apply where they are more needed; and as to the satisfaction you require, you can have all that the law will give, and that is all that you will get from me. I have no intention of setting myself up as a mark for every coward to shoot at.”

“Hell and furies!” exclaimed he, gnashing his teeth with rage, “do you think to escape me in this manner? No!—Miss Mornton is too high a prize for me to part with thus easily. I again repeat, that both of us leave not this room alive; here is a pair of pistols—take your choice, and defend yourself, or, by the powers above, you shall feel the contents of the other.”

I was unarmed—my pistols, which lay in the drawer, were unloaded, and he had so much the maniac in his actions, that I thought it prudent to accept the weapon offered, but with a determination to use it only in self-defence. He cocked the pistol himself, as he handed it to me, and I had walked part of the distance across the room, to resume my seat, when, happening to cast my eyes towards him, I perceived him in the act of firing. “Stop,” said I, as I faced him and almost involuntarily presented my pistol. He fired: the ball slightly grazed the side of my head, and lodged in the wall of the chamber. Perceiving that he had not accomplished his design, and mad with desperation, he threw the pistol with all his might at my head. It struck my right arm near my shoulder, and gave it such a shock that the pistol, which I still held in my hand, was discharged; the ball passed through his heart! and he dropped dead upon the floor! I flew to him, raised him up, placed him on the sofa, and, unlocking the door, cried for help. The report of the pistols alarmed the family, and I was met at the staircase by Mr. Mornton, Mary, and the servants that attended the house.

“For God’s sake, Mortimer,” said Mr. Mornton, “what is the matter? You are as pale as death!”

“Follow me, and see for yourselves,” I answered.

The struggles of death had ceased when we entered the chamber; but the floor was swimming with blood, in the midst of which lay the pistols he had intended should accomplish his murderous design; while his right hand still grasped the dagger he had convulsively seized at the moment of falling. I briefly related the circumstances that led to the encounter and its fatal termination, and requested Mr. Mornton to give me his advice respecting the line of conduct I should pursue, promising to abide by his decision, let it be what it might.

“Mortimer,” answered Mr. Mornton, “I believe you to be innocent, and that this man has met the fate he intended for yourself; but can you establish your innocence? Your declaration will avail you nothing; his friends are powerful; you are comparatively a stranger; the penalty of the law will overtake you, unless you prevent it by an instantaneous flight. Most sincerely do I regret this unhappy occurrence, since it leaves but the alternative of flight or disgraceful death! A vessel of mine has left the wharf this morning, but will not pass the bar till you can reach it;—it is bound to Havana;—from that place you can reach New York without difficulty—or should circumstances render it possible for you to appear in this place in safety, most gladly would we welcome you to our mansion. You will decide immediately; I will myself make the necessary arrangements for seeing you on board the vessel, if you choose—there you will be in safety; if otherwise”—

I looked at Mary. She understood my meaning.

“Fly, Mortimer,” said the lovely girl, “fly! fly! Would to heaven I could fly with you! preserve a life dear to others as yourself—this storm will blow over and we will yet be happy! Innocence, in this case, will avail you nothing—you will find your enemies powerful and implacable!”

“Mary,” said I, as I clasped her convulsively in my arms, “I go because you command; because you desire; but I feel as though I should subject myself to a living death by a separation from you. Farewell! and whatever may happen, remember that Mortimer is yours and yours alone!

I carried the fainting girl in my arms to her chamber, again pressed her to my bosom, and again kissed her snowy forehead; tore myself from her, and, in company with Mr. Mornton, hastened to the wharf.

“This gentleman,” said Mr. Mornton, to a number of boatman, who were standing on the wharf, “wishes to get on board the Speedwell before she passes the bar—name your price, and huzza for the oars.”

“We would willingly oblige you, sir,” answered one of them, “but it is plainly impossible. Father Neptune himself could not work a boat against this swell.”

“It must be done,” answered Mr. Mornton.

“It cannot be done,” answered the other.

“It will be done,” replied Mr. Mornton. “Remember, you make your own terms;” taking, as he spoke, a handful of silver dollars from his pocket.

“These fellows look tempting—to your oars, lads!”

“But, if we take three times the usual fee, you will not think it unreasonable; we cannot afford to run the risk of becoming food for sharks, in such a sea as this, for nothing.”

“Here is four times the usual amount—away, as for life or death,” said Mr. Mornton.

I pressed Mr. Mornton’s hand, entreated him to neglect no exertion in my favour, and sprang into the boat, which immediately shoved off.

“Mr. Mornton is quite flush with his cash this morning,” said the master of the boat, “but he knows his object—some speculations to add to his already overgrown fortune.”

“When George gets Mary, it will go as fast as it comes,” answered his companion.

“George doesn’t catch the finest girl in Charleston so easy,” replied the other. “I heard one of the clerks say, at the warehouse, this morning, that a young merchant from the North was all the toast now, and, if that is the case, you may depend, George’s hopes are all aback.”

“Hard to the starboard!exclaimed the master. At that moment a wave struck us, and half-filled the boat with water. “Bale away, lads! One more such wave as that, and we shall be drinking grog in Charon’s ferry-boat.”

We however reached the Speedwell in safety, at the instant they were getting under way, and I bade a sad adieu to the place where were concentrated all my hopes, and all my fears; and I retired to the cabin, reflecting that I was separated from Mary! perhaps forever!

Our voyage was prosperous until we arrived at Key West, where we were hailed by a small black-looking vessel, bearing the Spanish colours, and ordered to send our papers on board. Some little delay occurred, and a shot was fired at us, which passed between our masts, without however doing any injury. The mate went on board with the papers, but was instantly seized and stabbed to the heart, while the rest of the boat’s crew attempted to save themselves by jumping overboard, with the hope of reaching the Speedwell by swimming. But one reached us, as repeated volleys of musketry were fired at them from the pirate, and they sank forever, while the waves were crimsoned with their blood. It was a dead calm at the time, and two boats, filled with ferocious-looking wretches, had left the vessel, evidently with the intention of boarding us; and they succeeded, after a desperate conflict, in which they lost nearly one-half of their crew. When they at last reached the deck, we were instantly overpowered; but what was the fate of the vessel I knew not, as I was knocked down at the termination of the conflict, and remained senseless for several hours. When I recovered, I found myself on board the pirate, with several of the gang standing round me, and to my inquiries, what had become of the Speedwell and crew, only one answer was given. “We sent them to h—ll, together, for their obstinate resistance, and you would have been there, too, had we not, owing to the confusion of the moment, and your being covered with blood, mistaken you for our lieutenant, and brought you on board before we discovered our error; but, cheer up, you are now safe, for d**n it, bad as we are, we would not murder any one in cold blood; but when our blood is up, look to the consequences.”

The vessel, with the plunder, was taken in among the keys, which line the coast of Cuba, and on one of which these villains had an establishment, where myself, a few of the crew, and part of the armament of the vessel were landed, while she proceeded to Havana to dispose of the plunder of the Speedwell. Day after day, and month after month, passed heavily away, and no information whatever was received of the vessel which had left us in that desolate and hopeless condition. They became raving, and it required the exertion of all the influence I possessed to keep them from murdering each other. Nor were my sensations much more agreeable than those of my companions. I reflected almost to madness, on the opinion that must be formed of me by my indulgent uncle in New York, and my adored Mary and her benevolent father in Charleston. There was no possibility of escaping from this place, as there was not wood enough on the island to construct a raft which would float a man across the waters which separated us from the land. After we had remained nearly half a year, and every project of escape had failed, a boat which had drifted from some wreck, during a storm, had struck upon the island, and its appearance was hailed with rapture by myself and my companions. In this we coasted Cuba, and arrived at Havana. Here I found the seaman who had taken care of me when on board the piratical vessel, suffering under the effects of the wound received from me, in defending the Speedwell. From him I learned, that the piratical vessel, immediately on her arrival at Havana, was seized, on the complaint of a British agent, for an attack upon one of his majesty’s vessels, and, in consequence had, with her crew, been sent to Jamaica for trial. They were found guilty of the most barbarous crimes, and every man of them executed. He was himself fortunately on shore at the time of the seizure, and by that means escaped. I had learned from my companions, that the crew of the Speedwell were all destroyed, and after taking out such articles as were deemed most valuable, she was scuttled and sunk. Once at Havana, my resolutions were soon formed, and a favourable opportunity occurring, I determined to repair immediately to Charleston, in defiance of every danger. The image of the lovely Mary, pale and weeping, as when she bid me farewell, haunted my imagination, whether sleeping or waking. I had suffered so much during my residence among the morasses of Cuba, and my complexion had by constant exposure become so sunburnt, that I was confident, should secrecy be necessary on my arrival, I stood in little danger of detection. But, be that as it would, there was no danger I would not have cheerfully encountered, to have listened to the sweet accents and enjoyed the delightful company of Mary. I left Havana, and reached Charleston in safety. The vessel anchored in the bay, and, with a palpitating heart, I proceeded in the boat for the city. It was dark when I presented myself at the door of Mr. Mornton’s residence, and, with a faltering hand, knocked for admittance.

The door was opened by the same servant who attended when I had before resided with Mr. Mornton. I was shown into the same room where I had so often sat, but, on inquiry for Mr. Mornton, I was informed that he was out on business, but would return in an hour. I told the servant I would wait his arrival—took a volume which was lying there, and seated myself with apparent composure. Everything in the room reminded me of her I most wished to see; a beautiful full length portrait of her was suspended over the mantelpiece, and on opening the book, the first thing that met my eyes were the following lines, in the well-known hand of Mary:

Ah, why delay his wished return? Forgive me,
Oh, forgive me, Mortimer, but joys deferr’d
Make my heart sick, and hope, with all its powers,
Can scarce suppress the anguish of my bosom!
But peace each murmur, fate itself may strive,
But cannot sever thy faithful heart from mine.

The agony of suspense was intolerable; I longed to inquire for Mary, but prudence forbade. I perceived that the servant had entirely forgotten me, and I waited impatiently the arrival of Mr. Mornton. I walked the room; I listened to every step, with the hope of catching the sound of the light and fairy footfall of the lovely Mary. The hour passed away, and Mr. Mornton arrived. I spoke; he knew my voice instantly, and seized me by the hand.

“Good heavens! Mortimer, can it be you?” exclaimed Mr. Mornton, “or is it only an illusion, to mock my senses and aggravate my misfortunes?”

“It is no illusion—I am your own Mortimer,” I replied. “Oh! where is Mary? for heaven’s sake, let me see her!—let me fly to her!”

“Good God!” answered Mr. Mornton, grasping my hand convulsively, ” are you yet to hear the fatal story? are you yet to learn that Mary is in heaven? Yes, she is gone—gone forever!” added he, as the tears trickled down his cheeks, and fell warm upon my hand.

I could not weep; I could not speak; and it was with difficulty I could support myself from sinking to the floor. The agonies of expiring nature, I am convinced, will never exceed those of that moment, when every prospect of happiness was at one fell blow destroyed, and hope, the last anchor of the wretched, torn from its moorings.

“O God!” I cried, when my agitated feelings permitted the power of utterance, “why was I spared to endure this extremity of wretchedness? why was I preserved to suffer the agonies of a living death?”

“My dear Mortimer, accuse not Omnipotence rashly,” said Mr. Mornton. “I loved her as well as you. Ah! I feel too well I loved her; my heart was bound up in the happiness of Mary; but nothing earthly could save her from the conqueror’s arms. Oh ! Mortimer, these hands closed her eyes; this bosom received her last sigh; and her dying exclamation, ‘My dear father, I am hastening to the company of my dear Mortimer!’ still sounds in my ears.”

His grief found vent in tears; and I, summoning all my fortitude, ventured to make an inquiry respecting her decease, and the time the heart-rending event took place.

“You well remember,” answered Mr. Mornton, “the manner in which you left Charleston. Though it was immediately known that Mr. Hanson fell by your hands, my endeavours were successfully exerted in preventing any attempt to pursue you till you were safe beyond their reach; and as the event was one of no uncommon occurrence, it soon ceased to be a subject of remark, and Mary flattered herself that soon you would be able to return to this place, and visit your friends in safety. In the mean time, no information whatever was received of the Speedwell, and we began to fear that she had perished at sea, and all on board had been lost. It was not until after several months of painful suspense, that the account of the execution of the pirates reached us in the papers from Jamaica:—in their confession, the capture of the Speedwell and the murder of all her crew occupied a prominent place, and accounted with awful certainty for your long silence.”

I here interrupted Mr. Mornton with a short account of the loss of the Speedwell, the manner in which I was preserved from death, my residence on the island, and my escape to Havana. After I had closed, he proceeded:

“Though I endeavoured to conceal the fatal event from Mary, it was in vain; the account was copied in the City Gazette, and was immediately noticed by her. This was the termination of Mary’s hopes—the deathblow to her happiness. The roses fled from her lips; society lost its charms; she refused to see company; and was evidently hastening to that place where the weary are at rest. Although I was much alarmed about her, I could not persuade her to believe she was in danger. She always met me with a smile, but it only served to render more visible to the watchful eye of parental anxiety the hectic flush of her lily countenance. Hoping that a change of objects, a sea-voyage to New York, and the diversity of objects which we should meet with in that place, might have a beneficial effect in restoring her to health, I proposed her accompanying me to the northern metropolis. Accustomed to yield implicit obedience to my wishes, she made no objection to the proposal, although she assured me it would do her no good; and the result verified the prediction. She declined rapidly on our voyage home, was carried from the vessel to her chamber, which she never again left. Annette watched over her with the tender anxiety of a sister, and alleviated the wearisome hours of sickness by every consolation in the power of friendship to bestow. Not a murmur escaped her. ‘My dear father,’ she would say, ‘weep not for me! we shall again meet, to be forever happy.’ While life lasted, of earthly objects you were uppermost in her affections, and the last quivering accents of her tongue vibrated with your name!”

“Lovely martyr!” I exclaimed, when he ceased speaking. “Oh, why could not I have flown to thee! why could not my bosom have received the fatal arrow, that I might have accompanied thee to a brighter and a better world! And, endeared Annette, heaven will bless thee for thy kindness to my departed Mary. May thy hopes never be blighted, like those of that lovely victim; but may the smiles of heaven shower down blessings upon thee, and thy pathway of life be strewed with flowers.”

“Though I would not deny you the sacred luxury of grief,” said Mr. Mornton, “I would entreat you not to indulge in it to excess. Tears will relieve your bursting heart, and reflection will give you fortitude to support your loss. You will retire to your chamber, for we shall never be tired of conversing and thinking of our Mary.”

“No—never!” I replied, wringing his hand, as he accompanied me to my chamber, and left me, as he concluded, to my repose. Vain attempt! my burning brain forbade the most distant approach of rest. I reflected on my loss until my imagination could bear it no longer. I became bewildered, and the last that I can recollect was my smiting my forehead and exclaiming—” Oh, Mary! would to heaven I had died with thee!”

In what manner I left Charleston, is to me utterly unknown. It was on the fifth day after I landed at Charleston, that I found myself within ten miles of Savannah, in Georgia, nearly destitute of clothing, and emaciated almost to a skeleton. The events through which I had passed appeared like a distressing dream, from which I had just awakened, and it was a considerable time before I recovered a full sense of the distressing reality of my situation. I immediately proceeded to Savannah, where the kindness of a few individuals, among whom was the captain of a South American privateer, then fitting out at that port, relieved my necessities, and by his persuasion I consented to engage in the service, as second in command. I was accordingly, by my request, introduced to the crew, who were already enlisted, as a brother of the captain, recently arrived from the North; and the name of Lafitte, which I then assumed, have continued to bear. My fortunes were desperate; life was a burden; I had nothing to lose; the situation was one which well accorded with my feelings, and I did not hesitate to accept. Our commission was from the republican government of Buenos Ayres. For several years we were prosperous; I had amassed a considerable fortune, and entertained serious thoughts of returning to New York, when, one evening, as we were on a cruise off St. Domingo, looking for some merchantmen which we knew were daily expected from Spain, we fell in with a British vessel of superior force, who ordered us, under pain of being fired into, to send our boat on board and heave to till morning. Captain Lafitte refused, a short altercation ensued, and an action of the most desperate kind commenced. The British vessel was carried by boarding, after great slaughter. Captain Lafitte was killed early in the engagement—I was severely wounded by a sabre in the head—and the third in command, vindictive in disposition and exasperated by opposition, ordered no quarters to be given, and the conquered were exterminated. By this time, the government under whose orders we were acting had been put down by the Royalists, who had effected a counter revolution. We were declared to be acting without orders from any government, and, refusing to surrender ourselves for trial, were outlawed and a reward offered for our heads. It became necessary to provide for ourselves. On the death of Captain Lafitte, I succeeded to the command, and we established ourselves on the north-west part of the Gulf, and lived on our enemies. When the South Americans were again found in arms, I espoused their cause, but a majority of my men declined acting in concert with their marine, or having our fate linked with theirs. Our numbers had increased so much, that I added two vessels to our establishment, appointed Laborde second in command, and took possession of this island, where we have successfully maintained ourselves against any attempts made against us. My correspondence with New Orleans is direct, and I receive information almost weekly of the important events going on. When the present war broke out between the United States and Great Britain, we declared ourselves on the side of the former, and have acted accordingly; and, though we fight with the halter round our necks, being considered by the government as pirates, still, unless we are driven to extremities, we shall be found faithful friends to the republic.

