Machine of Good Government Separating the Wheat from the Tares!

Machine of Government

Good Machine of Government

The Machine of Good Government Created by the Wisdom Imparted to the Founding Fathers of America! I say “Wisdom Imparted to the Founding Fathers of America” because it was not their wisdom, it was the wisdom of God and Christ Jesus our Lord they loaned the Founding Fathers. Not that the Founding Fathers had or gained of their own volition, choice or opportunity!

Reminder to my TeaParty Peeps & Christian Patriot brothers & sisters from our dear forefather Edmund Burke

“When bad men combine the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”

Editorial Note… While watching it this week in the hospital, One of the things that struck me when watching the “Killing Jesus” movie from Bill O’Reilly’s historically accurate account of the life and death of Jesus. It was based SOLELY on historical accounts, nothing came from the Bible. This is why I saw it in the Light that I did, because I wasn’t looking at it as an account from the Bible which I love so tenderly, but as a historically accurate accounting of the greatest life who ever graced the earthen soil, and who ever gave of Himself to teach us so much about the way God meant for us to live our lives. O’Reilly and his collaborative author used ONLY historical accounts from people who were actually there.

Looking at it simply from a historical perspective caused me to see it in a New Light. The Leftist democrats today in America, use the very same tactics, rhetoric,, etc. against US on the Right and of “THE RIGHT” that they used against Jesus Christ in His time. It really is extraordinary how they Never Ever Change!

THE LAW OF GOD as it relates to our treatment of personal enemies, is clearly laid down in the closing verses of the Fifth Chapter of Matthew. No other part of the law is so hard for men to obey and obedience to no other part is more necessary in order to make men Christ-like. It is in brief this: Ye have heard that it was said an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth; but I say unto you, “Resist not him that is evil; but whosoever smiteth thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. Love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you, that ye may be the sons of your Father which is in heaven.”

The Christian World recognizes this, theoretically at least, as a divine command which is to be obeyed; and whenever a Christian admits malice and personal hatred into his heart, and cherishes them and does not make any effort to expel them, he knows perfectly well that he is no longer in a state of grace, but is in rebellion against God. There is undoubtedly an immense amount of this rebellion in the Christian Church; but that does not change in the least the law of God respecting the treatment of personal enemies. That law is well established and well understood even if it is not well obeyed.

But a question of a different nature arises when we have to deal—not with personal enemies—but, so to speak, with public enemies, with knaves and evil doers, who may be classed as the enemies of all righteousness, through whom all sorts of corruption are brought into society or the Church or the State. These may be frankly, avowedly evil men, or they may be evil while pretending to be good. What is to be our attitude towards these? How are we to treat them as individuals?

According to the commonly accepted idea, the true and heroic soul must be ready at all times to defend all good and attack all evil. It must be utterly unselfish and self-sacrificing. It must be on the alert for the discovery of objects of attack and objects of defense. It must be untrammeled by circumstances and conditions. It must recognize no such thing as mere expediency. It must allow nothing but absolute right. In short, the hero must be a man of war to whom peace must not be permitted till every enemy of right and justice has been subdued.

That under this definition very few heroic souls can be found, goes without saying. Recall your own experience in life and you will not find it difficult to see that you have encountered a good deal of wrong, which you have not only done nothing to prevent, but against which you have not even borne any special testimony. It may not be humiliating to know that we are not heroic souls, as certainly most of us know that we are not; but it is humiliating to live in the midst of evil for the suppression of which we make no particular effort, and to feel all the time that we are perhaps not only cowardly, but also guilty of criminal neglect.

I should be very sorry to say anything which would excuse a cowardly neglect of duty or let men feel comfortable while they permit all manner of wrong to be done which they possibly might prevent. But I am of the opinion that even the holiest of wars ought not to be entered into without discretion and that even for the individual in society, the highest morality permits the free use of the tomahawk and scalping knife much less frequently than is supposed. I wish to throw upon this most interesting and perplexing subject of a Christian’s proper attitude towards wrong as embodied in bad men and bad measures, the light reflected from the teachings of Jesus, the world’s greatest hero, whose precepts and examples alike it is our highest honor to follow. I shall be much disappointed in the result if it shall not appear that the divine Master, whose soul in the presence of evil sometimes flashed with a Sinai-like righteous indignation and at other times was as gentle as a mother with her babe, has not left us some instruction that is not entirely in accord with the Christian world’s commonly received opinions on this subject.

One of the favorite methods of Jesus for imparting truth was the parable. Everybody must admit that His parables present truth in a very vivid and impressive manner. One may easily lose the connection of thought and mistake the logic of Paul’s Epistles. But no one need ever miss the point in one of Jesus’ parables. The simplicity and clearness with which they are expressed cannot easily be improved. They so perfectly reflect human experience in all ages that they are as instructive today as they were when they were first uttered by Jesus. One of these interesting parables is that of the tares and wheat. A certain man sowed good seed in his field, but in the night an enemy sowed tares. When the grain appeared, the tares also appeared. The servants of the farmer were much disturbed at the appearance of the tares and asked the master if he wished them to go and gather the tares up. But he answered with great wisdom, “no, lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up the wheat also. Let both grow together till the harvest. And in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, gather ye together first the tares and hind them in bundles to burn them—but gather the wheat into my barn.”

Now as an abstract proposition, tares are bad and they are especially bad among wheat. Under certain conditions nothing wiser could be done than to gather up the tares as soon as they are discovered; but, if they are so mixed with the wheat as to be not easily separated, and the destruction of the one is to be the destruction of the other, true wisdom says, wait awhile.

The simple statement of this parable in perfect accord as it is with Jesus’ practice, illuminates the subject we are considering. What is wanted is wheat. The question of tares or 110 tares is of no consequence except in its relation to the wheat. If to root up the tares is to root up the wheat it would be the height of folly to disturb either; and if by possibility the wheat can grow to a mature and profitable harvest in spite of the tares, then it is the highest wisdom to let both grow together. And this truth, so simply drawn from the ordinary operations of the farmer’s field, governments in the exercise of their exalted powers, and churches in their disciplinary zeal and individuals with more of the zeal, of the servant than of the wisdom of the master, all alike will do well to heed.

We may deduce from this teaching the general proposition that we may not do even a right act, nor an act which under other circumstances would be a positive duty, if the outcome is to be injurious to the Kingdom of God, or to express it more secularly, if the outcome is to be destructive of the general good. In other words, Jesus teaches what Paul taught. All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient. I may do things or refuse to do things on the ground of expediency. I am not required to hit every knave’s head that I see, if as a consequence a number of honest people, including myself, are going to have their heads broken. Human society is a very complex affair. The dependence and interdependence of the parts are so complex as to baffle analysis. Perhaps there is nothing more disturbing to the peaceful working of this organization than a well-meaning moral lunatic who insists on his right to run amuck—who rushes here and there and everywhere, stabbing right and left at all whom he encounters, and who insists also that everybody who does not run amuck with him is a coward and a knave. His fanatic soul never pauses for an instant to consider the possibility of destroying good as well as evil.

It is unquestionable that we are obliged to endure, with what patience we may, a great deal of evil simply because we cannot get rid of it without bringing on others a great deal of undeserved trouble and suffering and imperiling the general welfare. Jesus bore in silence the tyranny and injustice of Roman power as exercised in Judea, over his own people, although the destruction of Roman power and the liberation of the Jews was what the Jews expected of the promised Messiah; and the silent patience of the Divine Master has been a power for good in the world through the centuries far transcending all that could have been accomplished by open denunciation of the Romans or incitement of his countrymen to rebellion. He was a reformer—but not a destructive reformer. The evolution of goodness was what he sought, and his silence respecting many public evils, is suggestive alike of the most sublime patience and of the highest wisdom.

Every thoughtful man, who looks at the world as it is today, must be impressed by the strange blending of good and evil, not merely in the world as a whole, but in its various organizations and even in the character of individuals. No matter how noble may be the purpose for which institutions exist, none of them are found to be perfect in operation; and no matter how grand a man may be in his character, no one is to be found who is not more or less like Nebuchadnezzar’s image–some part of him at least clay, and, therefore, easily broken.

In this mixed condition of human society and human character we are really none of us qualified to pass final judgment upon our fellows and proceed to execution; nor are we called upon to do so. You remember that memorable scene recorded in the eighth chapter of John, where the Scribes and Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman deserving death under the law and asked him what they should do to her, and he answered: He that is without sin among you—without this sin—let him be the first to cast a stone at her. There wasn’t any such man in the crowd. They, when they heard Jesus’ answer, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last. And Jesus was left alone and the woman standing in the midst.

If we are not qualified to pass final judgment upon our fellow men, it is manifest that, while we cannot help having opinions as to people’s character, we are under no obligation to express our judgment of men, even bad men as we think, and to vindicate our judgment by our own acts—except so far as Jesus did—and the exception, as will appear later in this address, is a most important one.

In general, established governments are to be obeyed, but there is such a thing as the right of revolution. But this is not an unqualified right. It is not permitted to every dissatisfied citizen to raise the standard of revolt even though the government be unjust and oppressive. There must be a reasonable prospect of success.

Revolution means blood-shed and misery—an awful uprooting of wheat as well as of tares. No nation should be plunged into this recklessly without any prospect of bettering its condition after all its bloody struggles. So that even in matters so large and dreadful as revolutions, the question of expediency is a controlling one; and the would-be-revolutionists are bound to inquire whether, as a result of their plans, more good or more evil is likely to be experienced. And if this is true of conflicts with organized society or government, it is not less true of conflicts with parties, churches, and individuals. Conflicts may be entered into wisely only when great evils are likely to be removed without greater evils being produced. A church suffers from the presence of a disreputable member; but it is a good deal better to let that tare grow till the harvest, than to stir up a church quarrel, generally the fiercest of all quarrels, and root up a great many stalks of wheat. Let both grow together till the harvest, says the Master, lest while ye root up the tares ye root up the wheat also.

The entire history of persecutions in connection with the Christian church is a history of attempts to root up supposed tares before the harvest. The line of persecution is almost unbroken through the centuries—Saul verily thinking he ought to do what he did against the Christians—Catholics persecuting Protestants, and Protestants persecuting one another and Catholics when they got the chance—down even to the early days of New England when the Puritans—not the Pilgrims— persecuted Quakers and Baptists; and the echoes still come to us from ecclesiastical councils which discipline or excommunicate men for differing with their brethren in creed or worship— the power of putting to death no longer existing—and as one travels back over the ground on which these historic events have occurred, it is painful to see that there is much more of wheat wilted and shriveled in the sun than there is of tares uprooted.

No half way measures—says the fanatic. Perfection or nothing. This is all nonsense. It is not Christ-like. Tearing everything to pieces is not Christ’s plan. Because Caesar gets more than he ought, and God less than he ought, “Down with Caesar and give him nothing,” says the fanatic. “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things which are God’s,” says Jesus, even at the moment when Caesar is a tyrant lording it over Judea.

Charles A. Dana was once Horace Greeley’s assistant on the New York Tribune. He exhibited the same characteristics for which he was noted many years as editor of the New York Sun. Any public man whom he had reason, as he thought, to believe to be a fraud or a knave, he attacked most mercilessly. His victims of course writhed under his attacks and they and their friends became enemies of the Tribune. Mr. Greeley stood it as long as he could, but at last he called a halt, exclaiming, “Dana, no paper on earth can stand it to attack all the scoundrels in the world.”

There are a great many people who are glad to see scoundrels exposed and attacked; but there are not very many who wish to join in the attack. They look on with complacency because the attack seems proper enough and they are not in it and therefore no odium attaches to them. It is for this reason that political reform is for the most part spasmodic or a failure. Somebody discovers that reform is needed and he tries to bring it about. The rest look on perfectly willing that he should try and even hoping that he will succeed—but without them. He does try—gets little sympathy and less help—soon finds that the forces of evil are much more compact and better organized than the forces of good—finds himself at last defeated and alone—and retires from the contest with a firm determination that the next man who tries to do anything for public and political reform, shall be somebody else than himself.

When we contemplate the condition of things even in our own country, or shall I say especially in our own country, we cannot fail to be impressed with the undesirable character of much which goes on. Bribery and corruption are manifestly dangerous to the republic. This is a representative government. We cannot meet in mass conventions for legislative purposes as New England has so long done in her town meetings. We choose our representatives. They with the representatives of all the rest of the people make laws, and elect United States senators who help to make laws for the whole country. Now, if the representative refuses to represent; if he is open to offers of pecuniary benefit for his vote; if he will vote for the candidate for senator who will give him the most money or offer him the best place; if he will vote for or against bills for public acts for a bribe, he has betrayed his constituents and set an example which if generally followed would make a farce of government and put all power into the hands of those who are rich enough and corrupt enough to buy legislatures. Such things are done and we know it. They are disgraceful, of course, to the briber and the bribed. But what are you going to do about it? The man who bought the votes has his seat in the United States senate or whatever else he wanted, all safe enough. The man who sold his vote has his money in his pocket or in some other place where it cannot be traced—and he does not feel a bit lonely, for there are so many others who have had their pockets lined in the same way that he has no lack of companionship. Nobody doubts what has been done. Nobody can prove anything, and if anybody did prove anything the matter would be whitewashed and he would have trouble for his pains. Such things go on in almost every state in the Union. They are disreputable, wrong, destructive of the best interests of the country. You regret to have things so; but you are busy and cannot look closely into these matters. If your own representative is guilty you will see to it that he does not get nominated again. You go to the next caucus, and sure enough the unfaithful representative is not a candidate. A new man is up for the nomination—apparently a clean man —one who can be trusted. You are delighted and gladly vote for him, and he is elected—but you learn later that he is the twin brother of the last man. Of course I am not speaking of this particular legislative district in which we are assembled. I need not say that this district, has not been represented recently by that sort of men. I am speaking of what is true in many more places and states than it ought to be; and I am calling attention not to the fact that so much bribery and corruption and trading exist, as everybody knows, but to the apparent helplessness of the people who do not like it and yet do not prevent it. They grumble and complain and call hard names and then let things go till the next election, when they generally go to the polls and help elect a brother-in-law of the twins.

Now the trouble with many reformers in politics is that they are a great deal more bent on pulling up tares than they are on raising wheat, and yet, wheat is the only good thing to be got and it there is no wheat the tares do no special harm. One saloon more or less in Sodom would make but little difference. To illustrate—let me, without offence to any one, say a few words respecting what so many people profess to have a holy horror of—the machine in politics. What is a machine? It is “a combination of bodies so connected that their relative motions are constrained, and by which, force and motion may be transmitted and applied to the production of some desired effect.” In mechanics, nothing better than a machine can be desired. This is the age of machines and a machine is always more than a match for untrained hand-labor.

In almost every state and every city of any size, there is what is commonly known in politics as the machine. It is an organization of men who go into politics more or less as a business. They give time, thought, and energy to it. They all have a common purpose and they work together with a harmony which makes the name machine eminently appropriate. Sometimes they do no great harm—they simply win where the other men fail. The reason that the other men fail is because they are in politics only in a half-hearted way, and they act without concert. When the time for the caucus comes, the machine is ready. It has its candidates for delegates. It knows just whom these delegates, if elected, will vote for.

It knows whom the men nominated by the delegates will vote for. It has a complete list of candidates who can be depended on from the local precinct to the United States senate. The machine has been attending to this business all the time. It is a compact organization, thoroughly disciplined, knowing its own men, able to predict the result, and in most cases sure to win. The dissatisfied element outside, good citizens, reformers, grumblers, loud advocates of pure politics, have no perfect organization, no plan that is worthy of the name, no candidates who are more than half-hearted in the fight, and so to the last everything is all sixes and sevens, a great deal of honest purpose and virtuous patriotism is wasted— not for anything very positive, but mainly to smash the machine—and the machine wins. There is no help for it. The regular army always beats the mob. It pays once in a great while to expose a company of raw militia to the fire of a thousand regulars, as it did on Lexington Green on the nineteenth of April, 1775; but in the ordinary processes of war it is criminal waste of life. And in politics it is hardly less a criminal waste of energy and high sentiment to array against a compact political organization having a definite purpose, an unorganized mass of citizens, without discipline, without leaders, and without plans.

If men want pure politics and honest officials they must give systematic attention to the matter, and not trust to a little spirit of excitement just before election, when in all probability it is too late to do any good. Eternal vigilance is the price of honest legislation as well as of liberty.

No one certainly can dislike the machine in its ordinary sense as a combination for corrupt purposes, more heartily than I do. But a machine is all right if it is properly used and used for proper purposes. And the only way to fight a bad machine is with a good one. If honesty is ever to win in politics, the men who desire it, must take their first lesson in practical politics from the machine and organize to some purpose. And until people who believe in honest legislation can be so banded together as to act with some of the efficiency of the machine, there is very little use in the individual citizen’s trying to pull up tares in the field of politics, except it be for his own moral exercise and growth.

If your idea of a proper caucus is one to which men shall go without any forethought as to candidates, your idea will never be realized. Somebody will have thought about it. If you have not, the machine doubtless has. Organization, concert of action among men of like minds is not only proper but desirable.

If the object to be secured is a good one, it is no worse because there has been an organized effort to secure it. Of course if the object to be secured is bad and the machine works for it, the machine is bad; hut it is so because it is working for evil and not at all because it is a machine. The lesson to be derived from all this is just what Edmund Burke said more than a hundred years ago. “When bad men combine the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” My point is this. Be earnestly active for something good, and not merely active against something bad. Keep sowing wheat, and do not confine your energies to pulling up tares. It is all right to remove temptation from the young by shutting up saloons and gambling dens if you can; but it is better to fill the minds of the rising generation with high ideals of noble living than to spend all your energies in removing temptation. It is even better to have men who cannot be tempted than it is to have no temptation.

Organize then for the attainment of the best things, and not merely for the temporary suppression of bad things. There will be, in spite of all that you can do, a good many tares growing with the wheat until the harvest; but it will be a poor harvest indeed, even if you pull up all the tares, if at the end there is no wheat.

There are those who say that civilization and even the Christian church are built upon injustice and robbery, and there is nothing to be done but to let both go and return to the simplicity of nature. That seems to me a wholesale rooting up of the wheat in order to get rid of the tares. Learning, Science, Literature, Art and Religion have been doing their best for centuries to make the world better; and they have succeeded in evolving from the primeval savage the modern civilized man and from the primitive bestial selfish degradation the modern methodical and systematic care for self, mixed with not a little altruism or brotherly kindness—and now our modern prophets want to destroy civilization and all that it implies, because, forsooth, some people own property which they never earned, and the members of the Christian church, unlike their Master, have every night where to lay their heads. And yet these prophets sleep regularly on just as soft pillows as the rest of the church, and draw their salaries from the accumulations of civilization with as much regularity and zest as if they liked it.

There is no question whatever as to what a man’s attitude towards all recognized wrong ought to be. If he is a true man, it cannot be anything but an attitude of disapproval. But it is a question and a momentous question what he shall do about it. Here comes in the warning of Jesus—”Lest ye root up the wheat also. Let both grow together till the harvest.” Ah! there is to be a harvest, is there? Be comforted, my brother, you who have vexed your righteous soul with the unlawful deeds of the wicked, like Lot in Sodom—be comforted. There will be a harvest, and the harvest comes with great regularity, sometimes to individuals and sometimes to nations. A good many things will be revealed at the harvest. First, it will be found that the tares are not wheat. Second, it will be found that the Lord of the harvest does not value tares as he does wheat, and next it will be found that he does not make the same disposition of tares that he does of wheat. There comes a time, you see, when tares are neither mistaken for wheat nor treated as wheat. Suppose you do not dig up all the tares you see. There is sure to come a time when the tares will be got rid of. The harvest is a great discriminator.

The wheat will be gathered into the barn. It is valuable. It will feed and sustain men and women and children. The tares will be burned—not as fuel—they are worth nothing even as fuel—they will be burned not to do good, but simply to get rid of them. They are worthless—worse than worthless. They must be destroyed, because they are noxious. Bind them in bundles and burn them—and the rascality that you have longed to fight goes out at last in the cleansing flames of an awakened public conscience.

Does all this appear like lowering the standard of duty? Is a true life substantially summed up in minding your own business? Well—a good many lives would be better than they are if they were so summed up. But that is not my meaning. I have not yet said quite all that I have to say. There is one further lesson to be learned from Jesus and it is the most important one.

Jesus was, indeed, wonderfully patient. Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? Jesus let Judas stay among the disciples as long as he would. He knew what Judas was; yet, he did not turn him out, excommunicate him, nor do anything else to him of a disciplinary nature. If he, with his perfect character, could stand the presence of such a being, we ought to be able to stand it till the harvest, if it is necessary.

But with all his tenderness towards all classes of men, Jesus never left the wrong-doer in doubt as to his judgment of the wrongdoer’s character. Even Judas knew that the Master understood him.

Jesus treated the woman of Samaria with great kindness. No other Jew would have talked with her. His disciples were astonished when they found him talking to her, for the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans. But the woman did not go away with the impression that Jesus approved of her mode of life. When he said to her, “He whom thou now hast is not thy husband,” she knew what he thought of her.