“Thus, sir, I have given you a short account of the manner in which I became chief of this establishment; and I can sincerely say, that if our present disabilities could be removed, most cheerfully would we perform any duty which might be assigned us in aid of the government.”

“My most persevering exertions shall be used in your favour,” I replied, “and I have reason to believe with success. I am not entirely unknown to some of the officers of the government at Washington, and a representation of your wishes would undoubtedly meet with .immediate attention from the executive.”

“For your friendly proposal, I thank you,” Lafitte replied; “it promises to restore me to that world which was once enlivened by the bewitching influence of Mary.”

“Lafitte,” said I, “I should have thought that the perils you have passed through would have obliterated every trace of that victim of love from your memory.”

“When this tide ceases to ebb and flow—when yonder Mississippi rolls its turbid waters to the frozen north—when the needle forgets to point to the pole—when this heart palpitates for the last time—then, and not till then, shall I cease to remember Mary. Forget her!—impossible!”

And he drew from his bosom a small morocco case, suspended by a ribbon, from which, wrapped in a paper, he took a beautiful miniature portrait of Mary. He kissed it with enthusiasm.

“This,” said Lafitte, “that lovely girl gave me at our last sad parting, and with such a memento daily before me, could I forget her? Well, well do I remember how the angelic Mary appeared at that moment; her long hair, with curling tresses, twining around her snowy neck, and slightly veiling her swelling bosom. Pale, ah! deadly pale were those lips I had so often kissed, in the fervour of unalloyed innocence and love.”

He again kissed the portrait, and was replacing it, when I observed that the envelope contained a number of lines of poetry, in the handwriting of Lafitte. I extended my hand for the paper.

“You are welcome to read them,” said Lafitte, smiling: “it has, I believe, been observed that every poet is a lover, and, by a parity of reasoning, every lover ought to be a poet. To that title, however, I make no pretensions—it is my first and last attempt; they were written during our first cruise, and when my heart bled at every recollection of Mary!—the evening was beautiful; the moon rode in silvery splendour through the clear blue heavens; not a breath disturbed the sleeping waters, and from the bosom of the waves the stars which glittered in the skies were reflected in all their brightness. Mary occupied my thoughts; I remembered the evenings I had spent in her delightful society; I reflected on my loss until my ideas assumed this form; they were committed to paper, and have since served to enclose this precious relic of former happiness.” They were as follows:

LINES TO THE MEMORY OF MARY MORNTON.

When death, dread monarch 1 hurls the relentless dart
And lays in dust the wise, the good, the great,
Deep streams of sorrow flow from every heart,
And nations mourn beneath the stroke of fate.

When the dark tomb its jaws insatiate close
On those dear forms whose souls were twined
with ours,
No stoic’s self could blame the tear that flows,
Or chase the memory from those painful hours.

Then let the muse indulge in sighs and tears,
O’er love that’s past, and joys for ever flown—
Oh, why so short our bliss?—it but appears,
Charms our fond hearts, and Is for ever gone.

Frail are our joys as is yon opening flower
That spreads its fragrant bosom to the skies:
Plucked by the intruder’s hand, In one short hour
Its bloom is withcr’d and its fragrance dies.

Swift pass the hours where friendship spreads her charms,
In dreams of bliss the months unheeded roll;
Nor dream we aught that tear from our fond arms
Those dear delights that twine around the soul.

Oh, happy moments still I think I view,
That tender bosom, and that mild blue eye,
Melting in love—then blame the joys that flew.
With winged haste, to pass away and die.

Yes; they are dead! yet memory lives to fling
Her snowy fingers o’er the engraven heart.
And trace those lines of love, which read, will bring
Remembrance of those joys from which we
never part.

Then all farewell—or bliss, or weal, or woe—
All are forgotten, buried—from this hour;
The muse resigns her harp to tears that flow
O’er love’s sweet memory, and her pleasing
power.

As I finished reading, my eye met Lafitte’s, and I saw a tear trembling in his eye, which was hastily wiped away.

“Who comes here?” said Lafitte, lifting his glass to his eye, and mine took the same direction.

A sloop of war had just hove in view, and the British flag was flying at her peak. Lafitte replaced the portrait in his bosom, and hastened to give orders for clearing his vessels for action. This was speedily done, and all hands were at quarters. In the mean time, the sloop had anchored, and a boat, fully manned, with the white flag flying, was approaching the shore. The bearer of the flag presented Lafitte with a letter, to which he respectfully requested an answer. Lafitte ordered some refreshments for the boat’s crew, as he requested me to accompany him to the hut we had just left, and which he always occupied when on shore. He seated himself at the table, and breaking the seal, read as follows:—

To Captain Lafitte, Commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Flotilla, in the Gulf of Mexico.

Sir—His Britannic Majesty’s forces will soon visit the south-western part of the United States with an overwhelming force, and I, as commander of his Majesty’s Navy on the American station, am authorized to offer you any office in my power to bestow, together with any sum of money you may demand, if you will consent to become chief conductor of the flotilla which will be employed on this service, and which your intimate acquaintance with these shores enables you to do with so much honour to yourself and advantage to his Majesty’s service. On your answer will depend whether we are to consider and treat you as a friend or an enemy.

“With sentiments of the greatest respect, I remain your servant,

“A. Cochran, Admiral, &c.

 At Sea, September, 1814.”

Lafitte took his pen, and, without saying a word, endorsed on the margin of the letter—” No terms with tyrants!” enclosed it in an envelope, redirected it, and handed it to the officer, with “You have my answer!” The boat returned to the vessel, which immediately weighed anchor and stood out to sea.

“These fellows, if they dared, would destroy us without ceremony,” said Lafitte, as they disappeared before a fine breeze; “but when favour is wanted, they are liberal of their promises to excess, and submissive as lambs. I shall not be troubled with them anymore, unless they see fit to make an attempt upon my establishment, when they will find more sand-bars than clear seas, and more iron than silver. But there is another vessel in sight. It is my trader, from New Orleans. I shall now be able to liberate you, and, in a few days, land you at New Orleans or Mobile, as you may choose.”

Lafitte was true to his word. On the third day after the schooner’s arrival, for such was her character, I went on board, and sailed for Mobile, as from there greater facilities were offered for reaching Washington than from New Orleans. Before I left Lafitte, I was persuaded, should my mission to Washington prove successful, to return myself with the glad news to him, in person. I landed at Mobile, reached Washington, succeeded in obtaining full pardon for Lafitte and his associates, and returned to New Orleans just as the storm, which had so long been gathering, burst with all its fury upon the coast of Louisiana. I immediately returned in a government vessel to Barataria, and was received by Lafitte with the warmest expressions of gratitude. He had, a few days previous, returned from a successful cruise, in which, among others, he had succeeded in capturing a British transport, containing a large quantity of cannon, arms, &c., destined for the attack upon New Orleans. On my arrival, Lafitte called his followers together, communicated to them the intelligence of the free and full pardon guarantied them, and upon what conditions it had been received; and gave them liberty to accept or reject the offer. “Long live the President of the United States!and “Long live Lafitte!repeatedly rent the air, and they unanimously resolved to follow him as their leader.

“Brave fellows,” said Lafitte, we will prove by our swords our high sense of the favour conferred!”

All hands were now busily engaged in conveying on board the vessels the valuable property which had been collected at that place, and the quantity of specie dragged from its various lurking-places far exceeded in quantity my idea of Lafitte’s wealth. We arrived in safety at New Orleans, and were received by Commodore Patterson, who commanded on the station, with every mark of respect. Lafitte had an honourable command assigned him, and his heroic conduct, previous to and on the ever-memorable eighth of January, is already deeply marked on the page of history.

When the British, confounded at their loss and covered with disgrace, had retired to their shipping, and all apprehension of a renewed attack had subsided, New Orleans exhibited a scene of unbounded gayety and glee. A splendid ball was given in honour of General Jackson, at which most of the officers of the army and navy were present, and all the beauty and bravery of the South appeared to be concentrated on the occasion. In the course of the evening, my attention was strongly engaged by the appearance of a young lady who entered the apartment leaning on the arm of the mayor of the city. She was very beautiful, yet the freshness of youth seemed to have passed away, and a slight shade of melancholy gave her a most interesting appearance. Intimately acquainted with the mayor, I was introduced as a friend to Miss Hanson, from Charleston, and chance soon gave me an opportunity of entering into conversation with his fair companion. The conversation turned on the remarkable deliverance New Orleans had received from the invading enemy.

“I little thought,” said Miss Hanson, “when I left Charleston, two years ago, to reside in this city, that I was to witness such a scene of turmoil as that through which we have just passed; and but a few days since, my expectations were still more faint, of beholding such a happy termination of our troubles as this evening affords.”

“It did appear extremely improbable,” I replied, “and our friends in different parts of the Union will heartily rejoice at our escape from such watchwords as ‘Beauty and booty.'”

“It makes me shudder,” she answered, “to think of the danger from which we have been rescued! Not a fortnight ago, I sincerely wished myself at Charleston; but now we are safe and happy.”

“Are you a native of Charleston?” I inquired. “A few years ago, I was considerably acquainted in that city.”

“I am,” she replied; “it is but two years since, at the earnest entreaties of my uncle, who is at present mayor of this city, I left Charleston, and accompanied him here.”

“Were you acquainted at Charleston with a young lady by the name of Mary Mornton?” I asked.

“I was acquainted with her,” replied Miss Hanson; “she was my most intimate friend; but Mary reposes quietly in the grave, the victim of unfortunate love; often have I wished I could have slept with her.”

“Was her lover a villain?” I inquired.

“Oh, no! he was as far from that, as day is from night,” she answered with earnestness; “he was one of the most amiable and engaging persons I have ever seen. An unfortunate affair drove him from Charleston, and the vessel in which he sailed was taken by the pirates, and all on board murdered! Mary’s tender heart was unable to sustain the shock, and she added another to the number of those who have fallen victims to the effect of that pleasing, painful passion, faithful love. No,” she added, “it is impossible for Mortimer Wilson to be a villain.”

“You speak with warmth,” I replied; “but you are perfectly pardonable; it is so difficult to find such a person, that it is no wonder he should attract universal admiration.” She blushed deeply. “Are you acquainted with Lafitte?I continued.

“I have never seen him,” she replied, “nor have the least anxiety to become acquainted with him; after all his heroism and courage, he is but a pirate, a murderer.”

“Our hearsay opinions are sometimes incorrect,” I answered. “I once thought as you do. You shall have an opportunity of correcting your unfavourable impressions, as I have done; pardon my absence a moment.”

I flew to another room, where I found Lafitte in conversation with several officers. There was an air of melancholy in his features, and I beckoned him to follow me. He took my hand and pressed it in his.

“Once,” said he, “I, too, could be happy; but where is Mary!”

“You can still be happy, if loveliness and disinterested affection can make you so, without Mary,” I replied.

He was about to speak, but I placed my finger on my lips, and we, in a moment, found ourselves alongside of Miss Hanson.

“Miss Hanson,” said I, “I have the pleasure of making you acquainted with Captain Lafitte, of the South American service, and a volunteer in defence of our city.”

She extended her hand with a kind of involuntary shudder; but at the moment their eyes met, her countenance was instantly suffused with the deepest crimson; but as instantly became deadly pale. She tottered towards him—” Oh, Mortimer!” “Oh, Annette !”—and they were locked in each other’s arms. Her sensations were too overpowering, she fainted in his arms, and was carried to another apartment, where, when she recovered, a full understanding of the remarkable circumstances in which they found themselves and reconciliation took place. Annette’s friends were not more astonished than delighted. Lafitte had never forgotten Annette; she was second only to Mary; and if she could not fill the void in his heart which the death of that lovely victim had caused, he felt towards her all the affection which the warmest feelings of gratitude could inspire. Annette’s attachment remained unaltered; and before I left New Orleans, I saw her made the happiest of mortals, by her union with the adored Mortimer Wilson.

Extract from Hyperion by “The Patriotâ€? Josiah Quincy Jr., 1768

JosiahQuincy_byStuart1

Josiah Quincy Jr. (1744 –1775) AKA “The Patriotâ€? was an American lawyer and patriot. He was a principal spokesman for the Sons of Liberty in Boston prior to the Revolution. He was an energetic advocate for the Whig party in the pre-Revolutionary political debates. With John Adams he defended Captain Preston after the so-called “Boston Massacre,” and in 1774, when scarcely thirty years of age, he was the confidential agent in London of the patriot party. Dying on shipboard, almost in sight of his native New England coast, Josiah Quincy, J r., left behind him an infant son, whose long and honorable life, beginning before the Revolution, outlasted the war of the Rebellion. But President Josiah Quincy, of Harvard College, though he lived all his life on the family-place at Quincy, always identified himself with the city of Boston.

The commonwealth itself has no other strength or hope than the intelligence and virtue of the individuals that compose it. For the intelligence and virtue of individuals there is no other human assurance than laws providing for the education of the whole people. These laws themselves have no strength, or efficient sanction, except in the moral and accountable nature of man disclosed in the records of the Christian’s faith; the right to read, to construe, and to judge concerning which belongs to no class or caste of men, but exclusively to the individual, who must stand or fall by his own acts and his own faith, and not by those of another.The great comprehensive truths, written in letters of living light on every page of our history, — the language addressed by every past age of New England to all future ages, is this: Human happiness has no perfect security but freedom; freedom, none but virtue; virtue, none but knowledge; and neither freedom, nor virtue, nor knowledge has any vigor, or immortal hope, except in the principles of the Christian faith, and in the sanctions of the Christian religion.” ~ Josiah Quincy, October 1831; Harvard University; Dedication of the Dane Law College

Extract from “Hyperion*” by The Patriot; Josiah Quincy Jr., 1768

* The first part of this extract was published in the Boston Gazette in September, 1767, on receiving information of threatening import from England; the remainder appeared in October, 1768, when British troops had landed in Boston, and taken possession of Faneuil Hall, under circumstances intended to inspire the people with alarm and terror.—Ed.

When I reflect on the exalted character of the ancient Britons, on the fortitude of our illustrious predecessors, on the noble struggles of the late memorable period, and from these reflections, when, by a natural transition, I contemplate the gloomy aspect of the present day, my heart is alternately torn with doubt and hope, despondency and terror. Can the true, generous magnanimity of British heroes be entirely lost in their degenerate progeny? Is the genius of liberty, which so late inflamed our bosoms, fled forever?

An attentive observer of the deportment of some particular persons in this metropolis would be apt to imagine, that the grand point was gained; that the spirit of the people was entirely broken to the yoke; that all America was subjugated to bondage. Already the minions of power, in fancy, fatten and grow wanton on the spoils of the land. They insolently toss the head, and put on the air of contemptuous disdain. In the imaginary possession of lordships and dominions, these potentates and powers dare tell us, that our only hope is to crouch, to cower under, and to kiss, the iron rod of oppression. Precious sample of the meek and lowly temper of those who are destined to be our lords and masters!

Be not deceived, my countrymen. Believe not these venal hirelings, when they would cajole you by their subtleties into submission, or frighten you by their vaporings into compliance. When they strive to flatter you by the terms “moderation and prudence,” tell them that calmness and deliberation are to guide the judgment; courage and intrepidity command the action. When they endeavour to make us “perceive our inability to oppose our mother country,” let us boldly answer;—In defence of our civil and religious rights, we dare oppose the world; with the God of armies on our side, even the God who fought our fathers’ battles, we fear not the hour of trial, though the hosts of our enemies should cover the field like locusts. If this be enthusiasm, we will live and die enthusiasts.

Blandishments will not fascinate us, nor will threats of a “halter” intimidate. For, under God, we are determined, that wheresoever, whensoever, or howsoever we shall be called to make our exit, we will die freemen. Well do we know that all the regalia of this world cannot dignify the death of a villain, nor diminish the ignominy, with which a slave shall quit existence. Neither can it taint the unblemished honor of a son of freedom, though he should make his departure on the already prepared gibbet, or be dragged to the newly erected scaffold for execution. With the plaudits of his conscience he will go off the stage. A crown of joy and immortality shall be his reward. The history of his life his children shall venerate. The virtues of their sire shall excite their emulation.

If there ever was a time, this is the hour, for Americans to rouse themselves, and exert every ability. Their all is at a hazard, and the die of fate spins doubtful. In vain do we talk of magnanimity and heroism, in vain do we trace a descent from the worthies of the earth, if we inherit not the spirit of our ancestors. Who is he that boasteth of his patriotism? Has he vanquished luxury, and subdued the worldly pride of his heart? Is he not still drinking the poisonous draught, and rolling the sweet morsel under his tongue? He who cannot conquer the little vanity of his heart, and deny the delicacy of a debauched palate, let him lay his hand upon his mouth, and his mouth in the dust.

Now is the time for this people to summon every aid, human and divine; to exhibit every moral virtue, and call forth every Christian grace. The wisdom of the serpent, the innocence of the dove, and the intrepidity of the lion, with the blessing of God, will yet save us from the jaws of destruction.

Where is the boasted liberty of Englishmen, if property may be disposed of, charters suspended, assemblies dissolved, and every valued right annihilated, at the uncontrollable will of an external power? Does not every man, who feels one ethereal spark yet glowing in his bosom, find his indignation kindle at the bare imagination of such wrongs? What would be our sentiments were this imagination realized.

Did the blood of the ancient Britons swell our veins, did the spirit of our forefathers inhabit our breasts, should we hesitate a moment in preferring death to a miserable existence in bondage? Did we reflect on their toils, their dangers, their fiery trials, the thought would inspire unconquerable courage.

Who has the front to ask, Wherefore do you complain? Who dares assert, that everything worth living for is not lost, when a nation is enslaved? Are not pensioners, stipendiaries and salary-men, unknown before, hourly multiplying upon us, to riot in the spoils of miserable America? Does not every eastern gale waft us some new insect, even of that devouring kind, which eat up every green thing? Is not the bread taken out of the children’s mouths and given unto the dogs? Are not our estates given to corrupt sycophants, without a design, or even a pretense, of soliciting our assent; and our lives put into the hands of those whose tender mercies are cruelties? Has not an authority in a distant land, in the most public manner, proclaimed a right of disposing of the all of Americans? In short, what have we to lose? What have we to fear? Are not our distresses more than we can bear? And, to finish all, are not our cities, in a time of profound peace, filled with standing armies, to preclude from us that last solace of the wretched—to open their mouths in complaint, and send forth their cries in bitterness of heart?

But is there no ray of hope? Is not Great Britain inhabited by the children of those renowned barons, who waded through seas of crimson gore to establish their liberty? and will they not allow us, their fellow-men, to enjoy that freedom which we claim from nature, which is confirmed by our constitution, and which they pretend so highly to value? Were a tyrant to conquer us, the chains of slavery, when opposition should become useless, might be supportable; but to be shackled by Englishmen,—by our equals,—is not to be borne. By the sweat of our brow we earn the little we possess; from nature we derive the common rights of man; and by charter we claim the liberties of Britons. Shall we, dare we, pusillanimously surrender our birthright? la the obligation to our fathers discharged? Is the debt we owe posterity paid? Answer me, thou coward, who hidest thyself in the hour of trial; •If there is no reward in this life, no prize of glory in the next, capable of animating thy dastard soul, think and tremble, thou miscreant! at the whips and stripes thy master shall lash thee with on earth,—and the flames and scorpions thy second master shall torment thee with hereafter!

Oh, my countrymen! what will our children say, when they read the history of these times, should they find that we tamely gave away, without one noble struggle, the most invaluable of earthly blessings! As they drag the galling chain, will they not execrate us? If we have any respect for things sacred, any regard to the dearest treasure on earth; if we have one tender sentiment for posterity; if we would not be despised by the whole world; — let us, in the most open, solemn manner, and with determined fortitude, swear—We will die, if we cannot live freemen!

Be not lulled, my countrymen, with vain imaginations or idle fancies. To hope for the protection of Heaven, without doing our duty, and exerting ourselves as becomes men, is to mock the Deity. Wherefore had man his reason, if it were not to direct him? wherefore his strength, if it be not his protection? To banish folly and luxury, correct vice and immorality, and stand immoveable in the freedom in which we are free indeed, is eminently the duty of each individual at this day. When this is done, we may rationally hope for an answer to our prayers—for the whole counsel of God, and the invincible armor of the Almighty.

However righteous our cause, we cannot, in this period of the world, expect a miraculous salvation. Heaven will undoubtedly assist us if we act like men; but to expect protection from above, while we are enervated by luxury, and slothful in the exertion of those abilities, with which we are endued, is an expectation vain and foolish. With the smiles of Heaven, virtue, unanimity and firmness will ensure success. While we have equity, justice and God on our side, Tyranny, spiritual or temporal, shall never ride triumphant in a land inhabited by Englishmen.

An attentive observer of the deportment of some particular persons in this metropolis would be apt to imagine, that the grand point was gained; that the spirit of the people was entirely broken to the yoke; that all America was subjugated to bondage. Already the minions of power in fancy fatten and grow wanton on the spoils of the land. They insolently toss the head, and put on the air of contemptuous disdain. In the imaginary possession of lordships and dominions, these potentates and powers dare tell us, that our only hope is to crouch, to cower under, and to kiss, the iron rod of oppression. Precious sample of the meek and lowly temper of those who are destined to be our lords and masters!

Conclusion of “Observations on the Boston Port Bill.”

Thus, my countrymen, from the days of Gardiner and Morton, Gorges and Mason, Randolph and Cranfield, down to the present day, the inhabitants of this northern region have constantly been in dangers and troubles, from foes open and secret, abroad and in their bosom. Our freedom has been the object of envy, and to make void the charter of our liberties the work and labour of an undiminished race of villains. One cabal having failed of success, new conspirators have risen, and what the first could not make “void,” the next “humbly desired to revoke.” To this purpose one falsehood after another hath been fabricated and spread abroad with equal turpitude and equal effrontery. That minute detail, which would present actors now on the stage, is the province of History. She, inexorably severe towards the eminently guilty, will delineate their characters with the point of a diamond; and, thus blazoned in the face of day, the abhorrence and execrations of mankind will consign them to an infamous immortality.

So great has been the credulity of the British court from the beginning, or such hath been the activity of false brethren, that no tale inimical to the Northern Colonies, however false or absurd, but what hath found credit with the administration, and operated to the prejudice of the country. Thus it was told and believed in England, that we were not in earnest in the expedition against Canada at the beginning of this century, and that the country did everything in its power to defeat the success of it, and that the misfortune of that attempt ought to be wholly attributed to the Northern Colonies: while nothing could be more obvious, than that New England had exhausted her youngest blood, and all her treasures, in the undertaking; and that every motive of self-preservation, happiness and safety must have operated to excite these provinces to the, most spirited and persevering measures against Canada.

The people, who are attacked by bad men, have a testimony of their merit, as the constitution, which is invaded by powerful men, hath an evidence of its value. The path of our duty needs no minute delineation; it lies level to the eye. Let us apply, then, like men sensible of its importance, and determined on its fulfillment. The inroads on our public liberty call for reparation; the wrongs we have sustained call for justice. That reparation and that justice may yet be obtained by union, spirit and firmness. But to divide and conquer was the maxim of the devil in, the garden of Eden; and to disunite and enslave hath been the principle of all his votaries from that period to the present. The crimes of the guilty are to them the cords of association, and dread of punishment the indissoluble bond of union. The combinations of public robbers ought, therefore, to cement patriots and heroes: and, as the former plot and conspire to undermine and destroy the commonwealth, the latter ought to form a compact for opposition,— a band of vengeance.

What insidious arts, and what detestable practices, have been used to deceive, disunite and enslave the good people of this continent! The mystic appellations of loyalty and allegiance, the venerable names of government and good order, and the sacred ones of piety and public virtue, have been alternately prostituted to that abominable purpose. All the windings and guises, subterfuges and doublings, of which the human soul is susceptible, have been displayed on the occasion. But secrets, which were thought impenetrable, are no longer hid; characters deeply disguised are openly revealed; and the discovery of gross impostors hath generally preceded but a short time their utter extirpation.

Be not again, my countrymen, “easily captivated with the appearances only of wisdom and piety,—professions of a regard to liberty, and of a strong attachment to the public interest.” Your fathers have been explicitly charged with this folly by one of their posterity. Avoid this and all similar errors. Be cautious against the deception of appearances. “By their fruits ye shall know them,” was the saying of one, who perfectly knew the Human heart. Judge of affairs which concern social happiness by facts: judge of man by his deeds. For it is very certain, that pious zeal for days and times, for mint and cumin, hath often been pretended by those who were infidels at bottom; and it is as certain, that attachment to the dignity of government and the king’s service, hath often flowed from the mouths of men, who harboured the darkest machinations against the true end of the former, and were destitute of every right principle of loyalty to the latter. Hence, then, care and circumspection are necessary branches of political duty. And, as “it is much easier to restrain liberty from running into licentiousness, than power from swelling into tyranny and oppression,” so much more caution and resistance are required against the overbearing of rulers, than the extravagance of the people.

To give no more authority to any order of state, and to place no greater public confidence in any man, than is necessary for the general welfare, may be considered by the people as an important point of policy. But though craft and hypocrisy are prevalent, yet piety and virtue have a real existence: duplicity and political imposture abound, yet benevolence and public spirit are not altogether banished the world. As wolves will appear in sheep’s clothing, so superlative knaves and parricides will assume the vesture of the man of virtue and patriotism.

These things are permitted by Providence, no doubt, for wise and good reasons. Man was created for a rational, and was designed for an active being. His faculties of intelligence and force were given him for use. When the wolf, therefore, is found devouring the flock, no hierarchy forbids a seizure of the victim for sacrifice; so, also, when dignified impostors are caught destroying those whom their arts deceive, though their stations destined them to protect,—the sabre of justice flashes righteousness at the stroke of execution.

Yet be not amused, my countrymen! The extirpation of bondage and the re-establishment of freedom are not of easy acquisition. The worst passions of the human heart and the most subtle projects of the human mind, are leagued against you; and principalities and powers have acceded to the combination. Trials and conflicts you must, therefore, endure; hazards and jeopardies of life and fortune will attend the struggle. Such is the fate of all noble exertions for public liberty and social happiness. Enter not the lists without thought and consideration, lest you arm with timidity, and combat with irresolution. Having engaged in the conflict, let nothing discourage your vigour, or repel your perseverance. Remember that submission to the yoke of bondage is the worst that can befall a people, after the most fierce and unsuccessful resistance. What can the misfortunes of vanquishment take away, which despotism and rapine would spare ?” It had been easy,” said the great lawgiver Solon to the Athenians, “to repress the advances of tyranny, and prevent its establishment; but, now it is established and grown to some height, it would be more glorious to demolish it.” But nothing glorious is accomplished, nothing great is attained, nothing valuable is secured, without magnanimity of mind, and devotion of heart to the service. Brutus-like, therefore, dedicate yourselves at this day to the service of your country; and henceforth live a life of liberty and glory. “On the ides of March,”—said the great and good man to his friend Cassius, just before the battle of Philippi,—”on the ides of March I devoted my life to my country, and since that time I have lived a life of liberty and glory.”

Inspired with public virtue, touched with the wrongs, and indignant at the insults, offered his country, the highspirited Cassius exhibits an heroic example;—” Resolved as we are,”—replied the hero to his friend,—”resolved as we are, let us march against the enemy; for, though we should not conquer, we have nothing to fear.”

Spirits and genii like these rose in Rome, and have since adorned Britain; such also will one day make glorious this more western world. America hath in store her Bruti and Cassii—her Hampdens and Sydneys—patriots and heroes, who will form a band of brothers;—men, who will have memories and feelings, courage and swords,—courage, that shall inflame their ardent bosoms till their hands cleave to their swords, and their swords to their enemies hearts.

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

JohnQuincyAdamsQuotesAmericans

Of Rebellion; Resistance to Oppression:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859)

Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859)

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

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

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

THE TRANSCENDENT GLORY OF THE REVOLUTION by John Quincy Adams

john-quincy-adamsJohn Quincy Adams received a Congressional diplomatic appointment overseas to the court of Catherine the Great in Russia as secretary to the Ambassador at the age of fourteen. Adams had a long and distinguished political career serving as a foreign ambassador, Secretary of State, U. S. Representative, U. S. Senator and as the nation‘s sixth President.

Letter from John Quincy Adams to John Adams

Washington, 27th April, 1837.

Sir: In compliance with the request contained in your letter of the 27th., I enclose herewith two Autographs of Signers of the Declaration of Independence, and afterwards, successively, second and third Presidents of the United States.

The first is an original letter from John Adams to Arthur Lee, written at Brest, in France, on the 24th of March, 1779. Mr. Adams and Mr. Lee had been joint Commissioners in the Court of France, together with Dr. Benjamin Franklin, and Mr. Lee had a separate commission,’ as Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Spain. After the conclusion of the treaties of Alliance and of Commerce with France, Congress superseded the joint commission, and appointed Dr. Franklin sole Minister Plenipotentiary to France. Mr. Lee retained his commission as Minister Plenipotentiary to Spain. In February, 1779, Mr. Adams left Paris and went to Nantes, and in March to Brest, with a view to embark in the frigate Alliance, then at that port, to return to the United States. The inclosed letter was then written in answer to one received from Mr. Lee, then still remaining at Paris. The destination of the frigate Alliance was afterwards changed, and Mr. Adams, in June, 1779, embarked in the French frigate La Sensible, and returned from L’Orient to the United States. I was during all that time with him—a boy of twelve years of age.

The other autograph is the cover of a letter from Thomas Jefferson, when Secretary of State, to John Adams, then Vice-president of the United States. The whole direction is in his handwriting, and the signature of the name very strongly marks the manner of his usual sign manual.

The highest, the transcendent glory of the American Revolution 
was this—it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles 
of civil government with the precepts of Christianity. If it 
has never been considered in that light, it is because its 
compass has not been perceived. ~ John Quincy Adams 
(see more below)

These are all the autographs of the kind requested in your letter which I have here, and am now able to furnish yon. On my return to my residence in Massachusetts, I may, perhaps, find upon my files of papers some others, and will remember yon. It is as you conjecture; I have received and still frequently receive applications for autographs of persons whose names are distinguished in the history of our Revolution. I have always complied with such requests, so far as I have been able, with great pleasure, considering them as evidences not only of the sentiments cherished by the collectors of such relics towards the founders of our national independence, but of a spirit extending in the community far beyond the collectors themselves.

From the interest taken in those characters, I am encouraged to infer a widely spread attachment to the principles by which they were actuated, and which they maintained with the well redeemed pledge of their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. If, at one of the most trying periods of that conflict, in March, 1779, you find Mr. Adams complaining of the dangers which beset the cause, and the difficulties which it had to encounter from the weakness, the selfishness, flattery, vanity, and corruption of the times, yet confiding without the admission of a doubt in the ultimate success of the cause itself,—may we not take it, in these times when the cause has succeeded, and the nation, formed by the labors and sufferings of those days, has enjoyed such a career of prosperity as was never before by Divine Providence allotted to man; may we not take it as an admonition, that the adherence to those principles of our fathers has been among the principal causes of that prosperity? Should we not proceed a step further, and inquire whether that half-century of unexampled prosperity might not have been still more resplendent with glory, but for our own aberrations from those principles, the contemplation of which had fired the soul of the writer of the inclosed letter with visions of an approaching kingdom of the just, to result from the success of that Revolution? In reviewing its history and our own, while we remember with exultation and gratitude the triumphant issue of the cause, and the favors of heaven by which it has been followed, is there not remaining an augury, both retrospective and prospective, upon ourselves? That kingdom of the just, which had floated in the virtuous visions of John Adams, while he was toiling for his country’s independence,—that kingdom of our Father in Heaven, for which His Son taught us to approach Him in daily prayer,—has it yet come; and if not, have our advances towards it been as pure, as virtuous, as self-denying, as were those of our fathers in the days of their trial of adversity? And if we lay these questions in seriousness to our souls, are we not bound to interrogate them still further?—to cross-examine them if they answer with too confident assurance of their own righteousness, and ask them whether of late, and even now, we are not stationary, or more than stationary, moving backwards, from that progress towards the kingdom of the just, which was among the anticipated fruits of our Revolutionary warfare? The highest, the transcendent glory of the American Revolution was this—it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the precepts of Christianity. If it has never been considered in that light, it is because its compass has not been perceived. The letter which I now send you, short as it is, may disclose it. But this investigation opens a field of inquiry too important and too vast for a letter merely inclosing an autograph. I offer it here to your meditations, and if they should lead you to the conclusion that we are degenerating from the lofty energies of our Revolutionary principles, and falling into that retrograde movement which physical nature sometimes presents in the aspects of the planets, hope, with me, that this apparent deviation from the progress of moral and political improvement upon earth, is but an incidental anomaly in the promulgation of that great and universal law which the visions of John Adams beheld in the ancient prophecies of the kingdom of the just.