Do not so associate with evil men as to make them believe that you think that they are all right. Jesus never did that.

To the woman condemned under the law, but at whom no man was found innocent enough to cast the first stone, Jesus said: “Neither do I condemn thee.” I do not pass sentence of punishment upon you. But ‘go and sin no more,’ told her what he thought of her life and conduct. God forbid that any one of us should refuse to give a helping hand to man or woman who, having been bad, repents and tries to be good. For them, the message spoken in kindness must always be—”Go and sin no more.”

“He receiveth sinners and eateth with them,” said the Pharisees. Only six days before the crucifixion they said of him as he went to the house of Zaccheus, the chief tax gatherer of Jericho, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” They would not have done so. But he did. Was he less opposed to sin and crime than they were? But he did not go to be “hail fellow well met” with sinners, whether publicans or Pharisees. He associated with them only for their good, and he never sought to curry favor with them by pretending that he thought that they were on the whole ideal men. The Pharisee who thought he was doing Jesus great honor to admit him to his table and who was greatly disturbed because a woman who was a sinner had been permitted by Jesus to anoint his feet with ointment after she had washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair—receives the rebuke he deserves, high-toned aristocrat though he was. “I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet. Thou gavest me no kiss. My head with oil thou didst not anoint.” I have received at your hands no special kindness and hardly ordinary civility; but this woman at whose presence you are sneering, has with marvelous tenderness, unselfishness and liberality, more than supplied the defects of your self-complacent hospitality. Wherefore I say unto thee, her sins which are many—no concealment of that fact even in the presence of the woman—which are many, are forgiven her—for she loved much.

Jesus was the friend of publicans and sinners, as the Pharisees said. He was a helpful friend, full of sympathy and kindness and charity. But he never associated with them as persons with whose life he was satisfied and whose character He approved. He met them always as one trying to lift them out of evil and induce them to seek a better life. In a word His charity was no bestial indifference to the distinction between good and evil, or between honest men and knaves.

There is a proper time for pulling up tares, and when that time comes, they should be uprooted. First, in the development of our own characters. If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee; and if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off and cast it from thee. Second, in our relations to others—whenever the results will not be injurious to the general good. And third, with nations, whenever humanity demands that the organized power of Christian states shall be used for the relief and protection of the oppressed and down-trodden.

Such a time came 100 years ago to Christian Europe, when Turkey had filled up the measure of her iniquity by the murder of hundreds of thousands of helpless Armenians—her own subjects. But the Concert of Nations of Christian Europe, silent, selfish, jealous of each other, afraid of each other, stood by and permitted the Turk, already drenched to the shoulders in the blood of Armenia, to proceed still further and cut the throats of their brothers of Christian Greece in their heroic but useless struggle. Then was the time for these nations to strike a blow that would have avenged the wrongs of centuries. Then was the time for rooting up tares without the slightest danger of rooting up wheat. Such a time as this now exists in the Middle East with ISIS terrorists, along with Saudi and Iran State sponsors of terror—there still being some in Turkey to uproot. But Christian Europe, because the nations could not agree and a general European war was deemed worse even than the murder of Armenians, reserved its strength for the easier task of dismembering and parceling out China in the East, and left the unspeakable Turk undisturbed and unpunished.

It has been reserved for the young republic (The United States of America) of the West to set for Christendom an example of a foreign policy inspired not by selfishness, but by generosity and real nobility of spirit.

Our country was then engaged in a war with Spain, entered into, so far as appears, with little or no prospect of material gain to ourselves, but solely in the interest of humanity—to protect the people of Cuba from cruelty and wrong heaped upon them for centuries by Spanish oppression. No war was ever engaged in by any nation for more unselfish reasons; and if the God of Battles shall give the victory to our arms on sea and land, as I cannot doubt that He will, my earnest hope is that my country may not forget the high mission of mercy in which it is engaged, and may not, carried away by the lust of power and glory, convert a great contest in the interest of humanity, which ought to be an inspiring example to Christendom for all time to come, into an ordinary struggle for wider dominion and the gratification of unholy ambition. God save the Republic.

Ladies And Gentlemen:

“When a man’s ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” Peace is the desirable condition of life. I can ask nothing better for you than that in the earnest pursuit of the various occupations in which you may engage, you may enjoy peace, and may steadily grow in wisdom and in favor with God and man.

As today you recall the efforts which you have made to secure an education, you cannot but rejoice that your work is done and that the reward is assured. But in the midst of your rejoicing there must come thoughts of those who started with you but have fallen out by the way, and especially of those two, bright scholars and loyal friends, Carl Huhn and Edna May Stock, who had already won honors and confidently expected to stand here with you today, but who already have been promoted to a higher service above. The memory of your dead classmates cannot but chasten somewhat your expressions of joy on this auspicious occasion; and it will come to you many times in your future life as a solemn reminder of what we all at some time or other must meet. But for you the past at least is secure. You have found by your experience here, that wisdom’s ways are ways of pleasantness and that all her paths are peace. So may you find it in the future. And now, as we part, I beg you to accept my heartiest wishes for your happiness and usefulness in this life, and for an immortality of joy in the life hereafter. Farewell.

Sources: Bible, Killing Jesus, The Ariel, Volume 21

Copyright © 2015 TeaPartyEdu Foundation Truths The Patriot Brotherhood @CaptainJDavis ™




The last time I ever saw Anthony Sherman was on the 4th of July, 1859, in ” Independence Square.” He was then 91 years of age, and becoming very feeble; but though so old his eyes were dim as he looked at Independence Hall, he said he had come to gaze upon it once more before he was gathered home.

“What time is it?” said he, raising his trembling eyes to the clock in the steeple, and endeavoring to shade the former with a shaking hand. “What time is it?” I can’t see so well now as I used to.”

Half past three.

“Come, then,” he continued, “let us go into the Hall. I want to tell you an incident of Washington’s life, one which no one alive knows of except myself, and, if you live, you will before long see it verified.- Mark me, I am not superstitious, but you will see it verified.”

Reaching the visitors’ rooms, in which the sacred relics of our early days are preserved, we sat down upon one of the old-fashioned wooden benches, and my venerable friend related to me the following narrative, which, from the peculiarity of our national affairs at the present time, I have been induced to give to the world. I give it as nearly as possible in his [Washington’s] own words:

“When the bold action of our Congress, in asserting the independent colonies, became known to the world, we were laughed at and scoffed at as silly, presumptuous rebels, whom the British grenadiers would soon tame into submission ; but undauntedly we prepared to make good what we had said. The keen encounter came, and the world knows the result. It is easy and pleasant for those of the present generation to talk and write of the days of ’76, but they little know, neither can they imagine, the trials and sufferings of those fearful days. And there is one thing that I much fear, and that is that the American people do not properly appreciate the boon of freedom. Party spirit is yearly becoming stronger and stronger, and, unless it is checked, will at no distant day undermine and tumble into ruin the noblest structure of the Republic. But let me hasten to my narrative.

“From the opening of the Revolution we experienced all phases of fortune, now good and now ill, at one time victorious, at another conquered. I think the darkest period was when Washington, after several reverses, retreated to Valley Forge, where he resolved to pass the winter of ’77. Ah! I have seen the tears coursing down our dear old commander’s careworn cheek as he would be conversing with a confidential officer about the condition of his poor soldiers. You have doubtless heard the story of Washington going to the thicket to pray. Well it is not only true, but he used to often pray in secret for aid and comfort from God, the interposition of whose Divine Providence alone brought us safely through those dark days of tribulation.

“One day, I remember it well, the chilly wind whistled and howled through the leafless trees, though the sky was cloudless and the sun shining brightly; he remained in his quarters nearly the whole of the afternoon alone. When he came out I noticed that his face was a shade paler than usual, and that there seemed to be something on his mind of more than ordinary importance. Returning just after dark, he dispatched an orderly to the quarters of the officer I mentioned, who was presently in attendance. After a preliminary conversation which lasted some half an hour, Washington, gazing upon his . companion with that strange look of dignity which he alone could command, said to the latter:

“I do not know whether it was owing to anxiety of mind or what, but this afternoon, as I was sitting at this very table engaged in preparing a dispatch, something in the apartment seemed to disturb me. Looking up, I beheld standing exactly opposite me a singularly beautiful female. So astonished was I, for I had given strict orders not to be disturbed, that it was some moments before I found language to inquire the cause of her presence. A second, third, and fourth time did I repeat the question, but received no answer from my distinguished visitor. . I began to feel as one dying, or rather to experience the sensation which I have sometimes imagined accompanied dissolution. I did not think, reason, or move; all were alike impossible. I was only conscious of gazing fixedly and vacantly at my companion.

“‘Presently I heard a voice, saying, “Son of the Republic, look and learn !” while at the same time my visitor extended her arm and forefinger easterly. I now beheld a heavy white vapor at some distance, rising fold upon fold. This gradually dissipated and I looked upon a strange scene. Before me lay stretched out in one vast plain all the countries of the world — Europe, Asia, Africa, and America. I saw rolling and tossing, between Europe and America, the billows of the Atlantic, and between Asia and America lay the Pacific. “Son of the Republic, look and learn! A century cometh; look and learn,” said the same mysterious voice as before.

“‘ At that moment I beheld a dark, shadowy being, like an angel, standing or rather floating in mid-air between Europe and America. Dipping water out of the ocean in the hollow of each hand, he sprinkled some upon America with his right hand, while he cast some upon England with his left. Immediately a dark cloud arose from each of those countries and joined in mid-ocean. A while it remained stationary, and then moved slowly westward until it enveloped America in its murky folds. Sharp flashes of lightning now gleamed through it at intervals, and I heard the smothered groans and cries of the American people.

“‘ A second time the angel dipped from the ocean and sprinkled it out as before. The dark cloud was then drawn to the ocean, into whose heaving waves it then sank from view, and the third time I heard the mysterious voice, saying, ” Son of the Republic, look and learn.”

“‘ I cast my eye upon America, and beheld villages, towns, and cities springing up one after another until the whole land from the Atlantic to the Pacific was dotted with them.

“‘ At this the dark, shadowy angel turned his face southward, and from Africa I saw an ill-omened spectre approaching our land. It flitted slowly and heavily over every village, town, and city of the latter, the inhabitants of which presently set themselves in battle array, one against the other. As I continued looking I saw a bright angel, and on his brow rested a crown of light on which was traced the word UNION, bearing the American flag, which he placed between the different nations and said, “Remember, ye are brethren.”

“‘ Instantly, the inhabitants, casting from them their weapons, became friends once more, and united around the national standard. And again I heard the mysterious voice, saying, “Son of the Republic, the second peril has passed, look and learn.”

“‘ And I beheld the villages, towns, and cities of America increase in size and numbers, till at last they covered all the land from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and their inhabitants became as countless as the stars in heaven or as the sands upon the seashore. And again I heard the mysterious voice, ” Son of the Republic, the end of a century cometh, look and learn.” At this, the dark, shadowy angel placed a trumpet to his mouth, and blew three distinct blasts, and taking water from the ocean, sprinkled it out upon Europe, Asia, and Africa.

“‘ Then my eyes looked upon a fearful scene. From each of those countries arose thick, black clouds, which soon joined into one; and throughout this mass gleamed a dark red light, by which I saw hordes of armed men, who, moving with the cloud, marched by land and sailed by sea to America, which country was presently enveloped in the volume of the cloud. And I dimly saw these vast armies devastate the whole country, and pillage and burn the villages, towns, and cities, which I had beheld springing up. As my ears listened to the thundering of the cannon, clashing of swords, and cries of the millions in mortal combat, I again heard the mysterious voice, saying, ” Son of the Republic, look and learn.”

“‘ When the voice had ceased, the dark, shadowy angel placed his trumpet to his mouth, and blew a long and fearful blast.

“‘ Instantly a light as from a thousand suns shone down from above me, and pierced and broke into fragments the dark cloud which enveloped America. At the same moment I saw the angel, upon whose forehead still shone the word UNION, and who bore our national flag in one hand and a sword in the other, descending from heaven attended by legions of white spirits. These immediately joined the inhabitants of America, who, taking courage again, closed up their broken ranks and renewed the battle. Again amid the fearful noise of the conflict I heard a mysterious voice, saying, “Son of the Republic, look and learn.”

“‘ As the voice ceased, the dark, shadow angel, for the last time, dipped water from the ocean, and sprinkled it on America. Instantly the dark cloud rolled back, together with the armies it had brought, leaving the inhabitants of the land victorious. Then once more I beheld villages, towns, and cities spring up where they had been before, while the bright angel, planting the azure standard He had brought in the midst of them, cried in a loud voice to the inhabitants: “While the stars remain and the heavens send down dews upon the earth, so long shall the Republic last.”

“‘And taking from his brow the crown, on which still blazed the word UNION, he placed it upon the standard, while all the people, kneeling down, said, “Amen!”

“‘ The scene instantly began to fade and dissolve, and I at last, saw nothing but the rising, curling vapor which I at first beheld. This also disappearing, I found myself once more gazing upon the mysterious visitor, who in that same mysterious voice I had heard before, said, ” Son of the Republic, what you have seen is thus interpreted: These perils will come upon the Republic; the most fearful is the third, passing which the whole world united shall never be able fo prevail against her. Let every child of the Republic learn to live for his God, his Land, and Union.”

“‘ With these words the figure vanished. I started from my seat, and felt that I had been shown the birth, progress, and destiny of the Republic of the United States.’

“Such, my friend,” concluded the venerable narrator, “were the words from Washington’s own lips, and America would do well to profit by them. Let her remember that in Union she has Strength, in Disunion her destruction.” — American Citizen.

“How fecund [fertile, lush, abundant] is the Supreme Author of peace and order, and how inexhaustible in wisdom and treasures of goodness. He has founded man’s ministry and happiness on the same foundation, and appointed him to speak and act, only to do good, like Himself: and he cannot do good till he begin by being made happy, or vivified by the Word.” — Saint-Martin.

Source: Historic Magazine and Notes and Queries: Volume 15

Copyright © 2010 – 2015 TeaPartyEdu Foundation Truths The Patriot Brotherhood @CaptainJDavis ™


John Quincy Adams quote regarding tthe Revolutionary War of Independence

John Quincy Adams regarding the Revolutionary War of Independence (Click to enlarge)


“Ego vero te, cum vitae fiore tum mortis opportunitate, divino consilio et ortum et
extinctum esse arbitror.” Cicero De Orat. III. 4. [Translation is something like “But in my opinion, with the flower of life, as well as death. I think, a divine plan has been put out”]


SENATE CHAMBER, April 17, 1848


A Considerable resemblance will be perceived, in the narrative part, between the following Eulogy and other discourses of the same description, which have been published since President Adams’s decease. This similarity arises from the fact that the biographical portion of all these performances, (as far as I am aware,) has for the most part been derived, directly or indirectly, from a common source, viz., the memoir prepared for the National Portrait Gallery, in 1839, by Rev. C. W. Upham, of Salem. That memoir was drawn up from authentic sources, and is the principal authority for the biographical notices contained in the following pages. It has, however, been in my power to extend some of the details, and to add others wholly new, from materials kindly furnished to me by Mr. Charles Francis Adams, from the papers of his honored father. A few facts have been given from personal recollection, and this number could have been greatly increased, had the nature of the occasion rendered it proper to enlarge upon the subject of Mr. Adams’s administration, during the whole of which, as a member of Congress possessing his confidence, and for the last half of his administration as chairman of the committee of foreign affairs, I had occasion to be in constant and intimate communication with him.

The communications of the Hon. Joseph E. Sprague to the Salem Register, written during the period pending the presidential election of 1824, contain a great deal of information of the highest value and interest, relative to the life, services, and career of Mr. Adams.

Some new facts of interest are contained in the admirable sermon delivered by Rev. Mr. Lunt, at Quincy, a performance rendering any further eulogy superfluous.

A few passages in the following discourse, omitted in the delivery on account of its length, are inserted in the printed copy.



John Quincy Adams quote The Gospel of Jesus Christ

John Quincy Adams: The Gospel of Jesus Christ (Click to enlarge)




You have devolved upon me the honorable duty of delivering a Eulogy on the life and character of the late President Adams; but the performance of that duty has been already, in no small degree, anticipated. Most eloquent voices in the two Houses of Congress, inspired by the emotions which the great closing scene was so well calculated to produce, have been heard in commemoration of his talents, his services, and his worth. Distinguished members of your own honorable bodies have given utterance, on behalf of the people of Massachusetts, to those feelings of respect and admiration, with which they claim him as their own. The funeral obsequies have been performed, in the most solemn and touching manner, at the seat of- government. The population of the great cities of the Union has formed, I had almost said, one mighty funeral procession, to pay the last passing tribute to the mortal remains of the departed statesman, as they have been borne through the country, with that unexampled and most honorable attendance of a congressional delegation from every State in the Union. Those honored relics have been received with every demonstration of public respect within these venerated walls; and they have been laid down in their final resting-place, with rites the most affecting and impressive, amidst the tears and blessings of relatives, friends, and neighbors, in his village home.

Falling, as he has done, at a period of high political excitement, and entertaining and expressing, as he ever did, opinions the most decided in the boldest and most uncompromising manner, he has yet been mourned, as an object of respect and veneration, by good men and patriots of every party name. Leaders, that rarely met him or each other but in opposition, unite in doing honor to his memory, and have walked side by side in the funeral train.

His eulogy has been pronounced, as far as some of the wisest and ablest in the land can do justice to the theme. His death has been lamented, as far as such a close of such a career can be a subject of lamentation. The sable drapery that hangs around us still recalls the public sorrows, with which all that was mortal of the departed statesman was received beneath this consecrated roof. Gladly, as far as I am concerned, would I leave in silence the illustrious subject of these mournful honors to the reverent contemplation of his countrymen, the witnesses of his career; of the young men who will learn it, in part, from still recent tradition;—and of those who succeed us, who will find the memorials of his long, laborious, and eventful life, in the archives of the country and on the pages of its history.

But you, Gentlemen of the Legislature, have ordered otherwise. You have desired that a more formal expression of respect for the memory of our illustrious fellow-citizen should be made on your behalf. You have wished to place on record a deliberate testimonial of your high sense of his exalted worth. Leaving to the historian of the country to fill some of his brightest and most instructive pages with the full description of his various, long-continued, and faithful services, you have wished, while the impression of his loss is still fresh upon our minds, that those services should be the subject of such succinct review and such honest eulogium, as the nature of the occasion admits, and it has been in my power, under the pressure of other engagements, most imperfectly to prepare.

Permit me to add, Gentlemen, that I find, in the circumstances under which you have invited me to this duty, the rule which ought to govern me in its performance. By a legislature composed of members belonging to the various political parties of the day, I have been unanimously requested to undertake this honorable and delicate trust. I see, in this fact, the proof, that it is as little your expectation as your wish that the eulogy should rekindle the animosities, if any there he, which time has long since subdued, and death has, I trust, extinguished forever. I come, at your request, to strew flowers upon the grave of an illustrious fellow-citizen; not to dig there, with hateful assiduity, for roots of bitterness. I shall aim to strip my humble narrative of all the interest which it would derive from espousing present or past controversies. Some such I shall wholly pass over; to some I shall but allude; on none shall I dwell farther than is necessary to acquit my duty. Called to survey a career which commences with the Revolution, and covers the entire political history of the country as an independent nation, there are no subjects of absorbing political interest, ever agitated in the country, which it would not be easy to put in requisition on this occasion; subjects, in reference to which the roof that covers us, from the year 1764 to the present day, has resounded with appeals, that have stirred the public heart to its inmost fiber. Easy did I say? The difficulty will rather be to avoid these topics of controversy, and yet do anything like justice to the occasion and the theme. I am sure that I shall consult your feelings not less than my own, if I try to follow our illustrious fellow-citizen through the various stages of his career, without mingling ourselves in the party struggles of the day; to exhibit him in the just lineaments and fair proportions of life, without the exaggerated colorings of passion; true to nature, but serene as the monumental marble; warm with the purest sympathies and deepest affections of humanity, but purified and elevated into the earthly transfiguration of Genius, Patriotism, and Faith.

John Quincy Adams Quote Concerning The Christian Faith

John Quincy Adams Concerning The Christian Faith (Click to enlarge)

John Quincy Adams was of a stock in which some of the best qualities of the New England character existed in their happiest combination. The basis of that character lies in what, for want of a better name, we must still call “Puritanism,” connected, as that term of reproach is, with some associations, calculated to lessen our respect for one of the noblest manifestations of our nature. But, in the middle of the last century, Puritanism in New England had laid aside much of its sternness and its intolerance, and had begun to reconcile itself with the milder charities of life; retaining, however, amidst all classes of the population, as much patriarchal simplicity of manners, as probably ever existed in a modern civilized community. In the family of the elder President Adams, the narrow range of ideas, which, in most things, marked the first generations, had been enlarged by academic education, and by the successful pursuit of a liberal profession; and the ancient severity of manners had been still farther softened by the kindly influences exerted by a mother who, in the dutiful language of him whom we now commemorate, “united all the virtues which adorn and dignify the female and the Christian character.”