If I have given you a sermon for an autograph, I pray you to excuse me, and believe me, with great respect to be, your fellow-citizen and servant,

John Quincy Adams.

Christianity is the bedrock of our Republic! You cannot separate Christian Principles and Christianity from the government, of the Representative Republic called the United States of America. To do so, you would have to eliminate the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and our entire form of government. To say that Christianity has no place in our government or public square is entirely preposterous, ridiculous, and goes contrary to every part of our history and founding. ~ CJD

FEDERAL CABINET MINISTERS QUALIFICATIONS by Governor Morris; New York

Gouverneur_MorrisGovernor Morris Born in Morrisania, N. Y., 1752. Died there, 1816. [The Life of Gouverneur Morris. By Jared Sparks. 1832.]

TO determine who should be appointed Minister either of the Finances, of War, of the Marine, or of Foreign Affairs, may be difficult; but it may not be so difficult to determine the qualities requisite for each of these departments, and having thereby established a rule, the proper persons will be more easily ascertained. These qualities will be classed under the different heads of genius, temper, knowledge, education, principles, manners, and circumstances.

Our Minister of the Finances should have a strong understanding, be persevering, industrious, and severe in exacting from all a rigid compliance with their duty. He should possess a knowledge of mankind, and of the culture and commerce, produce and resources, temper and manners of the different States; habituated to business on the most extensive scale, particularly that which is usually denominated money matters; and, therefore, not only a regular-bred merchant, but one who has been long and deeply engaged in that profession. At the same time, he should be practically acquainted with our political affairs, and the management of public business; warmly and thoroughly attached to America, not bigoted to any particular State; and his attachment founded not on whim, caprice, resentment, or a weak compliance with the current of opinion, but on a manly and rational conviction of the benefits of independence, his manners plain and simple, sincere and honest, his morals pure, his integrity unblemished; and he should enjoy general credit and reputation, both at home and abroad.

Our Minister of War should have a mind penetrating, clear, methodical, comprehensive, joined with a firm and indefatigable spirit He should be thoroughly acquainted with the soldiery, know the resources of the country, be most intimately informed of the geography of America, and the means of marching and subsisting armies in every part of it He should be taken from the army, and have acted at some time or other as a quartermaster-general, if not as a commander in a separate department He should be attached to the civil head of the empire, and not envious of the glory of others, but ambitious of honest fame; his manners those of a generous soldier, and not of an intriguing politician; disagreeable to no considerable body or denomination of men, and by all means agreeable to the commander-in-chief.

A Minister of the Marine should be a man of plain good-sense, and a good economist, firm but not harsh; well acquainted with sea affairs, such as the construction, fitting, and victualling of ships, the conduct and maneuver on a cruise and in action, the nautical face of the earth, and maritime phenomena. . He should also know the temper, manners, and disposition of sailors; for all which purposes it is proper, that he should have been bred to that business, and have followed it, in peace and in war, in a military and commercial capacity. His principles and manners should be absolutely republican, and his circumstances not indigent

A Minister of Foreign Affairs should have a genius quick, lively, penetrating; should write on all occasions with clearness and perspicuity; be capable of expressing his sentiments with dignity, and conveying strong sense and argument in easy and agreeable diction; his temper mild, cool, and placid; festive, insinuating, and pliant, yet obstinate; communicative, and yet reserved. He should know the human face and heart, and the connections between them; should be versed in the laws of nature and nations, and not ignorant of the civil and municipal law; should be acquainted with the history of Europe, and with the interests, views, commerce, and productions of the commercial and maritime powers; should know the interests and commerce of America, understand the French and Spanish languages, at least the former, and be skilled in the modes and forms of public business; a man educated more in the world, than in the closet, that by use, as well as by nature, he may give proper attention to great objects, and have proper contempt for small ones. He should be attached to the independence of America, and the alliance with France, as the great pillars of our politics; and this attachment should not be slight and accidental, but regular, consistent, and founded in strong conviction. His manners gentle and polite; above all things honest, and least of all things avaricious. His circumstances and connections should be such, as to give solid pledges for his fidelity; and he should by no means be disagreeable to the Prince, with whom we are in alliance, his Ministers, or subjects.

OF THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM; AND OF TRAITORS by John Dickinson 1732-1808

Henry Dont Tread FlagOF THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM; AND OF TRAITORS.
[by John Dickinson 1732-1808]

KINGS or parliaments could not give the rights essential to happiness, as you confess those invaded by the Stamp Act to be. We claim them from a higher source—from the King of kings, and Lord of all the earth. They are not annexed to us by parchments and seals . They are created in us by the decrees of Providence which establish the laws of our nature . They are born with us; exist with us; and cannot be taken from us by any human power, without taking our lives. In short, they are founded on the immutable maxims of reason and justice . It would be an insult on the divine Majesty to say, that he has given or allowed any man or body of men a right to make me miserable. If no man or body of men has such a right, I have a right to be happy. If there can be no happiness without freedom, I have a right to be free. If I cannot enjoy freedom without security of property, I have a right to be thus secured. If my property cannot be secure, in case others over whom I have no kind of influence may take it from me by taxes under pretence of the public good, and, for enforcing their demands, may subject me to arbitrary, expensive, and remote jurisdictions, I have an exclusive right to lay taxes on my own property either by myself or those I can trust; of necessity to judge in such instances of the public good; and to be exempt from such jurisdictions. ….

Galatians_5-1Every man must remember, how, immediately after the tempest of the late war was laid, another storm began to gather over North America. Every wind that blew across the Atlantic brought with it additional darkness. Every act of the administration seemed calculated to produce distress and to excite terror. We were alarmed—we were afflicted. Many of our colonies sent home petitions; others ordered their agents to make proper applications on their behalf. What was the effect? They were rejected without reading. They could not be presented, “without breaking through a rule of the house.” They insisted upon a right, that, it “was previously determined should not be admitted.” The language of the ministry was “that they would teach the insolent North Americans the respect due to the laws of their mother country.” They moved for a resolution “that the parliament could legally tax us.” It was made. For a bill; it was framed. For its dispatch; it was passed. The badges of our shame were prepared, too gross, too odious—even in the opinion of that administration—to be fastened upon us by any but Americans. Strange delusion! to imagine that treachery could reconcile us to slavery. They looked around; they found Americans—0 Virtue! they found Americans to whom the confidence of their country had committed the guardianship of her rights—on whom her bounty had bestowed all the wreck of her fortunes could afford—ready to rivet on their native land, the nurse of their infancy, the protectrix of their youth, the honorer of their manhood, the fatal fetters which their information had helped to forge. They were to be gratified with part of the plunder in oppressive offices for themselves and their creatures. By these, that they might reap the rewards of their corruption, were we advised—by these, that they might return masters who went out servants, were we desired—to put on the chains, and then with shackled hands to drudge in the dark, as well as we could, forgetting the light we had lost “If1forget thee, let my right hand forget her cunning—if I do not remember thee, may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,”

“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; 
it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles 
of civil government with the principles of Christianity.� 
quote John Quincy Adams

A DUTY TO POSTERITY
[From the Same.]

HONOR, justice and humanity call upon us to hold and to transmit to our posterity, that liberty, which we received from our ancestors. It is not our duty to leave wealth to our children; but it is our duty to leave liberty to them. No infamy, iniquity, or cruelty can exceed our own if we, born and educated in a country of freedom, entitled to its blessings and knowing their value, pusillanimously deserting the post assigned us by Divine Providence, surrender succeeding generations to a condition of wretchedness from which no human efforts, in all probability, will be sufficient to extricate them; the experience of all states mournfully demonstrating to us that when arbitrary power has been established over them, even the wisest and bravest nations that ever flourished have, in a few years, degenerated into abject and wretched vassals.

A WARNING TO AMERICANS by John Dickinson 1732-1808

john dickinsonA WARNING TO THE COLONIES.
[The Political Writings of John Dickinson, Esq. 1804.]
Born In Maryland, 1732. Died at Wilmington, Del., 1808.

THOUGH I always reflect with a high pleasure on the integrity and understanding of my countrymen, which, joined with a pure and humble devotion to the great and gracious Author of every blessing they enjoy, will, I hope, insure to them and their posterity all temporal and eternal happiness; yet when I consider that in every age and country there have been bad men, my heart at this threatening period is so full of apprehension as not to permit me to believe, but that there may be some on this continent against whom you ought to be upon your guard . Men, who either hold, or expect to hold certain advantages by setting examples of servility to their countrymen. Men, who trained to the employment, or self-taught by a natural versatility of genius serve as decoys for drawing the innocent and unwary into snares. It is not to be doubted but that such men will diligently bestir themselves on this and every like occasion to spread the infection of their meanness as far as they can. On the plans they have adopted, this is their course. This is the method to recommend themselves to their patrons. They act consistently in a bad cause. They run well in a mean race.

The freedom of a people consists in being governed by laws, 
in which no alteration can be made, without their Consent 
~ John Dickinson

From them we shall learn how pleasant and profitable a thing it is to be for our submissive behavior well spoken of at St James’s or St Stephen’s; at Guildhall or the Royal Exchange. Specious fallacies will be dressed up with all the arts of delusion to persuade one colony to distinguish herself from another by unbecoming condescensions, which will serve the ambitious purposes of great men at home, and therefore will be thought by them to entitle their assistants in obtaining them to considerable rewards.

Our fears will be excited . Our hopes will be awakened. It will be insinuated to us, with a plausible affectation of wisdom and concern, how prudent it is to please the powerful—how dangerous to provoke them—and then comes in the perpetual incantation that freezes up every generous purpose of the soul in cold, inactive expectation—”that if there is any request to be made, compliance will obtain a favorable attention.”

Our vigilance and our union are success and safety. Our negligence and our division are distress and death They are worse—they are shame and slavery. Let us equally shun the benumbing stillness of overweening sloth, and the feverish activity of that ill-informed zeal which busies itself in maintaining little, mean and narrow opinions. Let us, with a truly wise generosity and charity, banish and discourage all illiberal distinctions which may arise from differences in situation, forms of government, or modes of religion. Let us consider ourselves as men —freemen—Christian freemen—separated from the rest of the world and firmly bound together by the same rights, interests and dangers. Let these keep our attention inflexibly fixed on the great objects which we must continually regard in order to preserve those rights, to promote those interests, and to avert those dangers.

Let these truths be indelibly impressed on our minds—that we cannot be happy without being free—that we cannot be free without being secure in our property—that we cannot be secure in our property, if, without our consent others may, as by right, take it away—that taxes imposed on us by parliament do thus take it away—that duties laid for the sole purpose of raising money are taxes—that attempts to lay such duties should be instantly and firmly opposed—that this opposition can never be effectual unless it is the united effort of these provinces—that therefore benevolence of temper towards each other and unanimity of counsels are essential to the welfare of the whole—and lastly, that for this reason every man amongst us who in any manner would encourage either dissension, diffidence, or indifference between these colonies, is an enemy to himself, and to his country.

THE MEANING OF THE REVOLUTION and CONTROVERSY OF INDEPENDENCE

John_Witherspoon_by_Peale

 

See also: John Quincy Adams Speech on the Intent of the Declaration of Independence

Note: Politicians, Monarchs, Power Brokers, Despots and Tyrants; Small men with even smaller minds, suffering from overly inflated egos have never liked long, living without utter control over the people, we see this throughout history and we see this happening in America today. These same political power brokers and ruling class elites have worked for 200+ years trying to break that which became America. They have, up until recent generations been held at bay in America by the natural and religious goodness of her people and most of those in power. Who have had an ever watchful eye on those who would encroach upon our freedoms, liberties, free consciences and individual happiness, however over the last few decades the people have been lulled into a false sense of security by those in the ruling class elite. With all the distractions of the modern age, have come the ever over reaching hand of government, or the ruling class and now America unless her people awaken and rebel against the over reaching hand of the oppressors, we will once again be without a place in the world where people are or once were, truly free.

We must pray now, and pray always that God in his mercy will look down upon us and the world and preserve the freedoms he so graciously gave us at the beginning of time, not only for our benefit, but for the benefit of all mankind. May his hand, be the hand that guides us, protects us, strengthens us, and keeps us through the coming storms.

THE MEANING OF THE REVOLUTION. “On the Controversy about Independence.” by John Witherspoon between 1765-1787

EVERY one knows that when the claims of the British Parliament were openly made, and violently enforced, the most precise and determined resolutions were entered into, and published by every colony, every county, and almost every township or smaller district, that they would not submit to them. This was clearly expressed in the greatest part of them, and ought to be understood as the implied sense of them all, not only that they would not soon or easily, but that they would never on any event, submit to them . For my own part, I confess, I would never have signed these resolves at first, nor taken up arms in consequence of them afterward, if I had not been fully convinced, as I am still, that acquiescence in this usurped power would be followed by the total and absolute ruin of the colonies. They would have been no better than tributary states to a kingdom at a great distance from them. They would have been therefore, as has been the case with all states in a similar situation from the beginning of the world, the servants of servants from generation to generation. For this reason I declare it to have been my meaning, and I know it was the meaning of thousands more, that though we earnestly wished for reconciliation with safety to our liberties, yet we did deliberately prefer, not only the horrors of a civil war, not only the danger of anarchy, and the uncertainty of a new settlement, but even extermination itself, to slavery riveted on us and our posterity.

The most peaceable means were first used; but no relaxation could be obtained: one arbitrary and oppressive act followed after another; they destroyed the property of a whole capital—subverted to its very foundation the constitution and government of a whole colony, and granted the soldiers a liberty of murdering in all the colonies. I express it thus, because they were not to be called to account for it where it was committed, which everybody must allow was a temporary, and undoubtedly in ninety-nine cases of an hundred must have issued in a total impunity. There is one circumstance, however, in my opinion, much more curious than all the rest The reader will say, What can this be? It is the following, which I beg may be particularly attended to:—While all this was a doing, the King in his speeches, the Parliament in their acts, and the people of Great Britain in their addresses, never failed to extol their own lenity [kindness, gentleness]. I do not infer from this, that the King, Parliament and people of Great Britain are all barbarians and savages—the inference is unnecessary and unjust; but I infer the misery of the people of America, if they must submit in all cases whatsoever, to the decisions of a body of the sons of Adam, so distant from them, and who have an interest in oppressing them. It has been my opinion from the beginning, that we did not carry our reasoning fully home, when we complained of an arbitrary prince, or of the insolence, cruelty and obstinacy of Lord North, Lord Bute, or Lord Mansfield. What we have to fear, and what we have now to grapple with, is the ignorance, prejudice, partiality and injustice of human nature. Neither King nor ministry, could have done, nor durst have attempted what we have seen, if they had not had the nation on their side. The friends of America in England are few in number, and contemptible in influence; nor must I omit, that even of these few, not one, till very lately, ever reasoned the American cause upon its proper principles, or viewed it in its proper light

Petitions on petitions have been presented to King and Parliament, and an address sent to the people of Great Britain, which have been not merely fruitless, but treated with the highest degree of disdain. The conduct of the British ministry during the whole of this contest, as has been often observed, has been such, as to irritate the whole people of this continent to the highest degree, and unite them together by the firm bond of necessity and common interest In this respect they have served us in the most essential manner. I am firmly persuaded, that had the wisest heads in America met together to contrive what measures the ministry should follow to strengthen the American opposition and defeat their own designs, they could not have fallen upon a plan so effectual, as that which has been steadily pursued. One instance I cannot help mentioning, because it was both of more importance, and less to be expected than any other. When a majority of the New York Assembly, to their eternal infamy, attempted to break the union of the colonies, by refusing to approve the proceedings of the Congress, and applying to Parliament by separate petition—because they presumed to make mention of the principal grievance of taxation, it was treated with ineffable contempt I desire it may be observed, that all those who are called the friends of America in Parliament, pleaded strongly for receiving the New York petition; which plainly showed, that neither the one nor the other understood the state of affairs in America. Had the ministry been prudent, or the opposition successful, we had been ruined; but with what transport did every friend to American liberty hear, that these traitors to the common cause had met with the reception which they deserved.