The period at which he was born was one of high and stirring interest. A struggle impended over the colonies, differing more in form than in its principles, from that which took place in England a little more than a century earlier. The agitations which preceded it were of a nature to strain to their highest tension both the virtues and capacities of men. Of the true character of the impending events, no one seems earlier to have formed a distinct conception than the elder President Adams. He appears, at the very commencement of the Seven Years’ War, and when he was but twenty years old, to have formed a general anticipation of all the great events, which have successively taken place for the last century. He seems dimly to have foreseen, even then, the independence of the colonies, and the establishment of a great naval power in the West. The capture of Quebec, followed by the total downfall of the French power on this continent, while it promised, as the first consequence, an indefinite extension of the British empire, suggested another train of results to the far-sighted and reflecting. History presents to us but few coincidences more instructive, than that which unites the peace of 1763, which ratified these great successes of British policy and British arms, with the conception of that plan of American taxation, which resulted in the severance of the British empire. John Adams perceived, perhaps, before any other person, that the mother country, in depriving France of her American colonies, had dispossessed herself of her own. The first battles of American independence were gained on the heights of Abraham.


John Quincy Adams Concerning the Christian Gospel (Click to enlarge)

I revert to these events, because they mark the character of the period when the life which we commemorate began. The system of American taxation was adopted in 1764. The Stamp Act was passed in 1765. The Essays on “the Canon and Feudal Law,” of President Adams, were written the same year. In 1766, the Stamp Act was repealed, but the repeal was accompanied with the assertion of a right to tax America. This right was exercised the following year, by the imposition of duties on several articles imported into the colonies, and, on the 11th of June, of that year, John Quincy Adams was born. He came into life with the struggling rights of his country. “The cradle hymns of the child were the songs of liberty.” [quote Senator John Davis] He received the first parental instructions from one, to whom the United Colonies had already begun to look for encouragement and guidance, in the mighty crisis of their fate.

It would be interesting to trace, in their operation upon the opening mind of the child, the effect of the exciting events of the day. Beneath the roof of the elder Adams, the great doctrines of English liberty, for which our fathers contended, were household words. He was barely three years old, when his father,—the ardent patriot, the zealous son of liberty,—appeared in court, as the counsel for the soldiers, who had fired upon the people in Boston, on the 5th of March, 1770. Two years later, his father was negatived by the Royal Governor, as a member of the Executive Council. In 1774, the port of Boston was shut, the Continental Congress agreed upon, and his father elected one of the four delegates, who represented Massachusetts in that assembly at Philadelphia. In 1775, the appeal was made to arms; and George Washington was appointed to the chief command of the American forces, on the emphatic recommendation of John Adams. In 1776, independence was declared, on the report of a committee, on which Thomas Jefferson and John Adams stood first and second, and was triumphantly carried through Congress, mainly by the fervid eloquence of Adams. All these great events,—eras in our history, (and, may I not say, eras in the civilized world? witness the convulsions now shaking Continental Europe to the centre,)—although they occupy but a few chapters in the compends in which we read them, filled years of doubtful, strenuous, resolute exertion in the lives of our fathers. They were brought home to the fireside at which young Adams was trained, by his father’s daily participation; by his letters, when absent; by the sympathizing mother’s anxieties, hopes, and fears. There was not a time for years, when, to ask the question under that roof, “Will America establish her liberties?” would not have been asking, in other words, “Shall we see our father’s face in peace again?” It may fairly be traced to these early impressions, that the character of John Quincy Adams exhibited through life so much of what is significantly called “the spirit of seventy-six.”

And here I may be permitted to pause for a moment, to pay a well deserved tribute of respect to the memory of the excellent mother, to whose instructions so much of the subsequent eminence of the son is due. No brighter example exists of auspicious maternal influence, in forming the character of a great and good man. Her letters to him, some of which have been preserved and given to the world, might almost be called a manual of a wise mother’s advice. The following passage from one of her published letters, written when her son was seven years old, will show how the minds of children were formed in the revolutionary period. “I have taken,” she says, “a very great fondness for reading Rollin’s Ancient History since you left me. I am determined to go through with it, if possible, in these days of my solitude. I find great pleasure and entertainment from it, and have persuaded Johnny to read a page or two every day, and hope he will from his desire to oblige me, entertain a fondness for it.” In that one phrase lies all the philosophy of education. The child of seven years old, who reads a serious book with fondness, from his desire to oblige his mother, has entered the high road of usefulness and honor.

John Quincy Adams Quote Concerning Americans

John Quincy Adams Concerning Americans (Click to enlarge)

The troubled state of the times probably interfered with school education. John Quincy Adams, I believe, never went to a school in America. Besides the instruction which he received from his mother, he was aided by the young gentlemen who studied law under his father. It is to one of these that allusion is made, in the following child’s letter, written to his father, at Philadelphia, before he was ten years old, which I think you will not be displeased at hearing from the original manuscript.

“Braintree, June the 2d, 1777

“Dear Sir,—I love to receive letters very well, much better than I love to write them. I make but a poor figure at composition, my head is much too fickle. My thoughts are running after birds’ eggs, play, and trifles till I get vexed with myself. Mamma has a troublesome task to keep me steady, and I own I am ashamed of myself. I have but just entered the third volume of Smollet, though I had designed to have got half through it by this time. I have determined this week to be more diligent, as Mr. Thaxter will be absent at court, and I cannot pursue my other studies. I have set myself a stint, and determine to read the third volume half out. If I can but keep my resolution, I will write again at the end of the week, and give a better account of myself. I wish, sir, you would give me some instructions with regard to my time, and advise me how to proportion my studies and my play, in writing, and I will keep them by me and endeavor to follow them. I am, dear sir, with a present determination of growing better,


John Quincy Adams.

PS.—Sir, if you will be so good as to favor me with a blank book, I will transcribe the most remarkable occurrences I meet with in my reading, which will serve to fix them upon my mind.”

Such was the boy at the age of ten years!

We shall find, in the sequel, that the classical rule was not departed from, in the farther progress of his character.

—— servetur ad imum Qualis ab incepto processerit, et sibi constet. [Translation: “let the character be kept up to the very end, just as it began, and so be consistent” ~ Horace]

At this early period of his life, the horizon at once bursts widely open before him. From the bosom of a New England village, in which he had never been to school, he is transferred, before he is eleven years old, to the capital of France. Among the great movements of the revolution, no one is of greater importance than the alliance with France. It gave a character to the struggle in the eyes of the world, and eventually threw the whole political weight of continental Europe into the American scale. In the course of 1776, Silas Deane, Dr. Franklin, and Arthur Lee, were appointed commissioners to France, on behalf of Congress. Deane was recalled the following year, and, in the month of November, 1777, John Adams was appointed his successor. Desirous of giving his son, then ten years and a half of age, those advantages of education which his native country did not at that time afford, he took him to France. They sailed in the Boston frigate, commanded by Commodore Tucker, on the 13th February, 1778, and reached Bordeaux in the month of April, after a tempestuous passage over an ocean covered with the enemy’s cruisers.

The father established himself at Passy, the residence of Dr. Franklin; and here, for the first time, I find any mention of the son’s receiving any other instruction than that of the fireside. Here he was sent to school, and laid the foundation for that intimate acquaintance with the French language, which he retained through life, and which was of the greatest service to him in his subsequent diplomatic career. It needs scarcely be added, that the occasional intercourse of Dr. Franklin, and of the eminent persons of almost every part of Europe, who sought the society of the American commissioners at Passy, was not lost upon one, who, though still in his boyhood, possessed uncommon maturity of character.

The counsels of the faithful and affectionate mother followed him beyond the sea. In one of the admirable letters to which I have referred, written during the visit to France, she says:—”Let me enjoin it upon you to attend constantly and steadfastly to the instructions of your father, as you value the happiness of your mother and your own welfare. His care and attention to you render many things unnecessary for me to write, which I might otherwise do. But the inadvertency and heedlessness of youth require line upon line and precept upon precept, and when enforced by the joint efforts of both parents, will, I hope, have a due influence upon your conduct; for, dear as you are to me, I would much rather you should have found your grave in the ocean you have crossed, or that any untimely death should crop you in your infant years, than see you an immoral, profligate, or graceless child.” [Mrs. Adams’s Letters, Vol I. 123]

How faithfully the favored child availed himself of his uncommon privileges, needs hardly be said. At an age when the most forward children are rarely distinguished, except among their fellows at school, he had attracted the notice of many of the eminent persons who cultivated the acquaintance of his father. Mr. John Adams, in a letter to his wife, of 14th May, 1779, says:—”My son has had great opportunities to see this country; but this has unavoidably retarded his education in some other things. He has enjoyed perfect health from first to last, and is respected wherever he goes, for his vigor and vivacity both of mind and of body, for his constant good-humor, and for his rapid progress in French, as well as for his general knowledge, which at his age is uncommon.” Though proceeding from the fond pen of a father, there is no doubt this character was entirely true. [Note:*]

Note:* The following letter, written from school, to his father, is without date, but must have been written shortly after his arrival in France. It is not without interest, as a memorial of the first steps of a great mind: —

“My work for a day: —
“Make Latin,
Explain Cicero,
”      Erasmus,
”      Appendix,
Peirce Pheedrus, (Qu. parse),
Learn Greek Racines,
”      Greek Grammar,

“As a young boy cannot apply himself to all those things, and keep a remembrance of them all, I should desire that you would let me know what of those I must begin upon at first.

“I am your dutiful son,

“John Quincy Adams.”

The treaty of alliance with France had been concluded in the interval between Mr. Adams’s appointment and his arrival. Dr. Franklin was appointed resident minister to the Court of Versailles, and Mr. Lee to Madrid; and, after a residence of about a year and a half at Paris, Mr. Adams, without waiting to he recalled, determined to return to the United States. He was invited by the king to take passage, with his son, on board the French frigate La Sensible, which was appointed to convey to America the Chevalier de la Luzerne, the first minister to the United States, and the secretary of legation, the Marquis Barbe Marbois, afterwards well known through all the phases of the French Revolution. They landed in Boston, August 2, 1779. At the moment of their return to the United States, an election was in progress for delegates to the Convention which formed the Constitution of Massachusetts, and Mr. Adams, barely landed in America, was returned for his native town of Brain tree.

The convention assembled in Cambridge, on the 1st of September, 1779, and having chosen a committee of thirty-one, to prepare their work, adjourned to the 28th October. John Adams was of this committee, and, on the day of the adjournment, reported the first draught of a Declaration of Rights and a Constitution. In the interval, he had received from Congress a new commission to negotiate a peace with Great Britain, and on the 14th of November, 1779, he again took passage on board La Sensible, on her return voyage to Europe. He had barely passed three months in the country, during which he had drawn up a Constitution, that remains, after seventy years,—in all material respects,—the frame of government under which we live; has served, in some degree, as a model for other State Constitutions, and even for that of the United States; and under which, as we hope, our children, to the latest posterity, will continue to enjoy the blessings of rational liberty. I have dwelt a moment longer on these incidents, to illustrate the domestic influences under which John Quincy Adams was trained.

He was again the companion of his father on this second wintry voyage to Europe. The frigate sprung a leak through stress of weather, and, though bound to Brest, was obliged to put into Ferrol, a port in the northwestern corner of Spain. Here they arrived on the 7th of December, and were obliged to perform the journey partly on horses and mules through Galicia, Asturias, and Biscay, in midwinter, to Paris. Mr. Adams was accompanied, on this voyage, by Charles, his second son, long since deceased, and by Mr. Francis Dana, afterwards chief justice of Massachusetts, then acting as Secretary of Legation to Mr. Adams. Mr. Adams remained in Paris till midsummer of 1780, during which time the children were again placed at a boarding-school. In July of that year, he repaired to Holland, with a commission from Congress to negotiate a treaty with the republic of the Netherlands, for the recognition of the independence of the United States. The hoys were sent to the public school of the city of Amsterdam, and afterwards transferred to the academical department of the University at Leyden, at that time not inferior in celebrity to any place of education on the continent of Europe. In July, 1781, Mr. Dana, who, in the preceding October, had received a commission from Congress as Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of St. Petersburg, started for that capital, taking with him John Quincy Adams as private secretary and interpreter, being then just fourteen years of age. In this capacity, he was recognized by Congress, and there is, perhaps, no other case of a person so young being employed in a civil office of trust, under the government of the United States. But, in Mr. Adams’s career, there was no boyhood.

The youthful secretary remained at St. Petersburg till October, 1782, during which period, the nature of his occupations was such, as to perfect his knowledge of the French language, and to give him, young as he was, no small insight into the political system of Europe, of which the American question was, at that time, the leading topic. He also devoted himself with assiduity to his studies, and pursued an extensive course of general reading. The official business of the American minister, who was not publicly received by the Empress Catherine, was mostly transacted with the Marquis de Verac, the French Ambassador, between whom and Mr. Dana, young Adams acted as interpreter. [Mrs. Adams’s Letters, Vol. IL 157] In October, 1782, Mr. Adams senior brought to a close his arduous mission in Holland, by concluding a treaty of amity, navigation, and commerce with the States General, which remains in force between the two countries to this day. On the very next day, he started for Paris, to perform his duty, as joint commissioner with Dr. Franklin and Mr. Jay, to negotiate with the British envoys for peace; and about the same time, his son left St. Petersburg for Holland. The young man, then but a little more than fifteen years of age, made the long journey from the Russian capital alone, passing through Sweden, Denmark, and the Hanse towns, and arriving at the Hague in the spring of 1783. Here his studies were resumed, and pursued for a few months, till he was sent for by his father to Paris, where he was present at the signing of the definitive treaty of peace in the month of September, 1783. I remember to have heard him say, that, acting as his father’s secretary, he prepared one of the copies of that treaty.

The two succeeding years were passed by young Adams mostly with his father, in England, Holland, and France, in which several countries, Mr. Adams senior was employed on the public business. During this period, his attention was divided between his studies, elementary and classical, and his employment as his father’s secretary. “Congress are at such grievous expense,” his father writes, “that I shall have no other secretary than my son. He, however, is a very good one. He writes a good hand very fast, and is steady to his pen and his books.” [Letters of John Adams, Vol. II. 102] By the time he had reached the age of eighteen, besides being well advanced in the branches of study usually taught at schools, he was, no doubt, one of the most accomplished young men of his time. In addition to a good foundation in Latin and Greek, he was master of the French; he had read extensively in that language and in the English; he had seen several of the principal countries of Europe; and he had watched, with a closeness beyond his years, but required by his position, the political history of Europe during a very eventful lustrum. [Note:* A ceremonial purification of the entire ancient Roman population after the census every five years] In short, since he was twelve years old, he had talked with men.

But his own judgment suggested to him that a longer residence in Europe was not, at this time, expedient. His father was appointed Minister to the Court of St. James, in May, 1785; and, resisting the temptation to take up his residence with the family at London, now joined by that beloved mother from whom he had been so long separated, the son obtained the permission of his parents to return to the United States, for the sake of completing his academic education at Cambridge. He arrived in New York, in July, 1765. He was the bearer of a long letter from Mr. Jefferson, then Minister of the United States at Paris, to Mr. Vice President Gerry, in which Mr. Jefferson says, “I congratulate your country on their prospect in this young man.” He passed about six months at Haverhill, in the family of the Rev. Mr. Shaw, his maternal relative, during which time he read over the books in which it was necessary to be examined for admission to advanced standing at college, none of which, with the exception of Horace, had been read by him before. He was admitted to the junior class at the university on 10th March, 1786. The usual payment required of students entering to advanced standing was, in his case, dispensed with; “the corporation and overseers having voted, as a mark of gratitude to his father for the important services rendered by him to the United States, that he should be admitted free of all charge to whatever standing he should, upon examination, be found qualified for.” [College Records] Thus began his connection with the university, of which he remained, to the rest of his life, a dutiful and an honored son, and a liberal benefactor.

Possessing, by nature, talents of the highest order, especially that which is among the soonest developed in the human mind, the talent of memory,’—having enjoyed great and peculiar advantages for general improvement in Europe,—and now applying himself, with untiring assiduity, to his studies, he was soon generally regarded as standing at the head of his class. Such is the testimony of a venerable magistrate, (Mr. Justice Putnam,) who permits me to quote his authority, himself one of the most distinguished members of the class. I may add, on the same authority, that Adams, though of manners somewhat reserved, was distinguished for his generous feelings, his amiable temper, and engaging social qualities, to all which were added unshaken firmness of principle, and spotless purity of life. He was, from the outset, eminently one of those, who, in the golden words of President Kirkland,” need not the smart of guilt to make them virtuous, nor the regret of folly to make them wise.” He took his first degree at the Commencement of 1787, receiving the second place in the usual assignment of college honors, the first having been given to a classmate who, to distinguished scholarship in other respects, was thought to add superior skill in declamation. The subject of his oration shows the mature cast of his thought. It was “The Importance and Necessity of Public Faith to the Well-Being of a Community.”

He immediately commenced the study of the law at Newburyport, under the late Chief Justice Parsons, who had already attained the reputation, in this part of the country, of being the most acute and learned jurist of the day. At the end of his three years’ noviciate, Mr. Adams removed to Boston, and established himself in the practice of his profession. Three eventful years at home; in which the constitution of the United States had been framed and adopted, and George Washington and John Adams elected to the two first offices under the new government. Three eventful years abroad, in which the French revolution,—the first French revolution,—had moved rapidly forward from that stage of early promise, in which it was hailed by the sympathy of the friends of liberty in England and America, toward those excesses and crimes, which caused it to be afterwards viewed with anxiety, disgust, and horror. Mr. Adams was among the first who suspected the downward tendency. In 1791 he wrote a series of articles, in the Boston Centinel, with the signature of “Publicola”, which were intended as a corrective to some of the doctrines in Paine’s Rights of Man. These fugitive essays were republished in London as an answer to Paine’s work, and there ascribed to the author’s father, John Adams. In 1793, on the breaking out of the war between Great Britain and France, a question of the utmost importance arose, how far the United States were bound, by the treaty of alliance with France, to take sides in the controversy. The division of opinion on this point, which commenced in the cabinet of General Washington, extended throughout the country. The question was at length practically decided, by President Washington’s proclamation of neutrality. Before that important document appeared, Mr. Adams had published a short series of articles in the Boston Centinel, with the signature of Marcellus, maintaining the same doctrine. In these papers, he developed the two principles on which his policy as an American statesman rested,—union at home, and independence of all foreign combinations abroad. [Memoir of Charles Wentworth Upham] On the 4th July, 1793, he delivered the usual anniversary oration before the citizens of Boston; and in the course of the following winter he wrote another series of articles for the public papers, with the signature of Columbus, in which the neutral policy of the United States was farther developed and maintained, and the principles of the law of nations, applicable to the situation of the country, in reference to the European belligerents, more fully unfolded.

I dwell upon these fugitive essays, thrown off no doubt in brief hours of leisure amidst the occupations of a laborious profession, because they established at once the reputation of their author, as one of the soundest thinkers and most forcible writers of the day. They exercised a decided influence over his career in life. They were read at the seat of government; and in the month of May, 1794, without any previous intimation of his design, either to his father, the vice-president, or himself, President Washington nominated Mr. John Q. Adams, minister resident at the Hague, a diplomatic station, at that period, scarcely inferior to the leading courts. Mr. Adams arrived in Holland about the time of the French invasion, and the consequent disorganization of the government and the country. The embarrassments arising from this state of things led him to think of resigning his office and coming home; but it was the advice of the president [Washington’s Works, xi. 56] accompanied with the approval of his conduct, that he should remain at his post. In the last year of his administration, (1796,) “Washington appointed him minister plenipotentiary to Lisbon.

About this period of his life, and during a temporary residence in London, for the purpose of exchanging the ratifications of the treaty with Great Britain, and making arrangements for executing some of its provisions, the acquaintance of Mr. Adams commenced with the daughter of Mr. Joshua Johnson, of Maryland,—a gentleman then acting as consular agent of the United States at London. A matrimonial engagement took place, which resulted, on the 26th July, 1797, in his marriage with the accomplished and venerable lady, who for more than fifty years was the faithful partner of his affections and honors, and survives to deplore his loss.

Mr. Adams, senior, was chosen president in the autumn of 1796. On this occasion he was naturally led to contemplate with some anxiety the public relations of his son. On this point he took counsel of the truest of friends and safest of advisers, President Washington, and received from him that celebrated letter of the 20th of February, 1797, a sentence from which is inscribed on yonder wall:—”I give it as my decided opinion,” says President Washington, “that Mr. Adams is the most valuable character we have abroad, and that he will prove himself to be the ablest of all our diplomatic corps.” With this opinion, he expressed the hope and the wish, that Mr. Adams’s advancement might not be checked by an over-delicacy on his father’s part.

Circumstances rendering it inexpedient, at that time, to establish the mission to Portugal, Mr. Adams’s destination was changed to Berlin. He received the appointment as minister to Prussia, on the 31st May, 1797. In the summer of 1798, retaining his office as minister to Prussia, he was commissioned to negotiate a treaty with Sweden. During his mission at Berlin, he concluded a treaty of amity and commerce, after a very able and protracted negotiation, in which the lights of neutral commerce were discussed by Mr. Adams and the Prussian commissioners. In the summer of 1800, he made a tour in Silesia, and wrote an interesting and instructive series of letters, containing the result of his observations. They were published without his consent in the Portfolio, at Philadelphia, collected in a volume at London, and translated into French and German. With a view to perfect his acquaintance with the German, Mr. Adams, during his residence at Berlin, executed a complete metrical version of Wieland’s Oberon, not being aware at the time that it had been already translated in England.

He was recalled toward the close of his father’s administration, but did not arrive in America till September, 1801. In the following spring, he was elected to the senate of Massachusetts for the county of Suffolk, and in the course of the year was chosen by the legislature a senator of the United States, for the senatorial term commencing on the 3d of March, 1803. His term of service in the senate of the United States fell upon one of the great periods of crisis in our political history. The party which had supported his father, and to which he himself belonged, had fallen into divisions, in the course of his father’s administration. These divisions had contributed to the revolution by which Mr. Jefferson was brought into power. The excitements growing out of this state of things were not yet allayed, but connected themselves, as all domestic questions did, with the absorbing questions that grew out of the foreign relations of the country, in the war which then raged in Europe, and threatened to draw America into the vortex. The senators of Massachusetts differed in their views of the policy required by the emergency, and those adopted by Mr. Adams, who supported the administration, being at variance with the opinions of a majority of his constituents; he resigned his seat in the senate, in March, 1808.

The repose from political engagements, thus afforded him, was devoted by Mr. Adams to the farther prosecution of pursuits in which he was already engaged, and which, to him, were scarcely less congenial. His literary tastes had always been fondly and assiduously cultivated, and, for a public man, his habits were decidedly studious. On the death of President Willard, in 1804, several of the influential friends of Harvard College had urged upon Mr. Adams, to allow himself to be considered as a candidate for the presidency of the University. These overtures he declined; but in the following year it was determined, by the corporation, to appoint a Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory, on the foundation of Mr. Boylston, and Mr. Adams was chosen. He delivered his inaugural address in July, 1806, and continued to discharge the duties of the professorship, by the delivery of a course of lectures, and by presiding over the public exercises in declamation, till the month of July, 1809. It was at this time, and as a member of one of the younger classes at college, that I first saw Mr. Adams, and listened to his well-remembered voice, from the chair of instruction; little anticipating that, after the lapse of forty years, my own humble voice would be heard, in the performance of this mournful office.

Some who now hear me will recollect the deep interest with which these lectures were listened to, not merely by the youthful audience for which they were prepared, but by numerous voluntary hearers from the neighborhood. They formed an era in the University; and were, I believe, the first successful attempt, in this country, at this form of instruction in any department of literature. They were collected and published in two volumes, completing the theoretical part of the subject. I think it may be fairly said, that they will bear a favorable comparison with any treatise, on the subject, at that time extant in our language. The standard of excellence, in every branch of critical learning, has greatly advanced in the last forty years, but these lectures may still be read with pleasure and instruction. Considered as a systematic and academical treatise upon a subject which constituted the chief part of the intellectual education of the Greeks and Romans, these lectures, rapidly composed as they were delivered, and not revised by the author before publication, are not to be regarded in the light of a standard performance. But let any statesman or jurist, even of the present day, in America or Europe,—whose life, like Mr. Adams’s, has been actively passed in professional and political engagements at home and abroad,— attempt, in the leisure of two or three summers,— his mind filled with all the great political topics of the day,—to prepare a full course of lectures on any branch of literature, to be delivered to a difficult and scrutinizing, though in part a youthful audience, and then trust them to the ordeal of the press, and he will be prepared to estimate the task which was performed by Mr. Adams.

From these, to him, not distasteful engagements, Mr. Adams was soon recalled to the public service. In March, 1809, he was nominated by President Madison to the Court of St. Petersburg, and, in the summer of the same year, returned to the important court which he had visited twenty-eight years before, in his boyhood, as secretary to Mr. Dana. He came at a critical juncture of affairs, and with great means and occasions of usefulness. The whole foreign world was, at this time, shut out from the Continental Courts, by the iron rigor of the system of Napoleon. America, though little known at the Imperial Court, was regarded with interest, as a rising transatlantic State of great importance, and Mr. Adams appeared as her first accredited representative. He was master of the two foreign languages which,—to the exclusion of the native Russian,—are alone spoken in the political and court circles. He was thus enabled the more easily to form relations of more than ordinary kindness with the emperor and leading members of the imperial government, and it is well understood to have been through this instrumentality, that the emperor was led to offer his mediation to the United States and Great Britain, in the war then just commenced. The mediation was accepted by the American government, and Mr. Adams was appointed, in conjunction with Messrs. Gallatin and Bayard, to conduct the negotiation. Those gentlemen arrived at St. Petersburg in July, 1813. The Emperor Alexander was absent on the great campaign of that year, but the conferences of the American commissioners were opened with Count Romanoff, chancellor of the empire. The British government declined to negotiate under the mediation, and Messrs. Bayard and Gallatin left St. Petersburg in January, 1814, Mr. Adams remaining, as resident minister.

But Great Britain, although nominally declining to negotiate under the mediation, accompanied her refusal with an offer to treat for peace with the United States directly, either at Gottenburg or London, and this offer was accepted by the American government, the preference being given to the former place. Mr. Adams was accordingly appointed, in joint commission with Messrs. Bayard, Clay, and Russell, to whom was afterwards added Mr. Gallatin, to negotiate for peace at Gottenburg. Mr. Adams received this commission in April, 1814, with instructions to proceed immediately to the place just named. He took passage from Revel in the first vessel, after the breaking up of the ice; and after repeated delay and detention, and great risk from the same cause, he arrived at Stockholm on the 25th of May.

He there learned that an arrangement had been made by Messrs. Bayard and Gallatin,—who were in London,—with the British government, by which the seat of negotiation had been transferred to Ghent. An American sloop-of-war was then at Gottenburg, having, as a cartel, conveyed Messrs. Clay and Russell to that place. Mr. Adams accordingly proceeded from Stockholm to Gottenburg, and, embarking with Mr. Russell on board the sloop-of-war, landed from her at the Texel, and thence proceeded by land to Ghent. There he arrived on the 24th of June, and on that day six months, the treaty of peace was signed. Mr. Adams’s name stands first, on the list of the negotiators.

Mr. Adams had been informed by the secretary of state, (James Monroe), at the time he was appointed under the mediation of the emperor of Russia, that, in the event of the conclusion of peace, it was the intention of President Madison to nominate him as minister to London. He accordingly went to Paris, and was there during the presence of the allied monarchs and their armies, and in the Hundred Days. He was joined by his family in March, 1815. Their hardships and perils, in performing the journey from St. Petersburg to France, in that time of universal commotion and uncertainty, would form an interesting narrative, for which, however, this is not the place. On the 7th of May, he received official information of his appointment; and although the ordinary communications between the two countries were interrupted, and the passage not unattended with delay and difficulty, he arrived in London on the 15th of May. He immediately engaged with his associate commissioners, Messrs. Clay and Gallatin, in negotiating a convention of commerce with Great Britain, which was concluded on the 3d of July, 1815.

Having thus, in happy coincidence with his venerable father’s career, cooperated in establishing a peace with Great Britain, he remained, like his father, in London, for two years, as the American Minister at that court. He was then, in 1817, invited by President Monroe to return to America, as Secretary of State under the new administration. I believe it was universally admitted, that a better appointment could not have been made. It will be recollected, by many persons present, that General Jackson, then just beginning to exercise great political influence in the country, spoke of Mr. Adams “as the fittest person for the office;—a man who would stand by the country in the hour of danger.”

But the hour of danger did not arrive at home or abroad during the administration of Mr. Monroe, which continued through two terms of office, for the whole of which Mr. Adams was Secretary of State. During this entire period, he maintained unbroken the most friendly relations with Mr. Monroe, and gave a steady and efficient support to his administration. The office of Secretary of State is, at all times, one of immense labor; never more so, than in the hands of Mr. Adams. I presume no person in high office ever derived less assistance from those under him, or did more work with his own hands. No opinion, for which he was responsible, was ever taken on trust, upon the examination of others; no paper of any consequence, to which he was to sign his name, was the product of another man’s mind. It would be foreign from my purpose, did time admit, to discuss the measures of public interest which engaged the attention of the government and people of the country during Mr. Monroe’s two terms of service in the presidency. His administration will ever be memorable, in our political history, for the substantial fusion of the two great political parties, which led to his unanimous reelection in 1821. It will also be remembered for the acquisition of Florida, which was ceded by Spain as an indemnification for spoliations on our commerce. The treaty for this session was negotiated, with consummate ability, by Mr. Adams, and signed on the 22d of February, 1819. The independence of the Spanish provinces on this continent was also recognized under this administration,—a measure rather assented to than warmly approved by Mr. Adams, for he doubted their capacity for self-government; an opinion, of which the soundness is abundantly justified by passing events.

Out of the subsidence of the old parties, sprung the variously contested presidential election of 1824. For a quarter of a century, a succession had been established from the department of state to the presidency. There were certainly good reasons, on the present occasion, why this practice should not be broken in upon; but, in addition, to the successful candidate for the vice-presidency, the south and the west brought three presidential candidates into the field, who divided the electoral vote, though unequally, with Mr. Adams. The whole number of votes was two hundred and sixty-one, of which General Jackson received ninety-nine, and Mr. Adams eighty-four. But I think it was calculated, at the time, that Mr. Adams’s vote, in the primary assemblies of the people, was not less than his rival’s. The choice devolved upon the House of Representatives, for the second time since the formation of the present government. The first occasion was in 1801, when the constitution itself had nearly sunk under the struggle, which was prolonged through the second day, and to the thirty-sixth balloting. On the present occasion, the elements of a struggle equally perilous were thought to exist; and calculation was entirely at fault as to the result. The choice was decided on the first ballot, and fell upon Mr. Adams. It was made known to him in advance of the official communication, by a personal and political friend, who happened to be present; and who, to my question, a few weeks after, how he received the intelligence, answered, “like a philosopher.”

Mr. Adams’s administration was, in its principles and policy, a continuation of Mr. Monroe’s. The special object which he proposed to himself was, to bind the distant parts of the country together, and promote their mutual prosperity, by increased facilities of communication. Unlike Mr. Monroe’s, Mr. Adams’s administration encountered, from the outset, a formidable and harassing opposition. It is now, I believe, generally admitted to have been honest, able, and patriotic. This praise has lately been accorded to it, in the most generous terms, by distinguished individuals, in Congress and elsewhere, who were not numbered among its supporters. That the president, himself, devoted to the public business the utmost stretch of his Herculean powers of thought and labor, hardly needs to be told.

Two incidents occurred during his administration, which ought not to be wholly passed over in this hasty sketch:—one was the visit of Lafayette, whom Mr. Adams received, at the presidential mansion, with an address of extraordinary eloquence and beauty; the other, the death of his venerable father, spared to the patriarchal age of ninety-one, and to see his son raised to the presidency, and dying, with his ancient associate, Jefferson, within a few hours of each other, on the fiftieth anniversary of Independence,—which they had been associated in declaring.

At the close of the term of four years, for which Mr. Adams was elected, General Jackson was chosen to succeed him. Mr. Adams, I doubt not, left the office with a lighter heart than he entered it. It was, at this time, his purpose,—as he informed me himself,—on retiring from office, to devote himself to literary labors, and especially to writing the history of his father’s life and times. Some commencement was made, by him, of the preliminary labors requisite for this great undertaking. He was, however, though past the meridian of life, in good health. He possessed an undiminished capacity of physical and intellectual action. He had an experience of affairs, larger and more various than any other man in America; and it was felt by the public, that he ought to be induced, if possible, to return to the political service of the country. He was accordingly chosen, at the next congressional election, to represent the people of his native district, in the House of Representatives of the United States.

It was, perhaps, a general impression among his personal friends, that, in yielding to this call, he had not chosen wisely for his happiness or fame. It was a step never before taken by a retiring chief magistrate. The experience and wisdom of his predecessors had often exerted a salutary influence over public opinion, for the very reason that their voice was heard only from the seclusion of private life, by those who sought their counsel. Mr. Adams was about to expose himself to the violence of political warfare, not always conducted with generosity on the floor of Congress. But in deciding to obey the call of his constituents, he followed, I am confident, not so much the strong bent of his inclination, and the fixed habit of his life, as an inward, all-controlling sense of duty. He was conscious of his capacity to be useful, and his work was not yet done. Besides, he needed no indulgence, he asked no favor, he feared no opposition.

He carried into Congress the diligence, punctuality, and spirit of labor, which were his second—I had almost said his first—nature. My seat was, for two years, by his side; and it would have scarcely more surprised me to miss one of the marble columns of the hall from its pedestal, than to see his chair empty. The two great political questions of the day were those which related to the protective and financial systems. He was placed, by the speaker of the House, at the head of the Committee on Manufactures. He was friendly to the policy of giving our rising establishments a moderate protection against the irregular pressure of foreign competition. Believing that manufacturing pursuits,—as the great school of mechanical skill,—are an important element of national prosperity, he thought it unwise to allow the compensation of labor in this department to be brought down to the starvation standard of Europe. He was also a firm and efficient champion of the Bank of the United States, then subsisting under a charter of Congress, and, up to that time, conducted, as he thought, with integrity. On these, and all the other topics of the day, he took an active part, employing himself with assiduity in the committee room, preparing elaborate reports, and, occasionally, though not frequently, pouring out the affluence of his mind in debate.

I shall, perhaps, be pardoned, for introducing here a slight personal recollection, which serves, in some degree, to illustrate his habits. The sessions of the two last days of (I think) the twenty-third Congress were prolonged, the one for nineteen, and the other for seventeen hours. At the close of the last day’s session, he remained in the hall of the house, the last seated member of the body. One after another of the members had gone home; many of them, for hours. The hall,—brilliantly lighted up, and gaily attended, as was, and perhaps is still, the custom at the beginning of the last evening of a session,— had become cold, dark, and cheerless. Of the members who remained, to prevent the public business from dying for want of a quorum, most, but himself, were sinking from exhaustion, although they had probably taken their meals at the usual hours, in the course of the day. After the adjournment, I went up to his seat, to join company with him homeward; and, as I knew he came to the house at eight o’clock in the morning, and it was then past midnight, I expressed a hope that he had taken some refreshment in the course of the day. He said he had not left his seat, but, holding up a bit of hard bread in his fingers, gave me to understand in what way he had sustained nature.

Such was his course in the House of Representatives, up to the year 1835, during which I was the daily witness of it, as an humble associate member. Had he retired from Congress at that time, it would have been, perhaps, rather with a reputation brought to the house, than achieved on the floor; a reputation “enough to fill the ambition of a common man,” nay, of a very uncommon one; but it would probably have been thought that, surpassing most others, he had hardly equaled himself. But from this time forward, for ten years, (1835-1845,) he assumed a position in a great degree new, and put forth a wonderful increase of energy and power. Some of the former questions, which had long occupied Congress, had been, at least for the time, disposed of, and new ones came up, which roused Mr. Adams to a higher action of his faculties than he had yet displayed. He was now sixty-eight years of age,—a time of life, I need not say, at which, in most cases, the firmest frame gives way, and the most ardent temper cools; but the spirit of Mr. Adams,—bold and indomitable as his whole life showed it to be,—blazed forth, from this time forward, for ten years, with a fervor and strength which astonished his friends, and stands, as I think, almost, if not quite, without a parallel. I do not forget the limits prescribed to me by the circumstances under which I speak; but no one, capable of estimating the noblest traits of character, can wish me to slur over this period of Mr. Adams’s life; no one, but must be touched with the spectacle which, day after day, and month after month, and session after session, was exhibited by him, to whom had now been accorded, by universal consent, the title of the “old man eloquent ;”—and far more deserving of it he was, than the somewhat frigid rhetorician on whom it was originally bestowed. There he sat, the deepest-stricken in years, but, of the whole body, the individual most capable of physical endurance and intellectual effort; his bare head erect, while younger men drooped; ” his peremptory, eagle-sighted eye” unquenched, both by day and by night:

________intrepidus vultu, meruitque timeri
Non metuens.
[Translation: The intrepid countenance, merited rather than feared. Shall not dread.

It is unnecessary to state that the new questions, to which I refer, were those connected with slavery. On no great question, perhaps, has the progress of public opinion been more decided, both in Europe and America, than on this subject. It is but a little more than a century since England eagerly stipulated with Spain for the right to supply the Spanish colonies with slaves from Africa; and the carrying trade, from the same ill-fated coasts to our own Southern States, then colonies, was conducted by the merchants and navigators of our own New England. Within the present generation, we have seen the slave trade denounced as a capital felony in both countries. I am not aware that any discussion of this subject, of a nature powerfully to affect the public mind, took place in Congress, till full thirty years after the adoption of the constitution. It then arose on occasion of the admission of the State of Missouri into the Union, and on the proposition to incorporate into the constitution of that State the principle of the immortal ordinance of 1787, for the organization of the territory northwest of the Ohio, viz., “There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in the said territory, otherwise than in the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall be duly convicted.” Mr. Adams was in the department of state at the time of the admission of Missouri, and was not called upon to take any part in the discussion.

The general agitation of the subject in the community at large dates from a still more recent period, commencing about the time of Mr. Adams’s accession to the presidency. It was animated, no doubt, by the movement which took place about the same time in Great Britain, and which, in the course of a few years, resulted in that most illustrious act of Christian benevolence, by which, in a single day, eight hundred thousand fellow-beings passed from a state of bondage to one of unconditional freedom, and that without a cry or a gesture that threatened the public peace.

The public opinion of the United States, sympathizing as it must at all times with that of the other great branches of the human family, was deeply interested in the progress of these discussions abroad, and received a powerful impulse from their result. With the organized agitation, in the free States, of the questions connected with slavery, Mr. Adams did not, as a citizen I believe, intimately connect himself. Toward their introduction into Congress, as subjects of free discussion, he contributed more than any other man; than all others united. He approached the subject, however, with a caution inspired by a profound sense of its difficulty and delicacy. I know it to have been his opinion, as late as 1828, that, for the presidency and vice-presidency, the candidates ought to be selected from the two great sections of the country. His first act as a member of Congress, in 1831, was to present the memorial of the “Friends,” of Philadelphia, praying, among other things, for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia; but, while he paid the highest tribute to the motives of the petitioners, he avowed himself not prepared to grant the prayer of the memorial. But whether it was that his own opinions and feelings had shared the movement of the general mind of the age on this subject; or that he perceived, in the course of a few years, that the time had come when it must be met and discussed in all its aspects; certain it is that, from the time the right of petition was drawn distinctly in question, Mr. Adams placed himself boldly on that ground, and, from that time forward, stood firmly at his post, as the acknowledged congressional leader. No labor was too great, no attention too minute, to be bestowed by him in receiving and presenting the petitions which were poured into his hands from every part of the country. No strength or violence of opposition, or menaces of danger, deterred him from the office he had assumed; and every attempt to dishearten and silence him but established, the more firmly, the moral ascendency which he had acquired in the house. His warmest opponents, while they condemned his policy, admitted his sincerity, admired his courage, and owned his power. His rising to address the house became the signal for mute and respectful attention; the distant clustered round his seat; the listless and the idle gave heed, and every word that fell from his lips was listened to almost like the response of an oracle. I say this alike to the honor of the living and the dead.