A PATRIOT’S THANKSGIVING by John Woolman; Quaker and Early Anti-Slavery Spokesman

johnwoolman[The Snare Broken: A Thanksgiving Discourse, occasioned by the Repeal of the Stamp Act, Preached May 23, 1766.]

“WE have never known so quick and general a transition from the depth * * of sorrow to the height of joy, as on this occasion; nor, indeed, so great and universal a flow of either on any other occasion whatever. It is very true, we have heretofore seen times of great adversity. We have known seasons of drought, dearth, and spreading mortal diseases; the pestilence walking in darkness, and the destruction wasting at noonday. We have seen wide devastations made by fire; and amazing tempests, the heavens on flame, the winds and the waves roaring. We have known repeated earthquakes, threatening us with speedy destruction. We have been under great apprehensions by reason of formidable fleets of an enemy on our coasts, menacing fire and sword to all our maritime towns. We have known times when the French and savage armies made terrible havoc on our frontiers, carrying all before them for a while; when we were not without fear that some capital towns in the colonies would fall into their merciless hands. Such times as these we have known; at some of which almost every “face gathered paleness,” and the knees of all but the good and brave waxed feeble. But never have we known a season of such universal consternation and anxiety among people of all ranks and ages, in these colonies, as was occasioned by that parliamentary procedure which threatened us and our posterity with perpetual bondage and slavery. For they, as we generally suppose, are really slaves to all intents and purposes, who are obliged to labor and toil only for the benefit of others; or, which comes to the same thing, the fruit of whose labor and industry may be lawfully taken from them without their consent, and they justly punished if they refuse to surrender it on demand, or apply it to other purposes than those which their masters, of their mere grace and pleasure, see fit to allow. Nor are there many American understandings acute enough to distinguish any material difference between this being done by a single person, under the title of an absolute monarch, and done by a far-distant legislature, consisting of many persons, in which they are not represented; and the members whereof, instead of feeling and sharing equally with them in the burden thus imposed, are eased of their own in proportion to the greatness and weight of it . . .

The repeal, the repeal, has at once, in a good measure, restored things to order, and composed our minds by removing the chief ground of our fears. The course of justice between man and man is no longer obstructed; commerce lifts up her head, adorned with golden tresses, pearls, and precious stones. All things that went on right before are returning gradually to their former course; those that did not we have reason to hope will go on better now; almost every person you meet wears the smiles of contentment and joy; and even our slaves rejoice as though they had received their manumission. Indeed, all the lovers of liberty in Europe, in the world, have reason to rejoice; the cause is, in some measure common to them and us. Blessed revolution! glorious change! How great are our obligations for it to the Supreme Governor of the world!

John Woolman; Born In Northampton, West New Jersey, 1730. Died at York, England, 1772.

 

HOW HE TESTIFIED IN MEETING AGAINST SLAVERY.
[Ths Works of John Woolman. 1774.]

THE monthly-meeting of  Philadelphia having been under a concern on account of some Friends [Quakers]  who, this summer (1758), had bought negro slaves: the said meeting moved it to their quarterly-meeting, to have the minute reconsidered in the yearly-meeting, which was made last on that subject; and the said quarterly-meeting appointed a committee to consider it and report to their next; which committee having met once and adjourned, and I going to Philadelphia to meet a committee of the yearly-meeting, was in town the evening on which the quarterly-meeting’s committee met the second time, and finding an inclination to sit with them, was, with some others, admitted; and Friends had a weighty conference on the subject And, soon after their next quarterly-meeting I heard that the case was coming to our yearly-meeting, which brought a weighty exercise upon me, and under a sense of my own infirmities and the great danger I felt of turning aside from perfect purity, my mind was often drawn to retire alone and put up my prayers to the Lord, that he would be graciously pleased to strengthen me; that, setting aside all views of self-interest and the friendship of this world, I might stand full v resigned to his holy will.

In this yearly-meeting several weighty matters were considered; and, toward the last, that in relation to dealing with persons who purchase slaves. During the several sittings of the said meeting my mind was frequently covered with inward prayer, and I could say with David, “That tears were my meat day and night” The case of slave-keeping lay heavy upon me, nor did I find any engagement to speak directly to any other matter before the meeting. Now, when this case was opened several faithful Friends spake weightily thereto, with which I was comforted; and, feeling a concern to cast in my mite, I said, in substance, as follows:

“In the difficulties attending us in this life nothing is more precious than the mind of truth inwardly manifested, and it is my earnest desire that in this weighty matter we may be so truly humbled as to be favored with a clear understanding of the mind of truth, and follow it; this would be of more advantage to the society than any medium not in the clearness of divine wisdom. The case is difficult to some who have them; but if such set aside all self-interest and come to be weaned from the desire of getting estates, or even from holding them together, when truth requires the contrary, I believe way will open that they will know how to steer through those difficulties.”

Many Friends appeared to be deeply bowed under the weight of the work, and manifested much firmness in their love to the cause of truth and universal righteousness on the earth; and though none did openly justify the practice of slave-keeping in general, yet some appeared concerned lest the meeting should go into such measures as might give uneasiness to many brethren;—alleging that if Friends patiently continued under the exercise the Lord, in time to come, might open a way for the deliverance of these people. And I, finding an engagement to speak, said: “My mind is often led to consider the purity of the Divine Being, and the justice of his judgments; and herein my soul is covered with awfulness; I cannot omit to hint of some cases where people have not been treated with the purity of justice, and the event hath been lamentable. Many slaves on this continent are oppressed, and their cries have reached the ears of the Most High. Such are the purity and certainty of his judgments that he cannot be partial in our favor. In infinite love and goodness he hath opened our understandings, from one time to another, concerning our duty toward this people; and it is not a time for delay. Should we now be sensible of what he requires of us, and through a respect to the private interest of some persons, or through a regard to some friendships which do not stand on an immutable foundation, neglect to do our duty in firmness and constancy, still waiting for some extraordinary means to bring about their deliverance, it may be by terrible things in righteousness God may answer us in this matter.”

Many faithful brethren labored with great firmness, and the love of truth, in a good degree, prevailed. Several Friends who had negroes expressed their desire that a rule might be made to deal with such Friends as offenders who bought slaves in future. To this it was answered, that the root of this evil would never be effectually struck at until a thorough search was made into the circumstances of such Friends who kept negroes, with respect to the righteousness of their motives in keeping them, that impartial justice might be administered throughout Several Friends expressed their desire that a visit might be made to such Friends who kept slaves; and many Friends said that they believed liberty was the negroes’ right; to which, at length, no opposition was made publicly. A minute was made, more full on that subject than any heretofore, and the names of several Friends entered, who were free to join in a visit to such who kept slaves.

 

 

Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry and Henry’s Virginia Resolutions of 1765

PatrickHenryPatrick Henry was an early friend and companion of Thomas Jefferson. He was a jovial young fellow noted for mimicry, practical jokes, fiddling and dancing. Jefferson’s holidays were sometimes spent with Henry, and the two together would go off on hunting excursions of which each was passionately fond. Both were swift of foot and sound of wind.

Deer, turkey, foxes and other game were eagerly pursued. Jefferson looked upon Patrick Henry as the moving spirit of all the fun of the younger circle, and had not the faintest idea of the wonderful talents that lay latent in his companion’s mind.

See also: Patrick Henry may well be proved a Prophet as well as a Statesman
 

And, Henry too, did not see in the slender, freckled, sandy-haired Jefferson, the coming man who was to be united with him in some of the most stirring and important events in American history.

Jefferson did not realize that this rustic youngster, careless of dress, and apparently thoughtless in manner, and sometimes, to all appearance, so unconcerned that he was taken by some to be an idiot, was to be the flaming .tongue of a coming Revolution. Henry did not dream that this fiddling boy, Jefferson, was to be the potent pen of a Declaration which was to emancipate a hemisphere.

One day in 176o, just after Jefferson had entered upon his college studies at Williamsburg, Henry came to his room to tell him,that since their parting of a few months before, after the Christmas holidays, he had studied law, and had come to Williamsburg to get a license to practice. The fact was he had studied law but six weeks, and yet felt himself able to pass the examination. The examination was conducted by four examiners. Three of them signed the license. The fourth, George Wythe, refused his signature. But Henry was now duly admitted to the bar. He went back, however, to assist his father-in-law, Mr. Shelton, in tending his tavern, and for four years, practicing occasionally, he waited his time.

In May, 1765, Henry was elected to the House of Burgesses which met at Williamsburg. While in attendance as a member Henry was the guest of young Jefferson. Henry presented a rustic appearance. His dress was coarse and worn. His fame had not become fully known at Williamsburg, “and he moved about the streets unrecognized though not unmarked. The very oddity of his appearance provoked comment.”

In the Assembly were some of the most brilliant and distinguished men in the Colony. Among them were Peyton Randolph, George Wythe, John Robinson, Richard Henry Lee, and Edmund Pendleton.

Dignified manners prevailed among the members. An elaborate and formal courtesy characterized them in their proceedings. They were polished and aristocratic men, not specially interested in the welfare of the common people. They were strongly desirous of perpetuating the class distinctions observed in Virginia society. A very marked contrast was apparent between them and the tall, gaunt, coarse-attired, unpolished member from Louisa.

Not being personally known to the majority of the House, little notice was taken of him, and no expectations of any particular influence to be exercised by him upon its deliberations were expected. When the news of the passage of the Stamp Act reached the assembly, amazement and indignation were felt by the Royalist leaders, at the folly of the English ministry. But there seemed no way before them but submission to the Imperial decree. But Henry saw that the hour had come for meeting the issue between the King and the Colonies.

Patrick Henry addressing the Virginia Assembly with 5 resolutions Stamp Act

The Greatest Speech in American History (Give me Liberty or Give me Death)

He rose in his seat and offered his famous Five Resolutions, which in substance declared that Englishmen living in America had all the rights of Englishmen living in England, and that all attempts to impose taxes upon them without the consent of their own representatives, had “a manifest tendency to destroy British as well as American freedom.

These resolutions provoked an animated and exciting debate. There is a strong probability that Jefferson knew the intentions of Henry, for he was present on that ever memorable occasion in the House.

No provision was made in the Assembly chamber for spectators. There was no gallery from which they could look down upon the contestants. In the doorway between the lobby and the chamber Jefferson took his stand, intently watching Henry’s attitude and actions.

In a hesitating way, stammering in his utterances, he began reading his Resolutions. Then followed the opening sentences of the magnificent oration of this “Demosthenes of the woods,” as Byron termed him.

No promise did they give of what was to follow. Very soon the transformation came. Jefferson saw him draw himself to his full height and sweep with a conqueror’s gaze the entire audience before and about him.

No impediment now; no inarticulate utterances now. With a voice rich and full, and musical, he poured out his impassioned plea for the liberties of the people. Then soaring to one of his boldest flights, he cried out in electric tones:

Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell, and George the Third ______.” The Speaker sprang to his feet, crying, “Treason! treason!” The whole assembly was in an uproar, shouting with the Speaker, “Treason! treason!” Not only the royalists, but others who were thoroughly alarmed by the orator’s audacious words, joined in the cry. But never for a moment did Henry flinch. Fixing his eye upon the Speaker, and throwing his arm forward from his dilating form, as though to hurl the words with the power of a thunderbolt, he added in a tone none but he himself could command,______ “May profit by their example.

Then, with a defiant look around the room, he said, “If this be treason, make the most of it.

Fifty-nine years afterwards Jefferson continued to speak of that great occasion with unabated enthusiasm. He narrated anew the stirring scenes when the shouts of “treason, treason,” echoed through the Hall.

In his record of the debate which followed the speech of Henry he described it as “most bloody.” The arguments against the resolutions, he said were swept away by the “torrents of sublime eloquence” from the lips of Patrick Henry. With breathless interest, Jefferson, standing in the doorway, watched the taking of the vote on the last resolution. It was upon this resolution that the battle had been waged the hottest. It was carried by a majority of a single vote. When the result was announced, Peyton Randolph, the King’s Attorney General, brushed by Jefferson, in going out of the House, exclaiming bitterly with an oath as he went, “I would have given five hundred guineas for a single vote.”

The next day, in the absence of the mighty orator, the timid Assembly expunged the fifth resolution and modified the others. The Governor, however, dissolved the House for daring to pass at all the resolutions. But he could not dissolve the spirit of Henry nor the magical effect of the resolutions which had been offered. By his intrepid action Henry took the leadership of the Assembly out of the hands which hitherto had controlled it.

The resolutions as originally passed were sent to Philadelphia. There they were printed, and from that center of energetic action were widely circulated throughout the Colonies. The heart of Samuel Adams and the Boston patriots were filled with an unspeakable joy as they read them. The drooping spirits of the people were revived and the doom of the Stamp Act was sealed.

Background:
In 1765 the British Parliament passed the Stamp Act, which placed a tax on newspapers, almanacs, pamphlets and broadsides, all kinds of legal documents, insurance policies, ship’s papers, licenses, dice and playing cards. This led to widespread protest in the American colonies, and to the slogan, “No taxation without representation!”

The Virginia legislature did not actually adopt the fifth and sixth resolves, which were seen as quite radical, but this document, including all six resolves, was published widely in newspapers across the colonies. Therefore, colonists were exposed to Henry’s radical ideas, and this document served as influential propaganda for the cause. Eight other colonies followed suit and had adopted similar resolves by the end of 1765.

The cry of “treason” in the Assembly of Virginia, although followed by the strong remonstrance of the burgesses, was a manifestation of the desire which then almost universally prevailed amongst the colonists to regard themselves as bound in allegiance to the British crown. It was a result, of that system of parliamentary corruption and of court influence which at that time entered so largely into the government of England

Virginia Resolves. On May 30, 1765, the House of Burgesses of Virginia came to the following resolutions:

Whereas the honorable House of Commons in England have late drawn into question how far the general assembly of this colony has power to enact laws for laying taxes and imposing duties payable to the pope of this his majesty’s most ancient colony — For settling and ascertaining the same to all future times, the House of Burgesses of this present general assembly have come to the several following resolutions:

Resolved, that the first adventurers and settlers of His Majesty’s colony and dominion of Virginia brought with them and transmitted to their posterity, and all other His Majesty’s subjects since inhabiting in this His Majesty’s said colony, all the liberties, privileges, franchises, and immunities that have at any time been held, enjoyed, and possessed by the people of Great Britain.

Resolved, that by two royal charters, granted by King James I, the colonists aforesaid are declared entitled to all liberties, privileges, and immunities of denizens and natural subjects to all intents and purposes as if they had been abiding and born within the Realm of England.

Resolved, that the taxation of the people by themselves, or by persons chosen by themselves to represent them, who can only know what taxes the people are able to bear, or the easiest method of raising them, and must themselves be affected by every tax laid on the people, is the only security against a burdensome taxation, and the distinguishing characteristic of British freedom, without which the ancient constitution cannot exist.

Resolved, that His Majesty’s liege people of this his most ancient and loyal colony have without interruption enjoyed the inestimable right of being governed by such laws, respecting their internal policy and taxation, as are derived from their own consent, with the approbation of their sovereign, or his substitute; and that the same has never been forfeited or yielded up, but has been constantly recognized by the kings and people of Great Britain.

The fifth item, following, was rescinded the next day. Henry, perhaps believing that the matter would stand, had departed. The loyalist members reformed on May 31st for the purpose of removing all five resolutions, but succeeded only in removing this one. The text of it was found with Patrick Henry’s will:

Resolved, therefor that the General Assembly of this Colony have the only and exclusive Right and Power to lay Taxes and Impositions upon the inhabitants of this Colony and that every Attempt to vest such Power in any person or persons whatsoever other than the General Assembly aforesaid has a manifest Tendency to destroy British as well as American Freedom.

The following resolves were not passed, though drawn up by the committee.They are inserted as a specimen of the first and early energies of the Old Dominion, as Virginia is often called.

Resolved, That his majesty’s liege people, the inhabitants of this colony, are not bound to yield obedience to any law or ordinance whatsoever designed to impose any taxation whatsoever upon them, other than the laws and ordinances of the general assembly aforesaid.

Resolved, That any person who shall by speaking or writing maintain that any person or persons other than the general assembly of this colony have any right or power to impose or lay any taxation whatsoever on the people here shall be deemed an enemy to this his majesty’s colony.

Version published widely in newspapers, with additional resolution. There were also some variations from publication to publication:

Resolved, That the first adventurers and settlers of this His Majesty’s Colony and Dominion of Virginia brought with them, and transmitted to their posterity, and all other of His Majesty’s subjects since inhabiting this His Majesty’s said Colony, all the liberties, privileges, franchises, and immunities, that have at any time been held, enjoyed, and possessed, by the people of Great Britain.

Resolved, That by two royal charters, granted by King James the First, the colonists aforesaid are declared entitled to all liberties, privileges, and immunities of denizens and natural subjects, to all intents and purposes, as if they had been abiding and born within the realm of England.

Resolved, That the taxation of the people by themselves, or by persons chosen by themselves to represent them, who can only know what taxes the people are able to bear, or the easiest method of raising them, and must themselves be affected by every tax laid on the people, is the only security against a burthensome taxation, and the distinguishing characteristick of British freedom, without which the ancient constitution cannot exist.

Resolved, That His Majesty’s liege people of this his most ancient and loyal Colony have without interruption enjoyed the inestimable right of being governed by such laws, respecting their internal polity and taxation, as are derived from their own consent, with the approbation of their sovereign, or his substitute; and that the same hath never been forfeited or yielded up, but hath been constantly recognized by the kings and people of Great Britain.

Resolved therefore, That the General Assembly of this Colony have the only and sole exclusive right and power to lay taxes and impositions upon the inhabitants of this Colony, and that every attempt to vest such power in any person or persons whatsoever other than the General Assembly aforesaid has a manifest tendency to destroy British as well as American freedom.

Resolved, That His Majesty’s liege people, the inhabitants of this Colony are not bound to yield obediance to any law or ordinance whatever, designed to impose any taxation whatsoever upon them other than the laws or ordinances of the General Assembly aforesaid.

Resolved, That any person who shall, by speaking or writing, assert or maintain that any person or persons other than the General Assembly of this Colony, have any right or power to impose or lay any taxation on the people here, shall be deemed an enemy to His Majesty’s Colony.

Governments Corrupted By Vice and Restored By Virtue: by Samuel Langdon 1775

corruption3Samuel Langdon Biography

This eminent man, celebrated alike for his piety and sterling patriotism, was born at Boston, Massachusetts. Through the exertions of his friends, who discovered in him a desire to obtain a liberal education, he was entered at Harvard College, from which institution he graduated with credit in 1740. From college he went to Portsmouth, in New Hampshire, where he was employed to take charge of a grammar school until 1745, at which time he was invited to preach in the First Church, as assistant to Mr. Fitch. Two years after, he was ordained, and from this time until the commencement of the difficulties between England and her colonies, he continued an active laborer for the cause of the church.

Dr. Langdon was a very zealous Whig. His bold and open opposition to the measures of the British government, rendered him highly acceptable to the patriots of New England, and through the influence of John Hancock and others, he was, in 1774, installed as successor of Mr. Locke in the presidency of Harvard College. When he took the chair it gave great delight to the sons of liberty; and in 1775, a month after the commencement of the war, he was chosen to preach the election sermon. This effort will be found in the following pages.

President Langdon’s connection with the college did not prove of the most satisfactory character. His administration was a perpetual struggle with difficulties and embarrassments, amid the dangers of civil war and the excitement of a political revolution. He wanted judgment, and had no spirit of government. He did not receive that respect and kindness from the students and others connected with the college, that were due his character as a scholar and a Christian. Under these circumstances he resigned the presidency, and in 1781, became the pastor of a church at Hampton Falls, near Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In 1788 he preached the election sermon at Concord, and the same year occupied a seat in the New Hampshire Convention, in which body he took an active part, and had an extensive influence in removing the prejudices which prevailed against the Federal Constitution. At the age of seventy-four, on the twenty-ninth of November, 1794, he closed a life well spent, beloved for his piety, hospitality, and good-will to his fellow-men.

Governments Corrupted By Vice and Restored By Virtue:  by Dr. Samuel Langdon 1775; Before the Honorable Congress of the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay. Assembled at Watertown, 31st Day of May, 1775. Being the Anniversary fixed by CHARTER for the Election of Counsellors;

References: The patriot preachers of the American Revolution, The Pulpit of the American Revolution, The God of Our Fathers, and The Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution by Frank Moore, John W. Thornton, George Duffield, Jr., and Joel T. Headley  respectfully.

“The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth, that God governs
in the affairs of men.”—Benjamin Franklin.

Background of the oration:

From one of the sources of information on this topic, “it occurred to us, would be the sermons that had been delivered on other National Fast Days. Many such being just at our hand, we turned them over with no little interest and curiosity. The more we “touched the bones of the prophets,” the more we felt that virtue came out of them.

“Faithful men,” indeed, were those old Fathers, to whom the Gospel in all its relations, both temporal and eternal, might be most safely entrusted! Though a reward was offered for their heads, they preached; though a Tory party in the Church might wish to keep them quiet, still they preached; though their brethren not infrequently found vehement fault with them for so doing, yet, the Word of God “burning like a fire in their bones,” they could not do otherwise than preach. The Chinese idea which so many have been endeavoring to inculcate of late, that “to speak of politics is to be guilty of death,” by such men as Mayhew, Witherspoon, Emmons, &c, would have been laughed to scorn!” Dumb dogs that cannot bark,” could not be said of them, any more than of Calvin, and Knox, and the staunch old English Puritans! Thank God that such men lived on this side of the Atlantic, as well as the other!

There is no excuse for us if we do not try, at least, to imitate their example. If ever the pulpit is to regain that influence which it has lost in our land, it must be by preaching occasionally such sermons as the following Dr. Langdon”

Dr. Samuel Langdon was moderator of the annual convention of the ministers, held, by special invitation of the Provincial Congress, at Watertown, June 1st, following election-day, when he signed the following letter:

“To the Hon. Joseph Warren, Esq., President of the Provincial Congress of the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay, etc.

“Sir : — We, the pastors of the Congregational churches of the Colony of the Massachusetts Bay, in our present annual convention,”— at Watertown, June 1, 1775, — ” gratefully beg leave to express the sense we have of the regard shown by the Honorable Provincial Congress to us, and the encouragement they have been pleased to afford to our assembling as a body this day. Deeply impressed with sympathy for the distresses of our much-injured and oppressed country, we are not a little relieved in beholding the representatives of this people, chosen by their free and unbiased suffrages, now met to concert measures for their relief and defence, in whose wisdom and integrity, under the smiles of Divine Providence, we cannot but express our entire confidence.

“As it has been found necessary to raise an army for the common safety, and our brave countrymen have so willingly offered themselves to this hazardous service, we are not insensible of the vast burden that their necessary maintenance must”—devolve —”upon the people. We therefore cannot forbear, upon this occasion, to offer our services to the public, and to signify our readiness, with the consent of our several congregations, to officiate, by rotation, as chaplains to the army.

“We devoutly commend the Congress, and our brethren in arms, to the guidance and protection of that Providence which, from the first settlement of this country, has so remarkably appeared for the preservation of its civil and religious rights.

“SAMUEL LANGDON, Moderator.”

Langdon was appointed to deliver the election sermon. By a special vote, Dr. Langdon’s Sermon was sent to each minister in the colony, and to each member of the Congress. The contest (the Revolutionary War) had then begun—blood had flowed at Lexington and Concord, and only three weeks before the battle of Bunker Hill had been fought. Boston was in possession of the British, and the Colonial Congress assembled at Harvard. There was no election of Councillors, but it was the anniversary of the day fixed by charter for the election. The Congress was perplexed and ignorant what course to adopt. His Majesty’s Governor was not there, neither would they elect a Council for His Majesty; and yet Congress had taken no decided steps toward the inauguration of an independent government.

Nevertheless until things assumed more definite shape they would fulfill, as far as they were concerned, the conditions of the Charter. They therefore met on the appointed day, and listened to a sermon from the learned Dr. Langdon.

He took for his text Isaiah, 1. 26: “And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsel as at the beginning. Afterward thou shalt be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.” Nothing could be more appropriate than this text. It shows in what perfect harmony the pulses of the clergy and the people beat. The latter did not now need any instruction as to their rights, or appeals to assert them. They had already asserted them at the point of the bayonet. The die was cast, and every one asked what would the end be. The capital was in the hands of the brutal soldiery, and the patriots were driven from their homes which they might never see again. In such a crisis, in such a state of feeling, how beautiful, how appropriate and encouraging is this full, rich promise.

The Sermon: “Shall we rejoice, my fathers and brethren, or shall we weep together, on the return of this anniversary, which from the first settlement of this colony has been sacred to liberty, to perpetuate that invaluable privilege of choosing, from among ourselves, wise men, fearing God, and hating covetousness, to be honorable counselors, to constitute one essential branch of that happy government which was established on the faith of royal charters?

On this day, the people have from year to year assembled, from all our towns, in a vast congregation, with gladness and festivity, with every ensign of joy displayed in our metropolis, which now, alas I is made a garrison of mercenary troops, the stronghold of despotism. But how shall I now address you from this desk, remote from the capital, and remind you of the important business which distinguished this day in our calendar, without spreading a gloom over this assembly, by exhibiting the melancholy change made in the face of our public affairs?

We have lived to see the time when British liberty is just ready to expire; when that constitution of government which has so long been the glory and strength of the English nation, is deeply undermined and ready to tumble into ruins;—when America is threatened with cruel oppression, and the arm of power is stretched out against New England, and especially against this colony, to compel us to submit to the arbitrary acts of legislators who are not our representatives, and who will not themselves bear the least part of the burdens which, without mercy, they are laying upon us. The most formal and solemn grants of kings to our ancestors are deemed by our oppressors as of little value, and they have mutilated the charter of this colony in the most essential parts, upon false representations, and new invented maxims of policy, without the least regard to any legal process. We are no longer permitted to fix our eyes on the faithful of the land, and trust in the wisdom of their counsels, and the equity of their judgment; but men in whom we can have no confidence, whose principles are subversive of our liberties, whose aim is to exercise lordship over us, and share among themselves the public wealth; men who are ready to serve any master, and execute the most unrighteous decrees for high wages, whoso faces we never saw before, and whose interests and connections may be far divided from us by the wide Atlantic, are to be set over us as counselors and judges, at the pleasure of those who have the riches and power of the nation in their hands, and whose noblest plan is to subjugate the colonies first, and then the whole nation to their will.

corruption4That we might not have it in our power to refuse the most absolute submission to their unlimited claims of authority, they have not only endeavored to terrify us with fleets and armies sent to our capital, and distressed and put an end to our trade, particularly that important branch of it, the fishery(fn1), but at length attempted, by a sudden march of a body of troops in the night, to seize and destroy one of our magazines, formed by the people merely for their own security; if, as after such formidable military preparation on the other side, matters should not be pushed to an extremity. By this, as might well be expected, a skirmish was brought on; and it is most evident, from a variety of concurring circumstances, as well as numerous depositions, both of the prisoners taken by us at that time, and our men then on the spot only as spectators, that the fire began first on the side of the king’s troops. At least five or six of our inhabitants were murderously killed by the regulars at Lexington, before any man attempted to return the fire, and when they were actually complying with the command to disperse; and two more of our brethren were likewise killed at Concord Bridge by a fire from the king’s soldiers, before(fn2) the engagement began on our side. But whatever credit falsehoods transmitted to Great Britain from the other side may gain, the matter may be rested entirely on this—that ho that arms himself to commit a robbery, and demands the traveler’s purse, by the terror of instant death, is the first aggressor, though the other should take the advantage of discharging his pistol first and killing the robber.

The alarm was sudden; but in a very short time spread far and wide; the nearest neighbors in haste ran together to assist their brethren, and save their country. Not more than three or four hundred met in season, and bravely attacked and repulsed the enemies of liberty, who retreated with great precipitation. But by the help of a strong reinforcement, notwithstanding a close pursuit, and continual loss on their side, they acted the part of robbers and savages, by burning(fn3), plundering, and damaging almost every house in their way, to the utmost of their power, murdering the unarmed and helpless, and not regarding the weakness of the tender sex, until they had secured themselves beyond the reach of our terrifying arms. (fn4)

That ever memorable day, the nineteenth of April, is the date of an unhappy war openly begun, by the ministers of the king of Great Britain, against his good subjects in this colony, and implicitly against all the colonies. But for what! Because they have made a noble stand for their natural and constitutional rights, in opposition to the machinations of wicked men, who are betraying their royal master, establishing Popery in the British dominions, and aiming to enslave and ruin the whole nation, that they may enrich themselves and their vile dependents with the public treasures, and the spoils of America.

“We have used our utmost endeavors, by repeated humble petitions and remonstrances—by a series of unanswerable reasonings published from the press, in which the dispute has been fairly stated, and the justice of our opposition clearly demonstrated—and by the mediation of some of the noblest and most faithful friends of the British constitution, who have powerfully pleaded our cause in Parliament—to prevent such measures as may soon reduce the body politic to a miserable, dismembered, dying trunk, though lately the terror of all Europe. But our king, as if impelled by some strange fatality, is resolved to reason with us only by the roar of his cannon, and the pointed arguments of muskets and bayonets. Because we refuse submission to the despotic power of a ministerial Parliament, our own sovereign, to whom we have been always ready to swear true allegiance— whoso authority we never meant to cast off—who might have continued happy in cheerful obedience, as faithful subjects as any in his dominions—has given us up to the rage of his ministers, to be seized at sea by the rapacious commanders of every little sloop of war and piratical cutter, and to be plundered and massacred by land by mercenary troops, who know no distinction betwixt an enemy and a brother, between right and wrong; but only, like brutal pursuers, to hunt and seize the prey pointed out by their masters.

We must keep our eyes fixed on the supreme government of the ETERNAL KING, as directing all events, setting up or pulling down the kings of the earth at his pleasure, suffering the best forms of human government to degenerate and go to ruin by corruption; or restoring the decayed constitutions of kingdoms and states, by reviving public virtue and religion, and granting the favorable inter-positions of his providence. To this our text leads us; and though I hope to be excused on this occasion from a formal discourse on the words in a doctrinal way, yet I must not wholly pass over the religions instruction contained in them.

Let us consider—that for the sins of a people God may suffer the best government to be corrupted, or entirely dissolved; and that nothing but a general reformation can give ground to hope that the public happiness will be restored, by the recovery of the strength and perfection of the state, and that divine Providence will interpose to fill every department with wise and good men.

Isaiah prophesied about the time of the captivity of the ten tribes of Israel, and about a century before the captivity of Judah. The kingdom of Israel was brought to destruction, because its iniquities were full; its counselors and judges were wholly taken away, because there remained no hope of reformation. But the scepter did not entirely depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, till the Messiah came; yet greater and greater changes took place in their political affairs; their government degenerated in proportion as their vices increased, till few faithful men were left in any public offices; and, at length, when they were delivered up for seventy years into the hands of the king of Babylon, scarce any remains of their original excellent civil polity appeared among them.

The Jewish government, according to the original constitution which was divinely established, if considered merely in a civil view, was a perfect republic. The heads of their tribes, and elders of their cities, were their counselors and judges. They called the people together in more general or particular assemblies, took their opinions, gave advice, and managed the public affairs according to the general voice. Counselors and judges comprehend all the powers of that government, for there was no such thing as as legislative authority belonging to it, — their complete code of laws being given immediately from God by the hand of Moses. And let them who cry up the divine right of kings consider that the only form of government which had a proper claim to a divine establishment was so far from including the idea of a king, that it was a high crime for Israel to ask to be in this respect like other nations; and when they were gratified, it was rather as a just punishment of their folly, that they might feel the burdens of court pageantry, of which they were warned by a very striking description, than as a divine recommendation of kingly authority. Every nation, when able and agreed, has a right to set up over themselves any form of government which to them may appear most conducive to their common welfare.(fn5) The civil polity of Israel is doubtless an excellent general model, allowing for some peculiarities; at least, some principal laws and orders of it may be copied to great advantage in more modern establishments.