I may be permitted to recall to your recollection the opening of the 26th Congress, in December, 1839, when, in consequence of a two-fold delegation from New Jersey, the house was unable, for some time, to complete its organization, and presented, to the country and the world, the perilous and discreditable aspect of the assembled representatives of the people unable to form themselves into a constitutional body. Fully to enter into the scene, it must be remembered that there are no two ideas more deeply imbedded in the Anglo-Saxon mind than these;—one, the omnipotence of every sovereign parliamentary, and congressional body, (I mean, of course, within the limits of its constitutional competence,) and the other, the absolute inability of one of these omnipotent bodies to make the slightest movement, or perform the most indifferent act, except through a formal expression of its will by its duly appointed organs. Now, on first assembling, the House has no officers, and the clerk of the preceding Congress acts, by usage, as chairman of the body, till a speaker is chosen. On this occasion, after reaching the State of New Jersey, the acting clerk declined to proceed in calling the roll, and refused to entertain any of the motions which were made for the purpose of extricating the House from its embarrassment. Many of the ablest and most judicious members had addressed the House in vain, and there was nothing but confusion and disorder in prospect. Toward the close of the fourth day, Mr. Adams rose, and expectation waited on his words. Having, by a powerful appeal, brought the yet unorganized assembly to a perception of its hazardous position, he submitted a motion requiring the acting clerk to proceed in calling the roll. This and similar motions had already been made by other members. The difficulty was, that the acting clerk declined to entertain them. Accordingly, Mr. Adams was immediately interrupted by a burst of voices demanding, “How shall the question be put?” “Who will put the question?” The voice of Mr. Adams was heard above the tumult, “I intend to put the question myself!” That word brought order out of chaos. There was the master-mind. A distinguished member from South Carolina, (Mr. Rhett,) moved that Mr. Adams himself should act as chairman of the body till the House was organized, and, suiting the action to the word, himself put the motion to the House. It prevailed unanimously, and Mr. Adams was conducted to the chair, amidst the irrepressible acclamations of the spectators. Well did Mr. Wise, of Virginia, say, “Sir, I regard it as the proudest hour of your life; and if, when you shall be gathered to your fathers,” (that time, alas, is now come!) “I were asked to select the words which, in my judgment, are best calculated to give at once the character of the man, I would inscribe upon your tomb this sentence, ‘I will put the question myself.'”

And thus it was that he was established, at last, in a relation to the House, which no man before had ever filled. The differences of opinion of course were great; the shock of debate often violent; but it was impossible not to respect the fearless, conscientious, unparalleled old man. Into this feeling at last every other emotion subsided; and I know not to which party the greater praise is due,—the aged statesman who had so nobly earned this homage, or the generous opponents by whom it was cheerfully paid.

Nor was this spontaneous deference a mere personal sentiment, confined to associates on the floor of Congress. It extended to the People. In the summer of 1843, Mr. Adams was invited to go to Cincinnati, and lay the corner-stone of an Observatory, about to be built by the liberal subscriptions of the friends of science in that city. His journey, from Massachusetts to Ohio, was a triumphal procession. New York poured out the population of her cities and villages to bid him welcome. Since the visit of Lafayette, the country had seen nothing like it. And if I wished to prove to the young men of the country, by the most instructive instances, that the only true greatness is that which rests on a moral basis, I would point them to the ex-president of the United States, on the occasion referred to, and the ex-king of the French:—the one, retiring to private life, an unsuccessful, but not discredited, candidate for reelection to the chair of state; ruling, in a serene old age, in the respect and affection of his fellow-citizens; borne, at seventy-six, almost on their shoulders, from one joyous reception to another: the other, sovereign, but yesterday, of a kingdom stretching from Mount Atlas to the Rhine; master of an army to bid defiance to Europe; -with a palace for every month, and a revenue of three millions of francs for every day in the year; and to-day, (let me not seem to trample on the fallen, as I utter the words,) stealing with the aged partner of his throne and of his fall, in sordid disguise, from his capital; without one of that mighty host to strike a blow in his defense, if not from loyalty, at least from compassion; not daring to look round, even to see if the child were safe, on whom he had just bestowed the mockery of a crown; and compelled to beg a few francs, from the guards at his palace-door, to help him to flee from his kingdom!

But I have wandered from my theme, and must hasten with you, to contemplate a far different termination of a more truly glorious career. On the 20th of November, 1846, Mr. Adams, being then at the house of his son, in Boston, and preparing for his departure for Washington, walked out, with a friend, to visit the new Medical College, and was struck with palsy by the way. He recovered strength enough to return in a few weeks to Washington, hut it was, in his own estimation, the stroke of death. His journal,—kept with regularity for more than half a century,—stops that day; and when, after an interval of nearly four months, he resumed it, it was with the caption of “Posthumous Memoir.” Having recorded the event of the 20th of November, and his subsequent confinement, he adds, “From that hour I date my decease, and consider myself, for every useful purpose to myself and fellow-creatures, dead; and hence I call this, and what I may hereafter write, a posthumous memoir.” From this time forward, though his attendance was regularly given in the House of Representatives, he rarely took part in the debates. His summer was passed, as usual, in his native village. In the month of October last, he made a visit to Cambridge, as chairman of the Committee on the Observatory,—an institution in which he ever took the greatest interest, and of which he was, from the first, a most liberal benefactor,—and shortly afterwards drew up the admirable letter, in reference to this establishment, and the promotion generally of astronomical science,—a letter which attracted universal attention a few weeks since, in the public prints. This was the last letter, I believe, of considerable length, wholly written with his own hand. He returned to Washington in the month of November, and resumed his usual attendance in the Capitol; but the sands were nearly run out.

Never did a noble life terminate in a more beautiful close. On Sunday, the 20th of February, he appeared in unusual health. He attended public worship, in the forenoon, at the Capitol, and, in the afternoon, at St. John’s Church. At nine o’clock in the evening he retired, with his wife, to his library, where she read to him a sermon of Bishop Wilberforce, on Time,—hovering, as he was, on the verge of Eternity. This was the last night which he passed beneath his own roof. On Monday, the 21st, he rose at his usual very early hour, and engaged in his accustomed occupations with his pen. An extraordinary alacrity pervaded his movements; the cheerful step with which he ascended the Capitol was remarked by his attendants; and, at about half-past twelve, as he seemed rising in his seat, he was struck with death. His last audible words were, “This is the end of earth,”—”I am composed.” He continued to breathe, but without apparent consciousness, till the evening of the twenty-third instant, and died in the Capitol.

Go there, politician, and behold a fall worth all the triumphs the Capitol ever witnessed! Go there, skeptic, you who believe that matter and mind are one, and both are a “kneaded clod,” and explain how it is that, within that aged and shattered frame, just sinking into the dust from which it was taken, there can dwell a principle of thought and feeling endued with such a divine serenity and courage, and composed, because it feels, that the end of earth is the beginning of heaven!

Thus fell, at the post of duty, one of the most extraordinary men that have appeared among us, not so much dying, as translated from the field of his earthly labors and honors to a higher sphere. I have left myself little space or strength to add anything to the narrative of his life by way of portraying his character. Some attempt, however, of that kind, you will expect.

Mr. Adams was a man of the rarest intellectual endowments. His perception was singularly accurate and penetrating. Whenever he undertook to investigate a subject, he was sure to attain the clearest ideas of it which its nature admitted. What he knew, he knew with great precision. His argumentative powers were of the highest order, and admirably trained. When he entered the field of controversy, it was a strong and a bold man that voluntarily encountered him a second time. His memory was wonderful. Every thing he had seen or read, every occurrence in his long and crowded life, was at all times present to his recollection. This was the more remarkable, as he had, almost from the age of boyhood, followed the practice of recording, from day to day, every incident of importance,—a practice thought to weaken the memory. This wonderful power of recollection was aided by the strict method with which he pursued his studies for the earlier part of his life, and until weighed down by the burdens of executive office, on entering the department of state. He had, withal, a diligence which nothing could weary. He rose at the earliest hour, and had an occupation for every moment of the day.

Without having made a distinct pursuit of any one branch of knowledge, he was probably possessed of a greater amount and variety of accurate information than any other man in the country. It follows, of course, that he had pushed his inquiries far beyond the profession to which he was bred, or that reading which belongs directly to the publicist and the statesman. Few among us drank so deeply at the ancient fountains. To his acquaintance with the language and literature of Greece and Rome, he added the two leading languages of continental Europe, of which the French was a second mother-tongue. The orations of Demosthenes and Cicero, the philosophical and rhetorical works of Cicero; the critical works of Aristotle and Quintilian; the historical works of Tacitus, (all of which he had translated at school;) a considerable part of the poems of Ovid, whom he greatly admired; the satires of Juvenal; in French, Pascal, Moliere, and La Fontaine; in English, Shakespeare, his greatest favorite, with Milton, Dryden, Pope, and Burke,—were stamped upon his memory. These were studies which he never wholly sacrificed to the calls of business, however urgent. The office of President of the United States, at least as filled by Mr. Adams, is one of extreme labor, but he found time, amidst its incessant calls and interruptions, to address a series of letters to his youngest son,—some of them, written in the busiest period of the session,—containing an elaborate analysis of several of the orations of Cicero, designed to aid the young man in the perusal of this, his favorite author. At the close of one of these letters, (as if it were impossible to fill up his industrious day,) he adds, that he is reading Evelyn’s Sylva with great delight. Some of these letters would be thought a good day’s work for a scholar by profession. But Mr. Adams wrote with a rapidity and ease, which would hardly have been suspected from his somewhat measured style. Notwithstanding the finish of his sentences, they were, like Gibbon’s, struck off at once, and never had to be retouched. I remember that once, as I sat by his side in the House of Representatives, I was so much struck with the neatness and beauty of the manuscript of a report of great length which he had brought into the House, and in which, as I turned over the leaves, I could not perceive an interlineation, that I made a remark to him on the subject. He told me it was the first draft, and had never been copied; and, in that condition, it was sent to the press, though sure to be the subject of the severest criticism.

To his profession, Mr. Adams gave but a few years of his life, and those not exclusively. He had, however, mastered the elementary learning and the forms of the law, and, in the fourth year after entering upon the practice, supported himself by his professional earnings. In later life, he appeared at the bar, on a few important occasions, with distinction and success. During his residence in Russia, Mr. Madison made him an offer of a seat on the Bench of the Supreme Court of the United States, which he declined. As a public speaker, whether at the senate or the bar, he was grave, clear, and impressive,—formidable in retort, powerful in invective,—sometimes giving the reins to a playful fancy, and, when the subject and occasion admitted, vehement and impassioned,—neglectful of the lighter graces of manner, but, at all times, riveting the attention of his audience. When, at the age of seventy-four, he came into the Supreme Court at Washington, as the volunteer counsel of the Africans on board the Amistad, he displayed a forensic talent, which would have added luster to the brightest name in the profession.

But it is as a politician, as a statesman, and a chief magistrate, that he will hereafter be chiefly remembered in the annals of the country; and it will be among those who have served her the longest, the most zealously, the most ably, the most conscientiously. Breathing, as we do, an atmosphere heated with the passions of the day; swayed, as we all are, by our own prejudices, it is not for us to sit in judgment on his political course. Impartiality in our opinions of contemporaries is often the name which we give to our own adverse conceptions. It is characteristic of most men, either from temperament or education, to lean decidedly either to the conservative or progressive tendency, which forms respectively the basis of our parties. In Mr. Adams’s political system there was a singular mixture of both principles. This led him, early in his political career, to adopt a course which is sanctioned by the highest authorities and examples in the country, that of avoiding, as far as possible, an intimate and exclusive union with any party. This policy was studiously pursued by General Washington. He retained in his cabinet the two great rival leaders, as long as they could be prevailed upon to sit side by side; and in appointing ministers to Great Britain and to France, at a very critical period of our foreign relations, he acted upon the same principle. Mr. Jefferson, in his inaugural address in 1801, says, “We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all republicans: we are all federalists;” and in 1817, General Jackson exhorted Mr. Monroe to destroy the monster, party. It was, I think, on the same principle that Mr. Adams, when the state government was organized in 1802, was desirous of constituting the executive council by a fair representation of the two parties. But this policy, I suspect, can never be effectively pursued, at those periods when it would be of any importance, viz., times of high political excitement. A real independence of party ties, on great questions and in difficult times, will, I fear, rarely be asserted without great personal sacrifices and violent collisions. Those whose general views are in sympathy, if separated on individual measures of great interest, become, for that very reason, the more estranged; and the confidence and admiration of years are succeeded by alienation and bitterness. Burke and Fox, the dearest of friends and the trustiest of allies, parted from each other on the floor of parliament with tears, but still they parted, and forever. Happy the statesman, who, when the collisions of the day are past and forgotten, shall possess titles to the abiding interest and respect of his countrymen as brilliant and substantial as those of Mr. Adams!

In the high offices which he filled in the government, he may be safely held up as a model of a public servant. As a diplomatist, his rank has been assigned by Washington. As an executive officer, the duty of the day, however uninviting, was discharged as if it were an object of the most attractive interest. The most obsolete and complicated claim, if it became necessary for Mr. Adams to pass upon it, was sifted to the bottom with the mechanical patience of an auditor of accounts; and woe to the fallacy, if any there were, which lurked in the statement. A “report on weights and measures,” prepared by Mr. Adams in the ordinary routine of official duty, is entitled to the character of a scientific treatise. In executing the office of President of the United States, he was governed by two noble principles, oftener professed than carried into full practice. The first related to measures, and was an all but superstitious respect for the constitution and the law. Laboring as he did, by the strange perversity of party judgments, under the odium of latitudinarian doctrines, there never lived the public man, or the magistrate, who carried into every act of official duty a deeper sense of the binding power of the constitution and the law, as a rule of conduct from which there was no appeal. The second principle regarded men, and was that of conscientious impartiality. I do not mean that he did not confer important offices, when the nomination was freely at his discretion, on political friends,—the services of none others can be commanded for places of high trust and confidence,—but political friendship never was the paramount consideration. He found a majority of the offices in the country in the possession of his political opponents, and he never removed one of them to make way for a friend. He invited Mr. Crawford, a rival candidate for the presidency, to retain his seat in the Cabinet as Secretary of the Treasury. He decided a long-standing controversy about rank between the highest officers of the army, against his political interests. He brought to every question that required his decision, however wrapped up in personal considerations, the inflexibility of a judicial tribunal.

As a man, he had, no doubt, the infirmities of human nature, (fair subjects of criticism to the happy few who are immaculate,) but not, I think, those most frequently laid to his charge. He was not, for instance, parsimonious or avaricious. Thrown, from his first start in life, upon his own resources, he determined to five within his means, and studied a decent economy; not because he loved money, but because he loved independence. That object attained, he ceased to exercise even ordinary thrift in the management of his affairs; but he did not cease, to the end of his life, to lend an ear to every call, (public or private,) upon his liberality, far beyond the extent of his income. He did not, as a minister abroad, load himself with debt, that he might enjoy the satisfaction of being distanced in a race of profusion with the foreign ambassadors, whose princely incomes are swelled by princely salaries; but, from the time of his first residence at Washington, as Secretary of State, to the close of his presidency, and even of his life, the hospitality of his house and of his table was proverbial. Neither office, I believe, added a dollar to his fortune. He was plain in his personal habits and dress, because he was simple in his tastes and feelings. What attraction can there be to a thoughtful, studious man,—with great affairs upon his hands and upon his thoughts,—in the wretched and fatiguing vanities which are the principal sources of expense? There was an occasional abstraction and reserve in his manner, which led those who did not observe him more closely, to think him deficient in warmth and cordiality. But, while he wanted a certain cheerful flexibility and sprightliness, which, when accompanied with sincerity and frankness, are a very enviable endowment for a public man,—eminently useful in making friends,—yet, in real kindness of nature, and depth and tenderness of feeling, no man surpassed him. His venerable classmate bears witness that he contributed his full share to the hilarity of the social circle; and sure I am there must be around me some who can remember with me the hours, for which they have hung delighted on the fascination of his social converse. As far as the higher sympathies of our nature are concerned,—the master affections, whose sphere is far above the little conventional courtesies of life,—a warmer spirit never dwelt in a human frame.

But I have left untouched the great qualities of the man, the traits which formed the heroism of his character, and would have made him, at all times, and in any career, a person of the highest mark and force. These were, his lion-heart, which knew not the fear of man; and his religious spirit, which feared God in all things, constantly, profoundly, and practically. A person of truer courage, physical and moral, I think never lived. In whatever calling of life he had grown up, this trait, I am sure, would have been conspicuous. Had he been a common sailor, he would have been the first to go to the mast-head, when the topsails were flying into ribbons. He never was called to expose his life in the field; but, had his duty required it, he was a man to lead a forlorn hope, with a steady step, through a breach spouting with fire. It was his custom,—at a time when personal violence toward individuals politically obnoxious was not uncommon,—to walk the unwatched and desolate streets of Washington alone, and before sun-rise. This may be set down to the steadiness of nerves, which is shared by men of inferior tone of mind. But in his place in the House of Representatives,— in the great struggle into which he plunged, from a conscientious sense of duty, in the closing years of his life,—and in the boldness and resolution with which he trod on ground never before thrown open to free discussion, he evinced a moral courage, founded on the only true basis of moral principle, of which I know no brighter example. It was with this he warred, and with this he conquered; strong in the soundness of his honest heart, strong in the fear of God,—the last great dominant principle of his life and character.


John Quincy Adams Concerning the Study of the Bible (Click to enlarge)

There was the hiding of his power. There it was that he exhibited, in its true type, the sterling quality of the good old stock of which he came. Offices, and affairs, and honors, and studies, left room in his soul for Faith. No man laid hold, with a firmer grasp, of the realities of life; but no man dwelt more steadily on the mysterious realities beyond life. He entertained a profound, I had almost said an obsolete, reverence for sacred things. The daily and systematic perusal of the Bible was an occupation with which no other duty was allowed to interfere. He attended the public offices of social worship with a constancy seldom witnessed in this busy and philosophic age. Still there was nothing austere or narrow-minded in his religion; there was no affectation of rigor in his life or manners; no unreflecting adoption of traditionary opinions in matters of belief. He remained, to the end of his days, an inquirer after truth. He regularly attended the public worship of churches widely differing from each other in doctrinal peculiarities. The daily entry of his journal, for the latter part of his life, begins with a passage extracted from Scripture, followed with his own meditation and commentary; and, thus commencing the day, there is little reason to doubt that, of his habitual reflections, as large a portion was thrown forward to the world of spirits, as was retained by the passing scene.

The death of such a man is no subject of vulgar sorrow. Domestic affliction itself bows with resignation at an event so mature in its season; so rich in its consolations; so raised into sublimity by the grandeur of the parting scene. Of all the great orators and statesmen in the world, he alone has, I think, lived out the full term of a long life in actual service, and died on the field of duty, in the public eye, within the halls of public council. The great majority of public men, who most resemble him, drop away satisfied, perhaps disgusted, as years begin to wane; many break down at the meridian; in other times and countries, not a few have laid their heads on the block. Demosthenes, at the age of sixty, swallowed poison, while the pursuer was knocking at the door of the temple in which he had taken refuge. Cicero, at the age of sixty-four, stretched out his neck from his litter to the hired assassin. Our illustrious fellow citizen, in the fullness of his years and of his honors, upon a day that was shaking, in Europe, the pillars of a monarchy to the dust, fell calmly at his post, amidst venerating associates, and breathed his last within the Capitol:

“And, which is best and happiest yet, all this
With God not parted from him,—
But favoring and assisting to the end.
Nothing is here for tears, nothing to wail,
Or knock the breast; no weakness, no contempt,
Dispraise or blame,—nothing but well and fair,
And what may quiet us, in a death so noble.”

The Following is the Order of The Services on Occasion Of The Delivery of The Foregoing Eulogy.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts.




As A Testimony of Respect To The Memory of





Voluntary, By The Orchestra.


Solemn Chant, By The Choir.

  1. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord: that delighteth greatly in his commandments.
  2. Unto the upright there ariseth light in darkness: the righteous shall be held in everlasting remembrance.
  3. The hope of the ungodly is like dust that is blown away by the wind: like the smoke which is dispersed here and there by a tempest:
  4. And passeth away as the remembrance of a guest that tarrieth but a day.
  5. But the righteous live forevermore: their reward also is with the Lord, and the care of them is with the Most High.
  6. Therefore shall they receive a glorious kingdom and a beautiful crown from the Lord’s hand: for with his right hand shall he cover them, and with his arm shall he protect them.
  7. The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them: in the sight of the unwise they seem to die, and their departure is taken for misery, and their going from us to be utter destruction.
  8. But they are in peace: for though they be punished in the sight of men,
  9. Yet is their hope full of immortality: and having been a little chastised, they shall be greatly rewarded.
  10. For God hath proved them, and found them worthy for himself: and they shall judge the nations, and their Lord shall reign forever.
  11. I heard a voice from heaven, saying, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them.


Prayer, By The Rev. C. A. Bartol,



Hymn.—Tune, “savannah.”

O what is Man, great Maker of Mankind,
That thou to him so great respect dost bear!

That thou adorn’st him with so great a mind,
Mak’st him a king and e’en an angel’s peer.

O what a lively life, what heavenly power,
What spreading virtue, what a sparkling fire,

How great, how plentiful, how rich a dower,
Dost Thou within this dying flesh inspire!

Thou hast not given these blessings for a day,
Nor made them on the body’s life depend;

The soul, though made in time, survives for aye,
And, though it hath beginning, sees no end.

Heaven waxeth old, and all the spheres above
Shall one day faint, and their swift motion stay;

And time itself, in time, shall cease to move,
Only the soul survives and lives for aye.

Cast down thyself then, Man, and strive to raise
The glory of thy Maker’s sacred name;

Use all thy powers, that blessed Power to praise,
Which gives thee power to be, and use the same.


Eulogy, By The Hon. Edward Everett.


Air And Chorus, From Handel’s “Messiah.”

I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God. For now is Christ risen from the dead, the first fruits of them that sleep.

Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead: For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.