When a government is in its prime, the public good engages the attention of the whole; the strictest regard is paid to the qualifications of those who hold the offices of the state; virtue prevails; everything is managed with justice, prudence, and frugality; the laws are founded on principles of equity rather than mere policy, and all the people are happy. But vice will increase with the riches and glory of an empire; and this gradually tends to corrupt the constitution, and in time bring on its dissolution. This may be considered not only as the natural effect of vice, but a righteous judgment of Heaven, especially upon a nation which has been favored with the blessings of religion and liberty, and is guilty of undervaluing them, and eagerly going into the gratification of every lust.

In this chapter the prophet describes the very corrupt state of Judah in his day, both as to religion and common morality, and looks forward to that increase of wickedness which would bring on their desolation and captivity. They were “a sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil-doers, children that were corrupters, who had forsaken the Lord, and provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger.” The whole body of the nation, from head to foot, was full of moral and political disorders, without any remaining soundness. Their religion was all mere ceremony and hypocrisy ; and even the laws of common justice and humanity were disregarded in their public courts. They had counselors and judges, but very different from those at the beginning of the commonwealth. Their princes were rebellious against God and the constitution of their country, and companions of thieves, — giving countenance to every artifice for seizing the property of the subjects into their own hands, and robbing the public treasury. Every one loved gifts, and followed after rewards ; they regarded the perquisites more than the duties of their office; the general aim was at profitable places and pensions; they were influenced in everything by bribery; and their avarice and luxury were never satisfied, but hurried them on to all kinds of oppression and violence, so that they even justified and encouraged the murder of innocent persons to support their lawless power and increase their wealth. And God, in righteous judgment, left them to run into all this excess of vice, to their own destruction, because they had forsaken him, and were guilty of willful inattention to the most essential parts of that religion which had been given them by a well-attested revelation from heaven.

The Jewish nation could not but see and feel the unhappy consequences of so great corruption of the state. Doubtless they complained much of men in power, and very heartily and liberally reproached them for their notorious misconduct. The public greatly suffered, and the people groaned and wished for better rulers and better management; but in vain they hoped for a change of men and measures and better times when the spirit of religion was gone, and the infection of vice was become universal. The whole body being so corrupted, there could be no rational prospect of any great reformation in the state, but rather of its ruin, which accordingly came on in Jeremiah’s time. Yet if a general reformation of religion and morals had taken place, and they had turned to God from all their sins, — if they had again recovered the true spirit of their religion, — God, by the gracious interpositions of his providence, would soon have found out methods to restore the former virtue of the state, and again have given them men of wisdom and integrity, according to their utmost wish, to be counsellors and judges. This was verified in fact after the nation had been purged by a long captivity, and returned to their own land humbled and filled with zeal for God and his law.

By all this we may be led to consider the true cause of the present remarkable troubles which are come upon Great Britain and these colonies, and the only effectual remedy.

We have rebelled against God. We have lost the true spirit of Christianity, though we retain the outward profession and form of it. We have neglected and set light by the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, and his holy commands and institutions. The worship of many is but mere compliment to the Deity, while their hearts are far from him. By many the gospel is corrupted into a superficial system of moral philosophy, little better than ancient Platonism; and, after all the pretended refinements of moderns in the theory of Christianity, very little of the pure practice of it is to be found among those who once stood foremost in the profession of the gospel. In a general view of the present moral state of Great Britain it may be said, “There is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery,” their wickedness breaks out, and one murder after another is committed, under the connivance and encouragement even of that authority by which such crimes ought to be punished, that the purposes of oppression and despotism may be answered. As they have increased, so have they sinned; therefore God is changing their glory into shame. The general prevalence of vice has changed the whole face of things in the British government.

The excellency of the constitution has been the boast of Great Britain and the envy of neighboring nations. In former times the great departments of the state, and the various places of trust and authority, were filled with men of wisdom, honesty, and religion, who employed all their powers, and were ready to risk their fortunes and their lives, for the public good. They were faithful counselors to kings; directed their authority and majesty to the happiness of the nation, and opposed every step by which despotism endeavored to advance. They were fathers of the people, and sought the welfare and prosperity of the whole body. They did not exhaust the national wealth by luxury and bribery, or convert it to their own private benefit or the maintenance of idle, useless officers and dependents, but improved it faithfully for the proper purposes — for the necessary support of government and defence of the kingdom. Their laws were dictated by wisdom and equality, and justice was administered with impartiality. Religion discovered its general influence among all ranks, and kept out great corruptions from places of power.

But in what does the British nation now glory? — In a mere shadow of its ancient political system, — in titles of dignity without virtue, — in vast public treasures continually lavished in corruption till every fund is exhausted, notwithstanding the mighty streams perpetually flowing in,— in the many artifices to stretch the prerogatives of the crown beyond all constitutional bounds, and make the king an absolute monarch, while the people are deluded with a mere phantom of liberty. What idea must we entertain of that great government, if such a one can be found, which pretends to have made an exact counterbalance of power between the sovereign, the nobles and the commons, so that the three branches shall be an effectual check upon each other, and the united wisdom of the whole shall conspire to promote the national felicity, but which, in reality, is reduced to such a situation that it may be managed at the sole will of one court favorite? What difference is there betwixt one(fn6) man’s choosing, at his own pleasure, by his single vote, the majority of those who are to represent the people, and his purchasing in such a majority, according to his own nomination, with money out of the public treasury, or other effectual methods of influencing elections? And what shall we say if, in the same manner, by places, pensions, and other bribes, a minister of the crown can at any time gain over a nobler majority likewise to be entirely subservient to his purposes, and, moreover, persuade his royal master to resign himself up wholly to the direction of his counsels? If this should be the case of any nation, from one seven years’ end to another, the bargain and sale being made sure for such a period, would they still have reason to boast of their excellent constitution?(fn7) Ought they not rather to think it high time to restore the corrupted, dying state to its original perfection? I will apply this to the Roman senate under Julius Caesar, which retained all its ancient formalities, but voted always only as Caesar dictated. If the decrees of such a senate were urged on the Romans, as fraught with all the blessings of Roman liberty, we must suppose them strangely deluded if they were persuaded to believe it.

corruption2The pretense for taxing America has been that the nation contracted an immense debt for the defence of the American colonies, and that, as they are now able to contribute some proportion towards the discharge of this debt, and must be considered as part of the nation, it is reasonable they should be taxed, and the Parliament has a right to tax and govern them, in all cases whatever, by its own supreme authority. Enough has been already published on this grand controversy, which now threatens a final separation of the colonies from Great Britain. But can the amazing national debt be paid by a little trifling sum, squeezed from year to year out of America, which is continually drained of all its cash by a restricted trade with the parent country, and which in this way is taxed to the government of Britain in a very large proportion? Would it not be much superior wisdom, and sounder policy, for a distressed kingdom to retrench the vast unnecessary expenses continually incurred by its enormous vices; to stop the prodigious sums paid in pensions, and to numberless officers, without the least advantage to the public; to reduce the number of devouring servants in the great family; to turn their minds from the pursuit of pleasure and the boundless luxuries of life to the important interests of their country and the salvation of the commonwealth? Would not a reverend regard to the authority of divine revelation, a hearty belief of the, gospel of the grace of God, and a general reformation of all those vices which bring misery and ruin upon individuals, families, and kingdoms, and which have provoked Heaven to bring the nation into such perplexed and dangerous circumstances, be the surest way to recover the sinking state, and make it again rich and flourishing? Millions might annually be saved if the kingdom were generally and thoroughly reformed; and the public debt, great as it is, might in a few years be cancelled by a growing revenue, which now amounts to full ten millions per annum, without laying additional burdens on any of the subjects. But the demands of corruption are constantly increasing, and will forever exceed all the resources of wealth which the wit of man can invent or tyranny impose.

Into what fatal policy has the nation been impelled, by its public vices, to wage a cruel war with its own children in these colonies, only to gratify the lust of power and the demands of extravagance! May God, in his great mercy, recover Great Britain from this fatal infatuation, show them their errors, and give them a spirit of reformation, before it is too late to avert impending destruction! May the eyes of the king be opened to see the ruinous tendency of the measures into which he has been led, and his heart inclined to treat his American subjects with justice and clemency, instead of forcing them still further to the last extremities! God grant some method may be found out to effect a happy reconciliation, so that the colonies may again enjoy the protection of their sovereign, with perfect security of all their natural rights and civil and religious liberties.

But, alas! have not the sins of America, and of New England in particular, had a hand in bringing down upon us the righteous judgments of Heaven? Wherefore is all this evil come upon us? Is it not because we have forsaken the Lord? Can we say we are innocent of crimes against God? No, surely. It becomes us to humble ourselves under his mighty hand, that he may exalt us in due time. However unjustly and cruelly we have been treated by man, we certainly deserve, at the hand of God, all the calamities in which we are now involved. Have we not lost much of that spirit of genuine Christianity which so remarkably appeared in our ancestors, for which God distinguished them with the signal favors of providence when they fled from tyranny and persecution into this western desert? Have we not departed from their virtues? Though I hope and am confident that as much true religion, agreeable to the purity and simplicity of the gospel, remains among us as among any people in the world, yet, in the midst of the present great apostasy of the nations professing Christianity, have not we likewise been guilty of departing from the living God? Have we not made light of the gospel of salvation, and too much affected the cold, formal, fashionable religion of countries grown old in vice, and overspread with infidelity? Do not our follies and iniquities testify against us? Have we not, especially in our seaports, gone much too far into the pride and luxuries of life? Is it not a fact, open to common observation, that profaneness, intemperance, unchastity, the love of pleasure, fraud, avarice, and other vices, are increasing among us from year to year? And have not even these young governments been in some measure infected with the corruptions of European courts? Has there been no flattery, no bribery, no artifices practiced, to get into places of honor and profit, or carry a vote to serve a particular interest, without regard to right or wrong? Have our statesmen always acted with integrity, and every judge with impartiality, in the fear of God? In short, have all ranks of men showed regard to the divine commands, and joined to promote the Redeemer’s kingdom and the public welfare? I wish we could more fully justify ourselves in all these respects. If such sins have not been so notorious, among us as in older countries, we must nevertheless remember that the sins of a people who have been remarkable for the profession of godliness, are more aggravated by all the advantages and favors they have enjoyed, and will receive more speedy and signal punishment; as God says of Israel: “You only have I known of all the families of the earth, therefore will I punish you for all your iniquities.” (Amos 3:2)

The judgments now come upon us are very heavy and distressing, and have fallen with peculiar weight on our capital, where, notwithstanding the plighted honor of the chief commander of the hostile troops, many of our brethren are still detained, as if they were captives;(fn8) and those that have been released have left the principal part of their substance, which is withheld, by arbitrary orders, contrary to an express treaty, to be plundered by the army.(fn9)

Let me address you in the words of the prophet: “O Israel! return unto the Lord thy God, for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity.” My brethren, let us repent, and implore the divine mercy; let us amend our ways and our doings, reform everything which has been provoking to the Most High, and thus endeavor to obtain the gracious interpositions of Providence for our deliverance.

If true religion is revived by means of these public calamities, and again prevails among us, — if it appears in our religious assemblies, in the conduct of our civil affairs, in our armies, in our families, in all our business and conversation, — we may hope for the direction and blessing of the Most High, while we are using our best endeavors to preserve and restore the civil government of this colony, and defend America from slavery.

Our late happy government is changed into the terrors of military execution. Our firm opposition to the establishment of an arbitrary system is called rebellion, and we are to expect no mercy, but to yield property and life at discretion. This we are resolved at all events not to do, and therefore we have taken up arms in our own defence, and all the colonies are united in the great cause of liberty.

But how shall we live while civil government is dissolved? What shall we do without counselors and judges? A state of absolute anarchy is dreadful. Submission to the tyranny of hundreds of imperious masters, firmly embodied against us, and united in the same cruel design of disposing of our lives and subsistence at their pleasure, and making their own will our law in all cases whatsoever, is the vilest slavery, and worse than death.

Thanks be to God that he has given us, as men, natural rights, independent on all human laws whatever, and that these rights are recognized by the grand charter of British liberties. By the law of nature, any body of people, destitute of order and government, may form themselves into a civil society, according to their best prudence, and so provide for their common safety and advantage. When one form is found by the majority not to answer the grand purpose in any tolerable degree, they may, by common consent, put an end to it and set up another, — only, as all such great changes are attended with difficulty and danger of confusion, they ought not to be attempted without urgent necessity, which will be determined always by the general voice of the wisest and best members of the community.

Corruption1If the great servants of the public forget their duty, betray their trust, and sell their country, or make war against the most valuable rights and privileges of the people, reason and justice require that they should be discarded, and others appointed in their room, without any regard to formal resignations of their forfeited power.

It must be ascribed to some supernatural influence on the minds of the main body of the people through this extensive continent, that they have so universally adopted the method of managing the important matters necessary to preserve among them a free government by corresponding committees and congresses, consisting of the wisest and most disinterested patriots in America, chosen by the unbiased suffrages of the people assembled for that purpose in their several towns, counties, and provinces. So general agreement, through so many provinces of so large a country, in one mode of self-preservation, is unexampled in any history; and the effect has exceeded our most sanguine expectations. Universal tumults, and all the irregularities and violence of mobbish factions, naturally arise when legal authority ceases. But how little of this has appeared in the midst of the late obstructions of civil government! — nothing more than what has often happened in Great Britain and Ireland, in the face of the civil powers in all their strength; nothing more than what is frequently seen in the midst of the perfect regulations of the great city of London; and, may I not add, nothing more than has been absolutely necessary to carry into execution the spirited resolutions of a people too sensible to deliver themselves up to oppression and slavery. The judgment and advice of the continental assembly of delegates have been as readily obeyed as if they were authentic acts of a long-established Parliament. And in every colony the votes of a congress have had equal effect with the laws of great and general courts.

It is now ten months since(fn10) this colony has been deprived of the benefit of that government which was so long enjoyed by charter. They have had no General Assembly formatters of legislation and the public revenue; the courts of justice have been shut up,(fn11) and almost the whole executive power has ceased to act; yet order among the people has been remarkably preserved. Few crimes have been committed, punishable by the judge; even former contentions betwixt one neighbor and another have ceased; nor have fraud and rapine taken advantage of the imbecility of the civil powers.

The necessary preparations for the defence of our liberties required not only the collected wisdom and strength of the colony, but an immediate, cheerful application of the wealth of individuals to the public service, in due proportion, or a taxation which depended on general consent. Where was the authority to vote, collect, or receive the large sums required, and make provision for the utmost extremities? A Congress succeeded to the honors of a General Assembly as soon as the latter was crushed by the hand of power. It gained all the confidence of the people. Wisdom and prudence secured all that the laws of the former constitution could have given; and we now observe with astonishment an army of many thousands of well-disciplined troops suddenly assembled, and abundantly furnished with all necessary supplies, in defence of the liberties of America.

But is it proper or safe for the colony to continue much longer in such imperfect order? Must it not appear rational and necessary, to every man that understands the various movements requisite to good government, that the many parts should be properly settled, and every branch of the legislative and executive authority restored to that order and vigor on which the life and health of the body politic depend? To the honorable gentlemen now met in this new congress as the fathers of the people, this weighty matter must be referred. Who knows but in the midst of all the distresses of the present war to defeat the attempts of arbitrary power, God may in mercy restore to us our judges as at the first, and our counselors as at the beginning?