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Samuel Adams Liberty and Freedom Require Virtue


Samuel Adams Regarding Our Liberties (Click to enlarge)

Samuel Adams Regarding Our Liberties (Click to enlarge)

ARTICLE SIGNED “CANDIDUS” (Pseudonym of Samuel Adams)
[Boston Gazette, October 14, 1771.]

Messieurs Edes & Gill,

“Ambition saw that stooping Rome could bear
A Master, nor had Virtue to be free.”
[From the poem “Liberty” (1734) by James Thomson, 1700-1748]

I Believe that no people ever yet groaned under the heavy yoke of slavery, but when they deserved it. This may be called a severe censure upon by far the greatest part of the nations in the world who are involved in the misery of servitude: But however they may be thought by some to deserve commiseration, the censure is just. [Ulriucus] Zuinglius [A zealous reformer, born at Wildehausen, in Switzerland, 1487 who laid the foundation of a division from Rome in Switzerland at the time that Luther did the same in Saxony], one of the first reformers, in his friendly admonition to the republic of the Switzers, discourses much of his countrymen throwing off the yoke: He says, that they who lie under oppression deserve what they suffer, and a great deal more ; and he bids them perish with their oppressors. The truth is, All might be free if they valued freedom, and defended it as they ought. Is it possible that millions could be enslaved by a few, which is a notorious fact, if all possessed the independent spirit of Brutus, who to his immortal honor, expelled the proud Tyrant of Rome, and his royal and rebellious race?” If therefore a people will not be free; if they have not virtue enough to maintain their liberty against a presumptuous invader, they deserve no pity, and are to be treated with contempt and ignominy. Had not Caesar seen that Rome was ready to stoop, he would not have dared to make himself the master of that once brave people. He was indeed, as a great writer observes, a smooth and subtle tyrant, who led them gently into slavery; “and on his brow, ‘ore daring vice deluding virtue smiled “. By pretending to be the peoples greatest friend, he gained the ascendency over them: By beguiling arts, hypocrisy and flattery, which are even more fatal than the sword, he obtained that supreme power which his ambitious soul had long thirsted for: The people were finally prevailed upon to consent to their own ruin: By the force of persuasion, or rather by cajoling arts and tricks always made use of by men who have ambitious views, they enacted their Lex Regia [Royal Law, A law by which it was claimed that the legislative power was transferred by the Roman people to the emperor]; whereby Quodplacuit principi legis habuit vigorem [Justice is the constant and perpetual will to render to every man his due]; that is, the will and pleasure of the Prince had the force of law. His minions had taken infinite pains to paint to their imaginations the god-like virtues of Caesar: They first persuaded them to believe that he was a deity [Editors Note: reminds me how some thought Obama was a god and said as much], and then to sacrifice to him those Rights and Liberties which their ancestors had so long maintained, with unexampled bravery, and with blood & treasure. By this act they fixed a precedent fatal to all posterity: The Roman people afterwards, influenced no doubt by this pernicious example, renewed it to his successors, not at the end of every ten years, but for life. They transferred all their right and power to Charles the Great: In eum transtulit omne suum jus et potestatem [He transferred all his right and power to him.]. Thus, they voluntarily and ignominiously surrendered their own liberty, and exchanged a free constitution for a Tyranny!

Samuel Adams Regarding Our Duty in Elections (Click to enlarge)

Samuel Adams Regarding Our Duty in Elections (Click to enlarge)

It is not my design at present to form the comparison between the state of this country now, and that of the Roman Empire in those dregs of time; or between the disposition of Caesar, and that of:

The comparison, I confess, would not in all parts hold good: The Tyrant of Rome, to do him justice, had learning, courage, and great abilities. It behooves us however to awake and advert to the danger we are in. The Tragedy of American Freedom, it is to be feared is nearly completed: A Tyranny seems to be at the very door. It is to little purpose then to go about coolly to rehearse the gradual steps that have been taken, the means that have been used, and the instruments employed, to encompass the ruin of the public liberty: We know them and we detest them. But what will this avail, if we have not courage and resolution to prevent the completion of their system?

Our enemies would fain have us lie down on the bed of sloth and security, and persuade ourselves that there is no danger: They are daily administering the opiate with multiplied arts and delusions; and I am sorry to observe, that the gilded pill is so alluring to some who call themselves the friends of Liberty. But is there no danger when the very foundations of our civil constitution tremble?—When an attempt was first made to disturb the corner-stone of the fabric, we were universally and justly alarmed: And can we be cool spectators, when we see it already removed from its place? With what resentment and indignation did we first receive the intelligence of a design to make us tributary, not to natural enemies, but infinitely more humiliating, to fellow subjects?And yet with unparalleled insolence we are told to be quiet, when we see that very money which is torn from us by lawless force, made use of still further to oppress us—to feed and pamper a set of infamous wretches, who swarm like the locusts of Egypt; and some of them expect to revel in wealth and riot on the spoils of our country.—Is it a time for us to sleep when our free government is essentially changed, and a new one is forming upon a quite different system? A government without the least dependence upon the people: A government under the absolute control of a minister of state; upon whose sovereign dictates is to depend not only the time when, and the place where, the legislative assembly shall sit, but whether it shall sit at all: And if it is allowed to meet, it shall be liable immediately to be thrown out of existence, if in any one point it fails in obedience to his arbitrary mandates. Have we not already seen specimens of what we are to expect under such a government, in the instructions which Mr. Hutchinson has received, and which he has publicly avowed, and declared he is bound to obey?—By one, he is to refuse his assent to a tax-bill, unless the Commissioners of the Customs and other favorites are exempted: And if these may be freed from taxes by the order of a minister, may not all his tools and drudges, or any others who are subservient to his designs, expect the same indulgence? By another he is to forbid to pass a grant of the assembly to any agent, but one to whose election he has given his consent; which is in effect to put it out of our power to take the necessary and legal steps for the redress of those grievances which we suffer by the arts and machinations of ministers, and their minions here. What difference is there between the present state of this province, which in course will be the deplorable state of all America, and that of Rome, under the law before mentioned? The difference is only this, that they gave their formal consent to the change, which we have not yet done. But let us be upon our guard against even a negative submission ; for agreeable to the sentiments of a celebrated writer, who thoroughly understood his subject, if we are voluntarily silent, as the conspirators would have us to be, it will be considered as an approbation of the change. “By the fundamental laws of England, the two houses of parliament in concert with the King, exercise the legislative power: But if the two houses should be so infatuated, as to resolve to suppress their powers, and invest the King with the full and absolute government, certainly the nation would not suffer it.” And if a minister shall usurp the supreme and absolute government of America, and set up his instructions as laws in the colonies, and their Governors shall be so weak or so wicked, as for the sake of keeping their places, to be made the instruments in putting them in execution, who will presume to say that the people have not a right, or that it is not their indispensable duty to God and their Country, by all rational means in their power to Resist Them.

“Be firm, my friends, nor let Unmanly Sloth
Twine round your hearts indissoluble chains.
Ne’er yet by force was freedom overcome.
Unless Corruption first dejects the pride,
And guardian vigor of the free-born soul,
All crude attempts of violence are vain.

Determined, hold Your Independence;
for, that once destroyed,
Unfounded Freedom is a morning dream.”

The liberties of our Country, the freedom of our civil constitution are worth defending at all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair Inheritance from our worthy Ancestors: They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood; and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle; or be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men. Of the latter we are in most danger at present: Let us therefore be aware of it. Let us contemplate our forefathers and posterity; and resolve to maintain the rights bequeathed to us from the former, for the sake of the latter.—Instead of sitting down satisfied with the efforts we have already made, which is the wish of our enemies, the necessity of the times, more than ever, calls for our utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude and perseverance. Let us remember, that “if we suffer tamely a lawless attack upon our liberty, we encourage it, and involve others in our doom.” It is a very serious consideration, which should deeply impress our minds, that millions yet unborn may be the miserable sharers in the event.


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Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

This piece of literature is long, however it is well worth the read, keeping in mind it builds and gains expression as you read further and further, it gets better the further you read as it is laid out in sublime eloquence and common sense reasoning. For the record, I, like Robert Hall am also not a unitarian, nor am I a trinitarian for that matter.

If you can…

Imagine the awe, excitement, wonder and energy among the common people when the Bible was printed in English & other languages, where they could read it for themselves & learned how the state & clergy lied to them for centuries about what was contained there.

These people were lied to all of their lives as were their ancestors for as long as they could remember. They were exposed to the truth for the first time.

They were zealous, honest hearted, and full of the desire to learn more!

This is what led to the foundation of the United States of America during the period called “the Enlightenment”

I saw the same type of hunger for the truth among the church people of Haiti when I was there in ’78.

“There is, assuredly, no other country on earth in which Shakespeare and the Bible are held in such general high esteem,” wrote the German journalist Karl Knortz speaking of the United States of America in the 1880’s








[published In 1791.]

It may be proper just to remark, that the animadversions I have made on Mr. John Clayton’s Sermon did not arise from my conviction of there being anything even of plausibility in his reasonings, but from an apprehension that certain accidental and occasional prejudices might give some degree of weight to one of the weakest defenses of a bad cause that was ever undertaken. I have taken up more time in showing that there is no proper connection between the Unitarian doctrine and the principles of liberty than the subject may seem to require; but this will not be thought superfluous by those who recollect that that idea seems to be the great hinge of Mr. Clayton’s discourse, and that it appears amongst the orthodox part of the dissenters to have been productive already of unhappy effects. I shall only add, that these remarks would have appeared much sooner but for severe indisposition, and that I was induced to write them chiefly from a persuasion that they might perhaps, in the present instance, have somewhat of additional weight as coming from one who is not an Unitarian.


Sept. 17, 1791.

John Clayton’s ‘The duty of Christians to Magistrates’: a Sermon occasioned by the late Riots at Birmingham, preached at the King’s Weigh-house, East-Cheap, on Lord’s-day morning, July 24th, 1791. With a prefixed address to the public, intended to remove the reproach lately fallen on protestant dissenters. This sermon which led to a controversy, and provoked from Robert Hall his fine vindication of liberty, entitled ‘Christianity consistent with a Love of Freedom.’


Christianity consistent with a Love of Freedom’ was written when Rev. Robert Hall was twenty-seven years of age; and he never would consent to its re-publication. He continued to think the main principles correct and important; but he regarded the tone of animadversion as severe, sarcastic, and unbecoming. Three or four editions have, however, been printed surreptitiously; and one of them, which now lies before me, Is so complete an imitation of the original edition of 1791, as usually to escape detection.

This, though one of the earliest productions laid by Mr. Hall before the public, is, with the exception already adverted to, by no means calculated to deteriorate his reputation. It contains some powerful reasoning as well as some splendid passages, and the concluding four or five pages exhibit a fine specimen of that union of severe taste, and lofty genius, and noble sentiment, which is evinced, I think, more frequently in his compositions than in those of any other modern author.

I have no fear of incurring blame for having cancelled throughout the name of the individual against whom Mr. Hall’s strictures were leveled. Venerable for his age, and esteemed for his piety, who would now voluntarily cause him, or those who love him, a pang ?*

Royal Miljtary Academy,
June 1,1831.

* As the name is now pretty generally known, and the distance of the event removes all personal feelings, there appears no reason why it should be suppressed in the present edition. It is “The Reverend John Clayton,” at that time minister of the Weigh House, Eastcheap.—Publisher.

&c. &c.

This is a period distinguished for extraordinary occurrences, whether we contemplate the world under its larger divisions, or in respect to those smaller communities and parties, into which it is broken and divided. We have lately witnessed, with astonishment and regret, the attempts of a celebrated orator to overthrow the principles of freedom, which he had rendered himself illustrious by defending; as well as to cover with reproach the characters of those by whom, in the earlier part of life, he was most caressed and distinguished. The success of these efforts is pretty generally known, and is such as it might have been expected would have been sufficient to deter from similar attempts. But we now behold a dissenting minister coming forth to the public under the character of a flatterer of power, and an accuser of his brethren. If the splendid eloquence that adorns every part of Mr. Burke’s celebrated book cannot shelter the author from confutation, and his system from contempt, Mr. Clayton, with talents far inferior, has but little to expect in the same cause. It is not easy to conceive the motives which could impel him to publish his sermon. From his own account it should seem he was anxious to disabuse the legislature, and to convince them there are many amongst the dissenters who highly disapprove the sentiments and conduct of the more patriotic part of their brethren. How far he may be qualified from his talents or connections, as a mouth, to declare the sentiments of any considerable portion of the dissenters, I shall not pretend to decide; but shall candidly confess, there are not wanting amongst us persons who are ready upon all occasions to oppose those principles on which the very existence of our dissent is founded. Every party will have its apostates of this kind; it is our consolation, however, that their numbers are comparatively small, that they are generally considered as our reproach, and that their conduct is in a great measure the effect of necessity, as they consist almost entirely of persons who can only make themselves heard by confusion and discord. If our author wishes to persuade the legislature the friends of arbitrary power are conspicuous for their number or their rank in the dissenting interest, he has most effectually defeated his own intentions, as scarce anything could give them a meaner opinion of that party, in both these respects, than this publication of its champion. The sermon he has obtruded upon the public is filled with paradoxes of so singular a complexion, and so feebly supported, that I find it difficult to lay hold of anything in the form of argument, with sufficient steadiness for the purpose of discussion.

I shall endeavour, however, with as much distinctness as I am able, to select the fundamental principles on which the discourse rests, and shall attempt, as I proceed, to demonstrate their falsehood and danger.

Our author’s favourite maxim is the inconsistency of the Christian profession with political science, and the certain injury its spirit and temper must sustain from every kind of interference with the affairs of government. Political subjects he considers as falling within the peculiar province of the irreligious; ministers, in particular, he maintains, should ever observe, amidst the concussions of party, an entire neutrality; or if at any time they depart from their natural line of conduct, it should only be in defence of the measures of government, in allaying dissensions, and in convincing the people they are incompetent judges of their rights. These are the servile maxims that run through the whole of this extraordinary discourse; and, that I may give a kind of method to the following observations upon them, I shall show in the first place the relation Christianity bears to civil government, and its consistency with political discussion, as conducted either by ordinary Christians or ministers; in the next place, I shall examine some of the pretences on which the author founds his principles.

Editors Note: It is good to read this in conjunction with “Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God

Thomas Jefferson regarding God's Divine Will (Click to enlarge)

Thomas Jefferson regarding God’s Divine Will (Click to enlarge)

From Alex De Tocqueville who came to America in the 1830’s traveling here extensively. Afterwards he wrote about his experience in volumes called Democracy in America. Have not found all the sources of the original quotes here, some are found in Herald and Presbyter – Volume 93 from 1921 and attributed to Tocqueville. I have put ? marks after those.

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 I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this new state of things.

In France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. But in America I found they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country.

Religion in America…must 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 it. 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 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 a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society.

In the United States, the sovereign authority is religious…there is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men 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 powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.

In the United States, the influence of religion is not confined to the manners, but it extends to the intelligence of the people…

Christianity, therefore, reigns without obstacle, by universal consent…

I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors…; in her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution.?

Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.?

America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.? Catalog of Copyright Entries. Third Series: 1953: January-June By Library of Congres

The safeguard of morality is religion, and morality is the best security of law as well as the surest pledge of freedom.

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

Christianity is the companion of liberty in all its conflicts — the cradle of its infancy, and the divine source of its claims.

Section I.

On the Duty of common Christians in Relation to Civil Polity.

The momentous errors Mr. Clayton has committed appear to me to have arisen from an inattention to the proper design of Christianity, and the place and station it was intended to occupy. On this subject I beg the reader’s attention to the following remarks:—

1st. Christianity was subsequent to the existence and creation of man. It is an institution intended to improve and ennoble our nature, not by subverting its constitution or its powers, but by giving us a more enlarged view of the designs of Providence, and opening a prospect into eternity. As the existence of man is not to be dated from the publication of Christianity, so neither is that order of things that flows from his relation to the present world altered or impaired by that divine system of religion. Man, under the Christian dispensation, is not a new structure erected on the ruin of the former; he may rather be compared to an ancient fabric restored, when it had fallen into decay, and beautified afresh by the hand of its original founder. Since Christianity has made its appearance in the world, he has continued the same kind of being he was before, fills the same scale in the order of existence, and is distinguished by the same propensities and powers.

In short, Christianity is not a reorganization of the principles of man, but an institution for his improvement. Hence it follows, that whatever rights are founded on the constitution of human nature, cannot be diminished or impaired by the introduction of revealed religion, which occupies itself entirely on the interests of a future world, and takes no share in the concerns of the present in any other light than as it is a state of preparation and trial. Christianity is a discovery of a future life, and acquaints us with the means by which its happiness may be secured; civil government is altogether an affair of the present state, and is no more than a provision of human skill, designed to ensure freedom and tranquility during our continuance on this temporary stage of existence. Between institutions so different in their nature and their object, it is plain no real opposition can subsist; and if ever they are represented in this light, or held inconsistent with each other, it must proceed from an ignorance of their respective genius and functions. Our relation to this world demands the existence of civil government; our relation to a future renders us dependent on the aid of the Christian institution; so that in reality there is no kind of contrariety between them, but each may continue without interference in its full operation. Mr. Clayton, however, in support of his absurd and pernicious tenets, always takes care to place civil government and Christianity in opposition, whilst he represents the former as carrying in it somewhat antichristian and profane. Thus he informs us, that civil government is a stage, erected on which, man acts out his character, and shows great depravity of heart. All interference in political parties he styles an alliance with the world, a neglecting to maintain our separation, and to stand upon our own hallowed ground. There is one way, says he, by which he means to insinuate there is only one, in which you may all interfere in the government of your country, and that is by prayer to God, by whom kings reign. These passages imply that the principles of civil polity and religion must be at perpetual variance, as without this supposition, unsupported as it is in fact, they can have no force or meaning.

2nd. Mr. Clayton misleads his reader by not distinguishing the innocent entertainments or social duties of our nature from those acts of piety which fall within the immediate province of Christianity.

The employments of our particular calling, the social ties and endearments of life, the improvement of the mind by liberal inquiry, and the cultivation of science and of art, form, it is true, no part of the Christian system, for they flourished before it was known; but they are intimately connected with the happiness and dignity of the human race. A Christian should act ever consistent with his profession, but he need not always be attending to the peculiar duties of it. The profession of religion does not oblige us to relinquish any undertaking on account of its being worldly, for we must then go out of the world; it is sufficient, that everything in “which we engage is of such a nature as will not violate the principles of virtue, or occupy so much of our time or attention as may interfere with more sacred and important duties.

Mr. Clayton observes, Jesus Christ uniformly waived interesting himself in temporal affairs, especially in the concerns of the then existing government; and hence he draws a precedent to regulate the conduct of his followers. That our Saviour did not intermeddle with the policy of nations I am as willing as our author to admit; for the improvement of this, any more than any other science which might be extremely short and defective, formed no part of his mission, and was besides rendered quite unnecessary by that energy of mind which, prompted by curiosity, by our passions and our wants, will ever be abundantly sufficient to perpetuate and refine every civil or human institution. He never intended that his followers, on becoming Christians, should forget they were men, or consider themselves as idle or uninterested spectators on the great theatre of life. The author’s selection of proofs is almost always unhappy, but in no instance more than the present, when he attempts to establish his doctrine of the unlawfulness of a Christian interfering in the administration of government on our Saviour’s silence respecting it, a circumstance of itself sufficient to support a quite contrary conclusion; for if it had been his intention to discountenance the study of political subjects, he would have furnished us, without doubt, with some general regulations, some stated form of policy, which should forever preclude the necessity of such discussion; or, if that were impracticable, have let us into the great secret of living without government; or, lastly, have supplied its place by a theocracy similar to that of the Jews. Nothing of this has he accomplished, and we may therefore rest assured the political affairs of nations are suffered to remain in their ancient channels, and to be conducted as occasions may arise, by Christians or by others, without distinction.

The principles of freedom ought, in a more peculiar manner, to be cherished by Christians, because they alone can secure that liberty of conscience, and freedom of inquiry, which is essential to the proper discharge of the duties of their profession. A full toleration of religious opinions, and the protection of all parties in their respective modes of worship, are the natural operations of a free government; and everything that tends to check or restrain them, materially affects the interests of religion. Aware of the force of religious belief over the mind of man, of the generous independence it inspires, and of the eagerness with which it is cherished and maintained, it is towards this quarter the arm of despotism first directs its attacks, while through every period the imaginary right of ruling the conscience has been the earliest assumed, and the latest relinquished. Under this conviction, an enlightened Christian, when he turns his attention to political occurrences, will rejoice in beholding every advance towards freedom in the government of nations, as it forms not only a barrier to the encroachments of tyranny, but a security to the diffusion and establishment of truth. A considerable portion of personal freedom may be enjoyed, it is true, under a despotic government, or, in other words, a great part of human actions may be left uncontrolled; but with this an enlightened mind will never rest satisfied, because it is at best but an indulgence flowing from motives of policy, or the lenity of the prince, which may be at any time withdrawn by the hand that bestowed it. Upon the same principles, religious toleration may have an accidental and precarious existence in states whose policy is the most arbitrary; but, in such a situation, it seldom lasts long, and can never rest upon a secure and permanent basis, disappearing for the most part along with those temporary views of interest or policy, on which it was founded. The history of every age will attest the truth of this observation.