On your wisdom, religion, and public spirit, honored gentlemen, we depend, to determine what may be done as to the important matter of reviving the form of government, and settling all necessary affairs relating to it in the present critical state of things, that we may again have law and justice, and avoid the danger of anarchy and confusion. May God be with you, and by the influences of his Spirit direct all your counsels and resolutions for the glory of his name and the safety and happiness of this colony. We have great reason to acknowledge with thankfulness the evident tokens of the Divine presence with the former congress, that they were led to foresee present exigencies, and make such effectual provision for them. It is our earnest prayer to the Father of Lights that he would irradiate your minds, make all your way plain, and grant you may be happy instruments of many and great blessings to the people by whom you are constituted, to New England, and all the united colonies. Let us praise our God(fn12) for the advantages already given us over the enemies of liberty, particularly that they have been so dispirited by repeated experience of the efficacy of our arms; and that, in the late action at Chelsea, when several hundreds of our soldiery, the greater part open to the fire of so many cannon, swivels, and muskets, from a battery advantageously situated,—from two armed cutters, and many barges full of marines, and from ships of the line in the harbor, — not one man on our side was killed, and but two or three wounded; when, by the best intelligence, a great number were killed and wounded on the other side, and one of their cutters was taken and burnt, the other narrowly escaping with great damage.(fn13)

If God be for us, who can be against us? The enemy has reproached us for calling on his name, and professing our trust in him. They have made a mock of our solemn fasts, and every appearance of serious Christianity in the land. On this account, by way of contempt, they call us saints; and that they themselves may keep at the greatest distance from this character, their mouths are full of horrid blasphemies, cursing, and bitterness, and vent all the rage of malice and barbarity. And may we not be confident that the Most High, who regards these things, will vindicate his own honor, and plead our righteous cause against such enemies to his government, as well as our liberties? O, may our camp be free from every accursed thing! May our land be purged from all its sins! May we be truly a holy people, and all our towns cities of righteousness!

Then the Lord will be our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, and we shall have no reason to be afraid though thousands of enemies set themselves against us round about, — though all nature should be thrown into tumults and convulsions. He can command the stars in their courses to fight his battles, and all the elements to wage war with his enemies. He can destroy them with innumerable plagues, or send faintness into their hearts, so that the men of might shall not find their hands. In a variety of methods he can work salvation for us, as he did for his people in-ancient days, and according to the many remarkable deliverances granted in former times to Great Britain and New England when popish machinations threatened both countries with civil and ecclesiastical tyranny.(fn15)

May the Lord hear us in this day of trouble, and the name of the God of Jacob defend us, send us help from his sanctuary, and strengthen us out of Zion! We will rejoice in his salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners. Let us look to him to fulfill all our petitions.”

About Samuel Langdon

This eminent man, celebrated alike for his piety and sterling patriotism, was born at Boston, Massachusetts. Through the exertions of his friends, who discovered in him a desire to obtain a liberal education, he was entered at Harvard College, from which institution he graduated with credit in 1740 (The same year in which Samuel Adams graduated). From college he went to Portsmouth, in Now Hampshire, where he was employed to take charge of a grammar school until 1745, at which time he was invited to preach in the First Church, as assistant to Mr. Fitch. Two years after, he was ordained, and from this time until the commencement of the difficulties between England and her colonies, he continued an active laborer for the cause of the church.

Dr. Langdon was a very zealous Whig. His bold and open opposition to the measures of the British government, rendered him highly acceptable to the patriots of New England, and through the influence of John Hancock and others, he was, in 1774, installed as successor of Mr. Locke in the presidency of Harvard College. When he took the chair it gave great delight to the sons of liberty; and in 1775, a month after the commencement of the war, he was chosen to preach the election sermon, as seen above. After an able administration, in a period of peculiar embarrassment, he resigned the presidency of the college.

President Langdon’s connection with the college did not prove of the most satisfactory character. His administration was a perpetual struggle with difficulties and embarrassments, amid the dangers of civil war and the excitement of a political revolution. He wanted judgment, and had no spirit of government. He did not receive that respect and kindness from the students and others connected with the college, that were due his character as a scholar and a Christian. Under these circumstances he resigned the presidency, and in 1781, became the pastor of a church at Hampton Falls, near Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In 1788 he preached the election sermon at Concord, and the same year occupied a seat in the New Hampshire Convention, in which body he took an active part, and had an extensive influence in removing the prejudices which prevailed against the Federal Constitution, and was prominent in securing the adoption of it. At the age of seventy-four, on the twenty-ninth of November, 1794, he closed a life well spent, beloved for his piety, hospitality, and good-will to his fellow-men, revered for his private and public life.

Footnotes:

(fn1) Mr. Sabine’s learned “Report on the Principal Fisheries of the American Seas,” 1833, is an invaluable contribution to American history. It is essential to a correct knowledge of American colonization, and of much of our subsequent history.

(fn2) Mr. Frothingham presents the results of an able and conscientious study of these events in his ” History of the Siege of Boston,” — ” The best of our historic monographs.”— Bancroft in Allibone. See also Mr. Henry B.Dawson’s elaborate pages in “The Battles of the United States.”

(fn3) Rev. Isaac Mansfield, Jr., chaplain to General Thomas’s regiment, in his Thanksgiving Sermon ” in the camp at Roxbury, November 23, 1775,” says of the event of April 19th: “What but the hand of Providence preserved the school of the prophets from their ravage, who would have deprived us of many advantages for moral or religious improvement?” To this he adds the note following: ” General Gage, as governor of this province, issued his precepts for convening a General Assembly at Boston, designing to enforce a compliance with Lord North’s designing motion; they were to be kept as prisoners in garrison, till, under the mouth of cannon and at the point of the bayonet, they should be reduced to a mean and servile submission. To facilitate this matter, he was to send out a party to take possession of a magazine at Concord. Presuming that this might be done without opposition, the said party, upon their return from Concord, were to lay waste till they should arrive at Cambridge common; there, after destroying the colleges”— seminaries of sedition — ” and other buildings, they were to throw up an entrenchment upon the said common, their number was to be increased from the garrison, and the next morning a part of the artillery to be removed and planted in the entrenchment aforesaid. This astonishing manoeuvre, it was supposed, would so effectually intimidate the constituents, that the General Assembly, by the compliance designed, would literally represent their constituents.’ The author is not at liberty to publish the channel through which he received the foregoing, but begs to assure the reader that it came so direct that he cannot hesitate in giving credit to it. He recollects one circumstance which renders it highly probable: Lord Percy (on April 19), suspicious his progress to Concord might be retarded by the plank of the bridge at Cambridge being taken away, brought out from Boston several loads of plank, with a number of carpenters; not finding occasion to use them, he carried them on his way to Concord, perhaps about a mile and a half from the bridge; about an hour after the plank were returned. If he had intended to repass that river at night, he must have reserved the plank; if he designed to stop in Cambridge, the plank must be an encumbrance. This conduct, in returning the plank, may be accounted for upon supposition of the foregoing plan of operation.”

(fn4) Near the meeting-house in Menotomy (now West Cambridge) two aged helpless men, who had not been out in the action, and were found unarmed in a house where the regulars entered, were murdered without mercy. In another house in that neighborhood, a woman in bed with a new-born infant—about a week old—was forced by the threats of the soldiery to escape almost naked to an open outhouse; her house was then set on fire, but was soon extinguished by one of the children which had lain concealed till the enemy was gone. In Cambridge a man of weak mental powers, who went out to gaze at the regular army as they passed, without arms, or thought of danger, was wantonly shot at, and killed by those inhuman butchers, as he sat on a fence.

(fn5) “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; …. it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundations on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.”—Dec. of Ind., July 4th, 1776.

(fn6) Mr. Burke, in his “Thoughts on the Present Discontents,” 1770, said: “The power of the crown, almost rotten and dead as prerogative, has grown up anew, with much more strength, and far less odium, under the name of influence,” intrigue, and favoritism; and a few years later he refers to the “not disavowed use which has been made of his Majesty’s name for the purpose of the most unconstitutional, corrupt, and dishonorable influence on the minds of the members of this Parliament that ever was practiced in this kingdom. No attention even to exterior decorum,” etc.

(fn7) This contemporary observation of the English government of that period shows the watchful eye of the colonists on the administration; and by it we can better appreciate their masterly conduct of public affairs, and their superiority over the British statesmen. England knew not her colonists, but she was known of them.

(fn8) One apology for this bad faith was, that if only Tory interests remained in Boston the patriots would fire the town. It occasioned extreme anxiety and suffering. — Frothingham, 93-90

(fn9) Soon alter the battle at Concord, General Gage stipulated, with the selectmen of Boston, that if the inhabitants would deliver up their arms, to be deposited in Fanuell Hall, and returned when circumstances would permit, they should have liberty to quit the town, and take with them their effects. They readily complied, but soon found themselves abused. With great difficulty, and very slowly, they obtain passes, but are forbidden to carry out anything besides household furniture and wearing apparel. Merchants and shopkeepers are obliged to leave behind all their merchandise, and even their cash is detained. Mechanics are not allowed to bring out the most necessary tools for their work. Not only their family stores of provisions are stopped, but it has been repeatedly and credibly affirmed that poor women and children have had the very smallest articles of this kind taken from them, which were necessary for their refreshment while they traveled a few miles to their friends; and that even from young children, in their mothers’ arms, the cruel soldiery have taken the morsel of bread given to prevent their crying, and thrown it away. How much better for the inhabitants to have resolved, at all hazards, to defend themselves by their arms against such an enemy, than suffer such shameful abuse!

(fn10) Since July 17, 1771, when the General Court at Salem closed the door against the secretary sent by Governor Gage to dissolve the Assembly, chose Thomas Gushing, Samuel Adams, Robert Treat Paine, James Bowdoin, and John Adams, delegates to a congress of the colonies, passed resolves, and separated. — Ed.

(fn11) The power of public opinion in preserving order and safety during the period from the time when the king’s courts and magistrates — all legal authority — ceased to act, till the accession of constitutional authority,— a phenomenon which excited the admiration of the world, — is finely illustrated in Mr. Freeman’s account of the proceedings in Barnstable county, “on the first Tuesday of September,” 1774. As there might be appeals from the Court of Common Pleas to the Superior Court, the Chief Justice of which, Hutchinson, had accepted a salary from the crown, the people suppressed the sessions of that court throughout the province, except in Boston, where they were not in power. Fifteen hundred of the people of Barnstable, Plymouth, and Bristol counties, thoroughly organized, met in front of the court-house, at Barnstable, and, through their conductor-in-chief, Dr. Nathaniel Freeman, of Sandwich, addressed Colonel Otis, the venerable Chief Justice: . . . “Our safety, all that is dear to us, and the welfare of unborn millions, have directed this movement to prevent the court from being opened or doing any business. We have taken all the consequences into consideration; we have weighed them well, and have formed this resolution, which we shall not rescind.” The Chief Justice then calmly but firmly replied: “This is a legal and a constitutional court; it has suffered no mutations; the juries have been drawn from the boxes as the law directs; and why would you interrupt its proceedings?—why do you make a leap before you get to the hedge?” Dr. Freeman responded: “All this has been considered. We do not appear out of any disrespect to this honorable court, nor do we apprehend that if you proceed to business you will do anything that we could censure. But, sir, from all the decisions of this court, of more than forty shillings’ amount, an appeal lies; an appeal to what? — to a court holding office during the king’s pleasure, —a court over which we have no control or influence, — a court paid out of the revenue that is extorted from us by the illegal and unconstitutional edict of foreign despotism, —and there the jury will be appointed by the sheriff. For this reason we have adopted this method of stopping the avenue through which business may otherwise pass to that tribunal, — well knowing that if they have no business they can do us no harm.” The Chief Justice then said: “As is my duty, I now, in his Majesty’s name, order you immediately to disperse, and give the court the opportunity to perform the business of the county.” Dr. Freeman replied: “We thank your Honor for having done TotK duty: We Shall Continue To Perform Ours.” The court then turned and repaired to the house where they had put up. This was supposed to be the first overt act of Treason, done deliberately, in the face of day. The solemnity and sense of right which governed the people, and which was a characteristic of the revolutionary period, was grandly exhibited in their code of regulations adopted on this occasion. We give their own words:

“Whereas a strict adherence to virtue and religion is not only well pleasing in the sight of Almighty God, and highly commendable before men, but hath a natural tendency to good order, and to lead mankind in the paths of light and truth:

“Therefore, Resolved, That we will . . . avoid all kinds of intemperance by strong liquors, and no otherwise frequent the taverns than for necessary entertainment and refreshment; that we will not swear profanely, or abuse our superiors, equals, or inferiors, by any ill or opprobrious language; that we will not invade the property of any, or take of their goods or estate without their leave or consent; that we will not offer violence to any persons, or use any threatening words, otherwise than such as shall be approved of and accounted necessary by our community for the accomplishing the errand we go upon; and that we will carefully observe an orderly, circumspect, and civil behavior, as well towards strangers and all others as towards those of our own fellowship.

“Resolved, That Messrs. Aaron Barlow, Nathaniel Briggs, James Foster, Joseph Haskell, 3d, John Doty, Judah Sears, Jr., Stephen Wing, and John Pitcher, be a committee to hear and determine all offenses against morality, decency, and good manners, that shall be complained of, . . . with power to call before them, examine, acquit, or punish, according to the nature and circumstances of the offence

“Resolved, That we will, during the time of our said enterprise, aid, protect, and support our said committee in the full and free discharge of their duty and office, and use our most careful endeavors for the punishment of all offenders.

“And, forasmuch as these our public transactions are of a public nature, and, as we apprehend, laudable; and as we have no private interest to serve, or anything in view but the good of our country and its common cause:

“Therefore, Voted, That these resolves be read once every day, at some convenient time and place, during our transitory state and temporary fellowship, — so that our righteousness may plead our cause, and bear a public testimony that we are neither friends to mobs, or riots, or any other wickedness or abomination.

“And, lastly, we Resolve, That we will yield all due respect and obedience to those persons whom we shall choose and appoint for our officers and leaders,” etc.— ” History of Cape Cod,” by Rev. Frederick Freeman, Boston, 1860; a work of great value and interest, of which chapters xix. xx. are additional to previous materials, and supply a passage in the moral history of the people the most difficult to be preserved.

Mr. Burke, in March, 1775, reflecting on this singular spectacle of a people remaining in perfect order without a public council, judges, or executive magistrates, said: “Obedience is what makes government, and not the names by which it is called; not the name of governor, as formerly, or committee, as at present.”

(fn12) Governor Gage, in his proclamation of June 12,1775, a few days after Dr. Langdon’s sermon was preached, said: “To complete the horrid profanation of terms and of ideas, the name of God has been introduced in the pulpits to excite and justify devastation and massacre.”

(fn13) This action was in the night following the twenty-seventh current, after our soldiery had been taking off the cattle from some islands in Boston harbor. By the best information we have been able to procure, about one hundred and five of the king’s troops were killed, and one hundred and sixty wounded, in the engagement.(fn14)

(fn14) Frothinghatn, pp. 109, 110, says this was magnified into a battle, and dwelt upon with great exultation throughout the colonies. The loss of the enemy was probably exaggerated. — Gordon, Letter xiv.

Mr. Mansfield, in his Thanksgiving Sermon at Roxbury, November 23, 1775, said: “Providence has likewise smiled upon the camp, in permitting so few fatal accidents, and evidently been its safeguard.” He says: “I am informed that by means of upwards two thousand balls that have been thrown from the opposite lines, five men only have been taken off.

(fn15) When we consider the late Canada Bill, which implies not merely a toleration of the Roman Catholic religion (which would be just and liberal), but a Arm establishment of it through that extensive province, now greatly enlarged to serve political purposes, by which means multitudes of people, subjects of Great Britain, which may hereafter settle that vast country, will be tempted, by all the attachments arising from an establishment, to profess that religion, or be discouraged from any endeavors to propagate reformed principles, have we not great reason to suspect that all the late measures respecting the colonies have originated from popish schemes of men who would gladly restore the race of Stuart, and who look on Popery as a religion most favorable to arbitrary power? It is a plain fact that despotism has an establishment in that province equally with the Roman Catholic Church. The governor, with a council very much under his power, has by his commission almost unlimited authority, free from the clog of representatives of the people. However agreeable this may be to the genius of the French, English subjects there will be discouraged from continuing in a country where both they and their posterity will be deprived of the greatest privileges of the British constitution, and in many respects feel the effects of absolute monarchy.

Lord Littleton, in his defence of this detestable statute, frankly concedes that it is an establishment of the Roman Catholic religion, and that part of the policy of it was to provide a check upon the New England colonies. And the writer of an address of the people of Great Britain to the inhabitants of America, just published, expresses himself with great precision when he says ” that statute gave toleration to English subjects.”

I perceive likewise that by means of about three hundred balls, etc., thrown into this place”— Roxbury — “in the course of one month, viz., from September 3 to October 3, but two were wounded (one but slightly; the other died, after some time, of his wound), and no man was immediately killed. It is to be remarked further, that not one person was hurt, in the course of above three hundred shells being thrown to a fortress erected upon Ploughed Hill,” in Charlestown.