Mr. Clayton, in order to prepare us to digest his principles, tells us in the first page of his discourse, that the gospel dispensation is spiritual, the worship it enjoins simple and easy, and if liberty of conscience be granted, all its exterior order may be regarded under every kind of human government. This is very true, but it is saying no more than that the Christian worship may be always carried on, if it is not interrupted; a point, I presume, no one will contend with him. The question is, can every form of government furnish a security for liberty of conscience; or, which is the same thing, can the rights of private judgment be safe under a government whose professed principle is, that the subject has no rights at all, but is a vassal dependent on his superior lord. Nor is this a futile or chimerical question; it is founded upon fact. The state to which it alludes is the condition at present of more than half the nations of Europe; and if there were no better patriots than this author, it would soon be the condition of them all. The blessings which we estimate highly we are naturally eager to perpetuate, and whoever is acquainted with the value of religious freedom, will not be content to suspend it on the clemency of a prince, the indulgence of ministers, or ,.he liberality of bishops, if ever such a thing existed; he will never think it secure till it has a constitutional basis; nor even then, till by the general spread of its principles, every individual becomes its guarantee, and every arm ready to be lifted up in its defence. Forms of policy may change, or they may survive the spirit that produced them; but when the seeds of knowledge have been once sown, and have taken root in the human mind, they will advance with a steady growth, and even flourish in those alarming scenes of anarchy and confusion, in which the settled order and regular machinery of government are wrecked and disappear.

Christianity, we see, then, instead of weakening our attachment to the principles of freedom, or withdrawing them from our attention, renders them doubly dear to us, by giving us an interest in them, proportioned to the value of those religious privileges which they secure and protect.

Our author [Clayton] endeavours to cast reproach on the advocates for liberty, by attempting to discredit their piety, for which purpose he assures us, to be active in this cause is disreputable, and brings the reality of our religion into just suspicion. Who are the persons, he asks, that embark? Are they the spiritual, humble, and useful teachers, who travail in birth, till Christ be formed in the hearts of their hearers? No. They are philosophical opposers of the grand peculiarities of Christianity. It is of little consequence of what descriptions of persons the friends of freedom consist, provided their principles are just, and their arguments well founded; but here, as in other places, the author displays an utter ignorance of facts. Men who know no age but their own, must draw their precedents from it; or, if Mr. Clayton had glanced only towards the history of England, he must have remembered, that in the reigns of Charles the First and Second, the chief friends of freedom were the puritans, of whom many were republicans, and the remainder zealously attached to a limited monarchy [i.e. Limited Government]. It is to the distinguished exertions of this party we are in a great measure indebted for the preservation of our free and happy constitution. In those distracted and turbulent times which preceded the restoration of Charles the Second, the puritans, who to a devotion the most fervent united an eager attachment to the doctrines of grace, as they are commonly called, displayed on every occasion a love of freedom, pushed almost to excess; whilst the cavaliers, their opponents, who ridiculed all that was serious, and, if they had any religion at all, held sentiments directly repugnant to the tenets of Calvin, were the firm supporters of arbitrary power. If the unitarians, then, are at present distinguished for their zeal in the cause of freedom, it cannot be imputed to any alliance between their religious and political opinions, but to the conduct natural to a minority, who, attempting bold innovations, and maintaining sentiments very different from those which are generally held, are sensible they can only shelter themselves from persecution and reproach, and gain an impartial hearing from the public, by throwing down the barriers of prejudice, and claiming an unlimited freedom of thought.

4th. Though Christianity does not assume any immediate direction in the affairs of government, it inculcates those duties, and recommends that spirit, which will ever prompt us to cherish the principles of freedom. It teaches us to check every selfish passion, to consider ourselves as parts of a great community, and to abound in all the fruits of an active benevolence. The particular operation of this principle will be regulated by circumstances as they arise, but our obligation to cultivate it is clear and indubitable. As this author does not pretend that the nature of a government has no connection with the felicity of those who are the subjects of it, he cannot without the utmost inconsistence deny, that to watch over the interests of our fellow creatures in this respect is a branch of the great duty of social benevolence. If we are bound to protect a neighbour, or even an enemy, from violence, to give him raiment when he is naked, or food when he is hungry, much more ought we to do our part toward the preservation of a free government; the only basis on which the enjoyment of these blessings can securely rest. He who breaks the fetters of slavery, and delivers a nation from thraldom, forms, in my opinion, the noblest comment on the great law of love, whilst he distributes the greatest blessing which man can receive from man; but next to that is the merit of him, who in times like the present, watches over the edifice of public liberty, repairs its foundations, and strengthens its cement, when he beholds it hastening to decay.

It is not in the power of every one, it is true, to benefit his age or country, in this distinguished manner, and accordingly it is nowhere expressly commanded; but where this ability exists, it is not diminished by our embracing Christianity, which consecrates every talent to the public good. On whomsoever distinguished endowments are bestowed, as Christians we ought to rejoice when, instead of being wasted in vain or frivolous pursuits, we behold them employed on objects of the greatest general concern; amongst which those principles of freedom will ever be reckoned, which determine the destiny of nations, and the collective felicity of the human race.

5th. Our author [Clayton] expresses an ardent desire for the approach of that period when all men will be Christians. I have no doubt that this event will take place, and rejoice in the prospect of it; but whenever it arrives, it will be fatal to Mr. Clayton’s favourite principles; for the professors of Christianity must then become politicians, as the wicked, on whom he at present very politely devolves the business of government, will be no more: or, perhaps he indulges a hope, that even then, there will be a sufficient number of sinners left to conduct political affairs, especially as wars will then cease, and social life be less frequently disturbed by rapine and injustice. It will still, however, be a great hardship, that a handful of the wicked should rule innumerable multitudes of the just, and cannot fail, according to our present conceptions, to operate as a kind of check on piety and virtue. How Mr. Clayton will settle this point I cannot pretend to say, except he imagines men will be able to subsist without any laws or civil regulations, or intends to revive the long-exploded tradition of Papias [Bishop of Hierapolis, and author of the Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord in five books], respecting the personal reign.

Had Christianity been intended only for the benefit of a few, or as the distinction of a small fraternity, there might have been some pretense for setting its profession in opposition to human policy, since it might then have been conducted without their interference; but a religion which is formed for the whole world, and will finally be embraced by all its inhabitants, can never be clogged with any such impediment as would render it repugnant to the social existence of mankind.

Section II.

On the Duty of Ministers in Respect to Civil Polity.

Mr. Clayton is extremely severe upon those of his brethren, who, forsaking the quiet duties of their profession as he styles them, have dared to interfere in public affaire. This he considers a most flagrant offence, an alarming departure from their proper province; and in the fulness of his rage he heaps upon them every epithet which contempt or indignation can suggest; calls them meddling, convivial, political ministers, devoid of all seriousness and dignity. It is rather extraordinary, this severe correction should be administered by a man who is, at that moment, guilty of the offence he is chastising; reproaches political preachers in a political sermon; ridicules theories of government, and at the same time advances one of his own, a most wretched one indeed, but delivered in a tone the most arrogant and decisive. It is not political discussion then, it seems, that has ruffled the gentle serenity of our author’s temper; for he too, we see, can bend, when it pleases him, from his spiritual elevation, and let fall his oracular responses on the duty of subjects and of kings. But the persons on whom he denounces his anathemas have presumed to adopt a system of politics inconsistent with his own, and it is less his piety than his pride that is shocked and offended. Instead of submitting to be molded by any adept in cringes, and posture-master of servility, they have dared to assume the bold and natural port of freemen.

It will be unnecessary to say much on the duty of ministers, in respect to political affairs, as many of the reflections which this subject would suggest have been already advanced under a former head. A few considerations, however, present themselves here, to which I shall beg the reader’s attention.

The duties of the ministerial character, it will on all hands be confessed, are of a nature the most sacred and important. To them should be directed the first and chief attention of every person who sustains it, and whatever is found to interfere with these momentous engagements, should be relinquished as criminal and improper. But there is no profession which occupies the mind so fully as not to leave many intervals of leisure, in which objects that lie out of its immediate province will have a share of our attention; and I see not why these periods of recess may not be employed with as much dignity and advantage, in acquiring an acquaintance with the principles of government, as wasted in frivolous amusements, or an inactive indolence. Mr. Clayton, with his usual confidence, lays it down as a maxim, that the science of politics cannot be cultivated without a neglect of ministerial duties; and one would almost be tempted to suppose he had published his sermon as a confirmation of this remark; for a more striking example of political ignorance in a teacher of religion, has scarcely ever been exhibited. As far, therefore, as the preacher himself is concerned, the observation will be admitted in its full force; but he has surely no right to make his own weakness the standard of another’s strength.

Political science, as far as it falls under our present contemplation, may be considered in two points of view. It may either intend a discussion of the great objects for which governments are formed, or it may intend a consideration of the means which may be employed, and the particular contrivances that may be fallen upon to accomplish those objects. For example, in vindicating the revolution of France, two distinct methods may be pursued with equal propriety and success. It may be defended upon its principles against the friends of arbitrary power, by displaying the value of freedom, the equal rights of mankind, the folly and injustice of those regal or aristocratic pretensions by which those rights were invaded; accordingly, in this light it has been justified with the utmost success. Or it may be defended upon its expedients, by exhibiting the elements of government which it has composed, the laws it has enacted, and the tendency of both to extend and perpetuate that liberty which is its ultimate object. But though each of these modes of discussion fall within the province of politics, it is obvious the degree of inquiry, of knowledge, and of labour they require, differs widely. The first is a path which has been often and successfully trod, turns upon principles which are common to all times and places, and which demand little else to enforce conviction, than calm and dispassionate attention. The latter method, involving a question of expediency, not of right, would lead into a vast field of detail, would require a thorough acquaintance with the situation of persons and of things, as well as long and intimate acquaintance with human affairs. There are but few ministers who have capacity or leisure to become great practical politicians. To explore the intricacies of commercial science, to penetrate the refinements of negotiation, to determine with certainty and precision the balance of power, are undertakings, it will be confessed, which lie very remote from the ministerial department; but the principles of government, as it is a contrivance for securing the freedom and happiness of men, may be acquired with great ease.

These principles our ancestors understood well, and it would be no small shame if, in an age which boasts so much light and improvement as the present, they were less familiar to us. There is no class of men to whom this species of knowledge is so requisite, on several accounts, as dissenting ministers. The jealous policy of the establishment forbids our youth admission into the celebrated seats of learning; our own seminaries, at least till lately, were almost entirely confined to candidates for the ministry; and as on both these accounts, amongst us, the intellectual improvement of our religious teachers rises superior to that of private Christians, in a greater degree than in the national church, the influence of their opinions is wider in proportion. Disclaiming, as they do, all pretensions to dominion, their public character, their professional leisure, the habits of study and composition which they acquire, concur to point them out as the natural guardians, in some measure, of our liberties and rights. Besides, as they are appointed to teach the whole compass of social duty, the mutual obligations of rulers and subjects will of necessity fall under their notice; and they cannot explain or enforce the reasons of submission, without displaying the proper end of government, and the expectations we may naturally form from it; which, when accurately done, will lead into the very depths of political science.

There is another reason, however, distinct from any I have yet mentioned, flowing from the nature of an established religion, why dissenting ministers, above all men, should be well skilled in the principles of freedom. Wherever, as in England, religion is established by law with splendid emoluments and dignities annexed to its profession, the clergy, who are candidates for these distinctions, will ever be prone to exalt the prerogative, not only in order to strengthen the arm on which they lean, but that they may the more successfully ingratiate themselves in the favour of the prince, by flattering those ambitious views and passions which are too readily entertained by persons possessed of supreme power. The boasted alliance between church and state, on which so many encomiums [Tributes: speeches or pieces of writing that praises someone or something highly] have been lavished, seems to have been little more than a compact between the priest and the magistrate, to betray the liberties of mankind, both civil and religious. To this the clergy, on their part at least, have continued steady, shunning inquiry, fearful of change, blind to the corruptions of government, skilful to discern the signs of the times, and eager to improve every opportunity, and to employ all their art and eloquence to extend the prerogative and smooth the approaches of arbitrary power. Individuals are illustrious exceptions to this censure; it however applies to the body, to none more than to those whose exalted rank and extensive influence determine its complexion and spirit. In this situation, the leaders of that church, in their fatal attempt to recommend and embellish a slavish system of principles, will, I trust, be ever carefully watched and opposed by those who hold a similar station amongst the dissenters; that, at all events, there may remain one asylum to which insulted freedom may retire unmolested. These considerations are sufficient to justify every dissenting minister in well-timed exertions for the public cause, and from them we may learn what opinion to entertain of Mr. Clayton’s weak and malignant invectives.

From the general strain of his discourse, it would be natural to conclude he was an enemy to every interference of ministers on political occasions; but this is not the case. Ministers, says he, may interfere as peace-makers, and by proper methods should counteract the spirit of faction raised by persons who seem born to vex the state. After having taught them to remain in a quiet neutrality, he invests them all at once with the high character of arbiters between the contending parties, without considering that an office of so much delicacy would demand a most intimate acquaintance with the pretensions of both. Ministers, it should seem, instead of declining political interference, are to become such adepts in the science of government, as to distinguish with precision the complaints of an oppressed party from the clamors of a faction, to hold the balance between the ruler and the subject with a steady hand, and to point out on every occasion, and counteract the persons who are born to vex the state. If any should demand by what means they are to furnish themselves for such extraordinary undertakings, he will learn that it is not by political investigation or inquiry this profound skill is to be attained, but by a studied inattention and neglect; of which this author, it must be confessed, has given his disciples a most edifying example in his first essay. There is something miraculous in these endowments. This battle is not to the strong, nor these riches to men of understanding. Our author goes a step farther, for when he is in the humour for concessions no man can be more liberal. So far as revolutions, says he, are parts of God’s plan of government, a Christian is not to hinder such changes in states as promise an increase of happiness to mankind. But nowhere in the New Testament can a Christian find countenance in becoming a forward active man in regenerating the civil constitutions of nations. A Christian is not to oppose revolutions, as far as they are parts of God’s plan of government. The direction which oracles afford has ever been complained of for its obscurity; and this of Mr. Clayton, though no doubt it is fraught with the profoundest wisdom, would have been more useful, had it furnished some criterion to distinguish those transactions which are parts of God’s plan of government. We have hitherto imagined the elements of nature, and the whole agency of man, are comprehended within the system of Divine Providence; but, as in this sense everything becomes a part of the divine plan, it cannot be his meaning. Perhaps he means to confine the phrase of God’s plan of government to that portion of human agency which is consistent with the divine will and promises, or, as he says, with an increase of happiness to mankind. If this should be his intention, the sentiment is just, but utterly subversive of the purpose for which it is introduced, as it concurs with the principle of all reformers in leaving us no other direction in these cases than reason and experience, determined in their exertions by a regard to the general happiness of mankind. On this basis the wildest projectors profess to erect their improvements. On this principle, too, do the dissenters proceed, when they call for a repeal of the test act, when they lament the unequal representation of parliament, when they wish to see a period to ministerial corruption, and to the encroachments of an hierarchy equally servile and oppressive; and thus, by one unlucky concession, this author has admitted the ground-work of reform in its fullest extent, and has demolished the whole fabric he was so eager to rear. He must not be offended if principles thus corrupt, and thus feebly supported, should meet with the contempt they deserve, but must seek his consolation in his own adage, as the correction of folly is certainly apart of God’s plan of government. The reader can be at no loss to determine whom the author intends by a busy active man in regenerating the civil constitutions of nations. The occasion of the sermon, and complexion of its sentiments, concur in directing us to Dr. Priestley, a person whom the author [Clayton] seems to regard with a more than odium theologicum [i.e. theological hatred], with a rancor exceeding the measure even of his profession. The religious tenets of Dr. Priestley appear to me erroneous in the extreme; but I should be sorry to suffer any difference of sentiment to diminish my sensibility to virtue, or my admiration of genius. From him the poisoned arrow will fall pointless. His enlightened and active mind, his unwearied assiduity, the extent of his researches, the light he has poured into almost every department of science, will be the admiration of that period, when the greater part of those who have favoured, or those who have opposed him, will be alike forgotten. Distinguished merit will ever rise superior to oppression, and will draw luster from reproach. The vapours which gather round the rising sun, and follow it in its course, seldom fail at the close of it to form a magnificent theatre for its reception, and to invest with variegated tints, and with a softened effulgence, the luminary which they cannot hide. [NOTE: Whether or not the beautiful passage in the text was suggested by a floating vague recollection of the following lines of Pope, or were an avowed imitation of them, cannot now be determined. But be this as it may, I think it will be readily admitted that the rhythm and harmony of the passage in prose are decidedly superior to those in the lines of the poet:—

“Envy will merit, as its shade, pursue,
But, like a shadow, prove the substance true:
For envied wit, like Sol [the Sun] eclips’d, makes known
Th’ opposing body’s grossness, not its own.
When first that sun too powerful beams displays,
It draws up vapours which obscure its rays:
But e’en those clouds at last adorn its way,
Reflect new glories, and augment the day.”—Editor.]

It is a pity, however, our author [Clayton], in reproaching characters so illustrious, was not a little more attentive to facts; for unfortunately for him, Dr. Priestley has not in any instance displayed that disaffection to government with which he has been charged so wantonly. In his Lectures on History, and his Essay on Civil Government, which of all his publications fall most properly within the sphere of politics, he has delineated the British constitution with great accuracy, and has expressed his warm admiration of it as the best system of policy the sagacity of man has been able to contrive. In his Familiar Letters to the Inhabitants of Birmingham, a much later work, where the seeds of that implacable dislike were scattered which produced the late riots, he has renewed that declaration, and has informed us, that he has been pleasantly ridiculed by his friends as being an unitarian in religion, and a trinitarian in politics. He has lamented, indeed, in common with every enlightened citizen, the existence of certain corruptions, which, being gradually introduced into the constitution, have greatly impaired its vigour; but in this he has had the honour of being followed by the prime minister himself, who began his career by proposing a reform in parliament, merely to court popularity it is true, at a time when it would not have been so safe for him to insult the friends of freedom after having betrayed their interest, as he has since found it.

Dr. Priestley has, moreover, defended with great ability and success the principles of our dissent, exposing, as the very nature of the undertaking demands, the folly and injustice of all clerical usurpations; and on this account, if on no other, he is entitled to the gratitude of his brethren. In addition to this catalogue of crimes, he has ventured to express his satisfaction on the liberation of France; an event which, promising a firmer establishment to liberty than any recorded in the annals of the world, is contemplated by the friends of arbitrary power throughout every kingdom of Europe with the utmost concern. These are the demerits of Dr. Priestley, for which this political astrologist and sacred calculator of nativities pronounces upon him that he is born to vex the state. The best apology candour can suggest, will be to hope Mr. Clayton has never read Dr. Priestley’s political works; a conjecture somewhat confirmed from his disclaiming all attention to political theories, and from the extreme ignorance he displays through the whole of his discourse on political topics. Still it is to be wished he would have condescended to understand what he means to confute, if it had been only to save himself the trouble and disgrace of this publication.

The manner in which he speaks of the Birmingham riots, and the cause to which he traces them, are too remarkable to pass unnoticed.

When led, says he, speaking of the sufferers, by officious zeal, from the quiet duties of their profession into the Senator’s province: unhallowed boisterous passions in others, like their own, God may permit to chastise them. For my own part I was some time before I could develope this extraordinary passage; but I now find the darkness in which it is veiled is no more than that mystic sublimity which has always tinctured the language of those who are appointed to interpret the counsels of heavens.

I would not have Mr. Clayton deal too freely in these visions, lest the fire and illumination of the prophet should put out the reason of the man, a caution the more necessary in the present instance, as it glimmers so feebly already in several parts of his discourse, that its extinction would not be at all extraordinary. We are, no doubt, much obliged to him for letting us into a secret we could never have learned any other way. We thank him heartily for informing us that the Birmingham riots were a judgment; and, as we would wish to be grateful for such an important communication, we would whisper in his ear in return, that he should be particularly careful not to suffer this itch of prophesying to grow upon him, men being extremely apt, in this degenerate age, to mistake a prophet for a madman, and to lodge them in the same place of confinement. The best use he could make of his mantle would be to bequeath it to the use of posterity, as for the want of it I am afraid they will be in danger of falling into some very unhappy mistakes. To their unenlightened eyes it will appear a reproach, that in the eighteenth century, an age that boasts its science and improvement, the first philosopher in Europe, of a character unblemished, and of manners the most mild and gentle, should be torn from his family, and obliged to flee an outcast and a fugitive from the murderous bands of a frantic rabble; but when they learn that there were not wanting teachers of religion, who secretly triumphed in these barbarities, they will pause for a moment, and imagine they are reading the history of Goths or of Vandals. Erroneous as such a judgment must appear in the eyes of Mr. Clayton, nothing but a ray of his supernatural light could enable us to form a more just decision. Dr. Priestley and his friends are not the first that have suffered in a public cause; and when we recollect, that those who have sustained similar disasters have been generally conspicuous for a superior sanctity of character, what but an acquaintance with the counsels of heaven can enable us to distinguish between these two classes of sufferers, and, whilst one are the favourites of God, to discern in the other the objects of his vengeance? When we contemplate this extraordinary endowment, we are no longer surprised at the superiority he assumes through the whole of his discourse, nor at that air of confusion and disorder which appears in it; both of which we impute to his dwelling so much in the insufferable light, and amidst the coruscations and flashes of the divine glory; a sublime but perilous situation, described with great force and beauty by Mr. Gray:

“He passed the flaming bounds of place and time:
The living throne, the sapphire blaze,
Where angels tremble while they gaze.
He saw; but blasted with excess of light,
Closed his eyes in endless night”

Section III.

On the Pretenses Mr. Clayton advances in favour of his Principles.

Having endeavoured to justify the well-timed exertions of Christians and of ministers, in the cause of freedom, it may not be improper to examine a little more particularly under what pretences Mr. Clayton presumes to condemn this conduct.

The first that naturally presents itself, is drawn from those passages of Scripture in which the design of civil government is explained, and the duty of submission to civil authority is enforced. That on which the greatest stress is laid, is found in the thirteenth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans. “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers; for there is no power but of God: the powers which be, are ordained of God. Whoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist, shall receive unto themselves damnation. The Ruler is the Minister of God to thee for good. But if thou doest that which is evil, be afraid, for he beareth not the sword in vain. Wherefore ye must be subject, not only for wrath, but conscience sake.” This passage, which, from the time of Sir Robert Filmer to the present day, has been the stronghold of the doctrine of passive obedience and non-resistance, will admit of an easy solution, by attending to the nature of Christianity, and the circumstances of its professors, during the period in which it was written. The extraordinary privileges and dignity conferred by the Gospel on believers, must have affected the minds of the first Christians, just emerging from the shades of ignorance, and awakened to new hopes, with singular force. Feeling an elevation to which they were strangers before, and looking down upon the world around them as the vassals of sin and Satan, they might be easily tempted to imagine the restraint of laws could not extend to persons so highly privileged, and that it was ignominious in the free men of Jesus Christ to submit to the yoke of idolatrous rulers. Natural to their situation as these sentiments might be, none could be conceived more detrimental to the credit and propagation of a rising religion, or more likely to draw down upon its professors the whole weight of the Roman Empire, with which they were in no condition to contend. In this situation, it was proper for the apostle to remind Christians, their religion did not interfere with the rights of princes, or diminish their obligation to attend to those salutary regulations which are established for the protection of innocence and the punishment of the guilty. That this only was the intention of the writer, may be inferred from the considerations he adduces to strengthen his advice. He does not draw his arguments for submission from anything peculiar to the Christian system, as he must have done, had he intended to oppose that religion to the natural rights of mankind, but from the utility and necessity of civil restraints.

“The Ruler is the Minister of God to thee for good,” is the reason he urges for submission. Civil government, as if he had said, is a salutary institution, appointed to restrain and punish outrage and injustice, but exhibiting to the quiet and inoffensive nothing of which they need to be afraid. “If thou doest that which is evil, be afraid, for he beareth not the sword in vain.” He is an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Christians were not to consider themselves privileged above their fellow-citizens, as their religion conferred upon them no civil immunities, but left them subject to all the ties and restraints, whatever they were, which could be justly imposed by the civil power on any other part of mankind.

The limits of every duty must be determined by its reasons, and the only ones assigned here, or that can be assigned for submission to civil authority, are its tendency to do good; wherever therefore this shall cease to be the case, submission becomes absurd, having no longer any rational view. But at what time this evil shall be judged to have arrived, or what remedy it may be proper to apply, Christianity does not decide, but leaves to be determined by an appeal to natural reason and right. By one of the strangest misconceptions in the world, when we are taught that Christianity does not bestow upon us any new rights, it has been thought to strip us of our old; which is just the same as it would be to conclude, because it did not first furnish us with hands or feet, it obliges us to cut them off.

Under every form of government, that civil order which affords protection to property, and tranquillity to individuals, must be obeyed; and I have no doubt, that before the revolution in France, they who are now its warmest admirers, had they lived there, would have yielded a quiet submission to its laws, as being conscious the social compact can only be considered as dissolved by an expression of the general will. In the mean time, they would have continued firm in avowing the principles of freedom, and by the diffusion of political knowledge, have endeavoured to train and prepare the minds of their fellow-citizens for accomplishing a change so desirable.

It is not necessary to enter into a particular examination of the other texts adduced by Mr. Clayton in support of his sentiments, as this in Romans is by much the most to his purpose, and the remarks that have been made upon it may, with very little alteration, be applied to the rest. He refers us to the second chapter of the first Epistle of Peter. “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake; whether it be to the king as supreme, or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him, for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well.” Here it is sufficient to remark, all that can be inferred from this passage is, that Christians are not to hold themselves exempt from the obligation of obedience on account of their religion, but are to respect legislation as far as it is found productive of benefit in social life.

With still less propriety, he urges the first of Timothy, where, in the second chapter, we are “exhorted to supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks for all men, for kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty.” I am unacquainted with any who refuse a compliance with this apostolical admonition, except the nonjurors may be reckoned of this class, whose political sentiments are of a piece with our author’s.

Whilst he pleads with so much eagerness for the duty of passive obedience, we are not, however, to suppose, he wishes to extend it to all mankind. He admits, that society, under the wisest regulations, will degenerate, and there will be periods when associated bodies must be resolved again into their first principles. All resistance to authority, every revolution, is not in his own opinion criminal; it is Christians only, who are never to have a share in these transactions, never to assert their rights. With what different sentiments did the apostle of the Gentiles contemplate his character, when disdaining to accept a clandestine dismission from an unjust imprisonment, he felt a glow of indignant pride burn upon his cheek, and exclaimed with a Roman energy, “I was free born!”

2nd. Another reason which this author [Clayton] assigns for a blind deference to civil authority is, that Christianity is distinct from and independent of human legislation. This principle no protestant dissenter will be inclined to question, but, instead of lending any support to the system of passive obedience, it will overturn it from its foundation; for if religion be really distinct from, and independent of, human legislation, it cannot afford any standard to ascertain its limits; as the moment it is applied to this purpose, it ceases to be a thing distinct and independent. For example, it is not doubted that a Christian may lawfully engage in trade or commerce; but if it be asked why his profession does not interfere with such an undertaking, the proper reply will be, religion is a thing distinct and independent. Should it be again inquired, why a Christian may become a trader, yet must not commit a theft, we should answer, that this latter action is not a thing distinct, or independent of religion, but falls immediately under its cognizance, as a violation of its laws. Thus it appears, that whatever portion of human conduct is really independent of religion, is lawful for that very reason, and can then only become criminal or improper, when it is suffered to entrench upon more sacred or important duties. The truth is, between two institutions, such as civil government and religion, which have a separate origin and end, no opposition can subsist, but in the brain of a distempered enthusiast.

The author’s [Clayton’s] text confutes his doctrine, for had our Saviour annihilated our rights, he would have become a judge and divider over us, in the worst sense, if that could be said to be divided which is taken away. When any two institutions are affirmed to be distinct and independent, it can only mean, they do not interfere; but that must be a genius of no common size, who can infer from religion not interfering with the rights of mankind, that they cease to be, or that the patrimony, over which our Lord declined to exercise any authority, he has scattered and destroyed.

3rd. Similar to the last I have considered, is that pretence for excluding Christians from any concern in political affairs, taken from the conduct of our Saviour. Mr. Clayton tells us, that Christ uniformly waived interesting himself in the concerns of the then existing government; and to the same purpose he afterwards remarks, he always declined the functions of a civil magistrate.

The most careless reader will remark, the whole weight of this argument rests upon a supposition that it is unlawful for a Christian to sustain any other character in civil life, than that in which our Saviour literally appeared; a notion as extravagant as was ever nourished in the brain of the wildest fanatic. Upon this principle, he must have gone through such a succession of offices, and engaged in such an endless variety of undertakings, that in place of thirty-three years, he needed to have lived thirty-three centuries. On this ground the profession of physic is unlawful for a Christian, because our Lord never set up a dispensary; and that of Law, because he never pleaded at the bar. Next to the weakness of advancing such absurdity, is that of confuting it.

The author [Clayton], in proof of his political tenets, appeals to the devotional feelings of his hearers. “I ask you,” says he, “who make conscience of entering into your closets, and shutting your doors, and praying to your Father which seeth in secret; what subjects interest you most then? Are not factious passions hushed; the undue heat you felt in political disputation remembered with sorrow?” He must be at a great loss for argument, who will have recourse to such loose and flimsy declamation. When engaged in devout admiration of the Supreme Being, every other object will be lost in the comparison; but this, though the noblest employment of the mind, was never intended to shut out all other concerns.

The affections which unite us to the world have a large demand upon us, and must succeed in their turn. If everything is to be deemed criminal that does not interest the attention in the very moment of worship, political concerns are not the only ones to be abandoned, but every undertaking of a temporal nature, all labour and ingenuity must cease. Science herself must shroud her light. These are notions rather to be laughed at than confuted, for their extravagance will correct itself. Every attempt that has been made to rear religion on the ruins of nature, or to render it subversive of the economy of life, has hitherto proved unsuccessful, whilst the institutions that have flowed from it are now scarcely regarded in any other light than as humiliating monuments of human weakness and folly. The natural vigour of the mind, when it has once been opened by knowledge, and turned towards great and interesting objects, will always overpower the illusions of fanaticism; or, could Mr. Clayton’s principles be carried into effect, we should soon behold men returning again to the state of savages, and a more than monkish barbarity and ignorance would overspread the earth. That abstraction from the world it is his purpose to recommend, is in truth as inconsistent with the nature of religion, as with the state and condition of man; for Christianity does not propose to take us out of the world, but to preserve us from the pollutions which are in it.

It is easy to brand a passion for liberty with the odious [hateful] epithet of faction; no two things, however, can be more opposite. Faction is a combination of a few to oppress the liberties of many; the love of freedom is the impulse of an enlightened and presiding spirit, ever intent upon the welfare of the community, or body to which it belongs, and ready to give the alarm, when it beholds any unlawful conspiracy formed, whether it be of rulers or of subjects, with a design to oppress it. Every Tory upholds a faction; every Whig, as far as he is sincere and well informed, is a friend to the equal liberties of mankind. Absurd as the preacher’s appeal must appear, on such an occasion, to the devout feelings of his hearers, we have no need to decline it. In those solemn moments, factious passions cannot indeed be too much hushed, but that warmth which animates the patriot, which glowed in the breast of a Sidney or a Hampden, was never chilled, or diminished, we may venture to affirm, in its nearest approaches to the uncreated splendour; and if it mingled with their devotion at all, could not fail to infuse into it a fresh force and vigour, by drawing them into a closer assimilation to that great Being, who appears under the character of the avenger of the oppressed, and the friend and protector of the human race.

Lastly, the author [Clayton] endeavours to discredit the principles of freedom, by holding them up as intimately connected with the unitarian heresy. “We are not to be surprised,” he says, “if men who vacate the rule of faith in Jesus Christ, should be defective in deference and in obedient regards to men who are raised to offices of superior influence, for the purposes of civil order and public good.” The persons he has in view are the unitarians, and that my reader may be in full possession of this most curious argument, it may be proper to inform him, that an unitarian is a person who believes Jesus Christ had no existence till he appeared on our earth, whilst a trinitarian maintains, that he existed with the Father from all eternity. What possible connection can he discern between these opinions and the subject of government?

In order to determine whether the supreme power should be vested in king, lords, and commons, as in England, in an assembly of nobles, as in Venice, or in a house of representatives, as in America or France, must we first decide upon the person of Christ? I should imagine we might as well apply to astronomy first, to learn whether the earth flattens at the poles. He explains what he means by vacating the rule of faith in Christ, when he charges the unitarians with a partial denial at least, of the inspiration of the Scripture, particularly the Epistles of St. Paul. But however clear the inspiration of the Scriptures may be, as no one pleads for the inspiration of civil governors, the deference which is due to the first, as coming from God, can be no reason for an unlimited submission to the latter. Yet this is Mr. Clayton’s argument, and it runs thus. Every opposition to Scripture is criminal, because it is inspired, and therefore every resistance to temporal rulers is criminal, though they are not inspired.

The number of passages in Paul’s Epistles which treat of civil government is small; the principal of them have been examined, and whether they are inspired or not, has not the remotest relation to the question before us. The inspiration of an author adds weight to his sentiments, but makes no alteration in his meaning; and unless Mr. Clayton can show that Paul inculcates unlimited submission, the belief of his inspiration can yield no advantage to his cause. Amongst those parties of Christians who have maintained the inspiration of the Scriptures in its utmost extent, the number of such as have inferred from them the doctrine of passive obedience has been extremely small; it is, therefore, ridiculous to impute the rejection of this tenet by unitarians to a disbelief of plenary inspiration. It behooves Mr. Clayton to point out, if he is able, any one of the unitarians who ever imagined that Paul means to recommend unlimited obedience; for till that is the case, it is plain their political opinions cannot have arisen from any contempt of that apostle’s authority.

The knowledge and study of the Scriptures, far from favouring the pretensions of despotism, have almost ever diminished it, and been attended with a proportional increase of freedom. The union of Protestant princes preserved the liberties of the Germanic body when they were in danger of being overwhelmed by the victorious arm of Charles the Fifth; yet a veneration for the Scriptures, at a time when they had almost fallen into oblivion, and an appeal to their decisions in all points, was the grand characteristic of the new religion. If we look into Turkey, we shall find the least of that impatience under restraints which Mr. Clayton laments, of any place in the world, though Paul and his epistles are not much studied there.

There are not wanting reasons, which at first view, might induce us to conclude unitarianism was less favourable to the love of freedom than almost any other system of religious belief. If any party of Christians were ever free from the least tincture of enthusiasm, it is the unitarian; yet that passion has by every philosopher been judged friendly to liberty, and to its influence, though perhaps improperly, some of its most distinguished exertions have been ascribed. Hume and Bolingbroke, who were atheists, leaned towards arbitrary power. Owen, Howe, Milton, Baxter, some of the most devout and venerable characters that ever appeared, were warmly attached to liberty, and held sentiments on the subject of government as free and unfettered as Dr. Priestley. Thus every pretence for confounding the attachment to freedom with the sentiments of a religious party, is most abundantly confuted both from reason and from fact. The zeal unitarians have displayed in defence of civil and religious liberty, is the spirit natural to a minority, who are well aware they are viewed by the ecclesiastical powers with an unparalleled malignity and rancor. Let the dissenters at large remember they too are a minority, a great minority, and that they must look for their security from the same quarter, not from the compliments of bishops, or presents from maids of honour. [NOTE: Some of my readers perhaps need to be informed that I here allude to Mr. Martin, who, for similar services to those Mr. Clayton is now performing, has been considerably caressed by certain bishops, who have condescended to notice and to visit him. I think we do not read that Judas had any acquaintance with the high priests till he came to transact business with them.]

To abandon principles which the best and most enlightened men have in all ages held sacred, which the dissenters in particular have rendered themselves illustrious by defending, which have been sealed and consecrated by the blood of our ancestors, for no other reason than that the unitarians chance to maintain them, would be a weakness of which a child might be ashamed! Whoever may think fit to take up the gauntlet iu the Socinian controversy will have my warmest good wishes; but let us not employ those arms against each other which were given us for our common defence.

Section IV.

On the Test Act.

Amidst all the wild eccentricities which, abounding in every part of this extraordinary publication, naturally diminish our wonder at anything such a writer may advance, I confess I am surprised at his declaring his wish for the continuance of the Test Act. This law, enacted in the latter end of the reign of Charles the Second, to secure the nation from popery, when it stood upon the brink of that precipice, is continued now that the danger no longer exists which first occasioned it, for the express purpose of preserving the church from the inroads of dissenters. That church, it must be remembered, existed for ages before it received any such protection; yet it is now the vogue to magnify its importance to that degree, that one would imagine it was its sole prop, whose removal would draw the whole fabric after it, or at least make it totter to its base. Whether these apprehensions were really entertained by the clergy who gave the signal for the commencement of hostilities on a late occasion, or whether they were only impelled by that illiberal tincture and fixed antipathy to all who differ from them, which hath ever marked their character, may be doubted; but to behold a dissenting minister joining with them in an unnatural warfare against his brethren, is a phenomenon so curious, that it prompts us to inquire into its cause. Let us hear his reasons. He and many others were convinced, he tells us, ” that some of the persons who applied “for the repeal were influenced by enmity against the doctrinal “articles of the established church, and they could not sacrifice “their pious regard to truth, though in a church they had separated from, to the policy of men, who, with respect to God our Saviour, only consult how they may cast him down from his Excellency.” When we hear the clergy exclaim that their church is in danger, we pretty well understand what they mean; they speak broad, as Mr. Burke says, and intend no more than that its emoluments are endangered; but when a serious dissenter expresses his pious regard to the doctrines of the church, it is the truth of those articles he must be supposed to have in view. Let us consider for a moment what advantage the Test Act is capable of yielding them. All those who qualify for civil offices, by a submission to this law, consist of two classes of people; they are either persons who are attached to the articles of the church, from whom, therefore, no danger could accrue; or they are persons who have signified their assent to doctrines which they inwardly disapprove, and who have qualified themselves for trust by a solemn act of religious deception. It is this latter class alone, it should be remembered, whom the Test Act can at all influence, and thus the only security this celebrated law can afford the articles of the church, is founded in a flagrant violation of truth in the persons who become their guarantees. Every attempt that has been made to uphold religion by the civil arm, has reflected disgrace upon its authors; but of all that are recorded in the history of the world, perhaps this is the most absurd in its principle, and the least effectual in its operation. For the truth of sacred mysteries in religion, it appeals to the most corrupt principles of the human heart, and to those only; for no one can be tempted by the Test Act to profess an attachment to the doctrines of the church, till he has been already allured by the dignity or emolument of a civil office. By compelling all who exercise any function in the state from the person who aspires to its highest distinctions, to those who fill the meanest offices in it, to profess that concurrence in religious opinions which is known never to exist, it is adapted, beyond any other human invention, to spread amongst all orders of men a contempt for sacred institutions, to enthrone hypocrisy, and reduce deception to a system! The truth of any set of opinions can only be perceived by evidence; but what evidence can anyone derive from the mere mechanical action of receiving bread and wine at the hands of a parish priest? He who believes them already needs not to be initiated by any such ceremony; and by what magic touch those simple elements are to convert the unbeliever, our author, who is master of so many secrets, has not condescended to explain. He will not pretend to impute the first spread of these doctrines in the infancy of the Christian religion, or their revival at the Reformation, to any such means, since he imagines he can trace them in the New Testament. It is strange if that evidence, which was powerful enough to introduce them where they were unknown, is not sufficient to uphold them where they are already professed and believed. At least, the Test Act, it must be confessed, has yielded them no advantage, for they have been controverted with more acrimony, and admitted by a smaller number of persons, since that law was enacted, than in any period preceding.

Were the removal of this test to overthrow the establishment itself, a consequence at the same time in the highest degree improbable, the articles of the church, if they are true, would remain unendangered, their evidence would continue unimpaired, an appeal to the inspired writings from which they profess to be derived would be open, the liberty of discussion would be admitted in as great an extent as at present; this difference only would occur, that an attachment to them would no longer be suspected of flowing from corrupt and sinister motives. They would cease to be with the clergy the ladder of promotion, the cant of the pulpit, the ridicule of the schools. The futility of this or any other law, as a security to religious doctrines, may be discerned from this single reflection, that in the national church its own articles have, for a length of time, been either treated with contempt, or maintained with little sincerity and no zeal; whilst amongst the dissenters, where they have had no such aids, they have found a congenial soil, and continue to flourish with vigour.

On the political complexion of this test, as it does not fall so properly within my present view, I shall content myself with remarking, that harmless as it may appear at first sight, it carries in it the seeds of all the persecutions and calamities which have ever been sustained on a religious account. It proscribes not an individual who has been convicted of a crime, but a whole party, as unfit to be trusted by the community to which they belong; and if this stigma can be justly fixed on any set of men, it ought not to stop here, or anywhere, short of the actual excision of those who are thus considered as rotten and incurable members of the political body. In annexing to religious speculation the idea of political default, the principle of this law would justify every excess of severity and rigour. If we are the persons it supposes, its indulgence is weak and contemptible; if we are of a different description, the nature of its pretensions is so extraordinary as to occasion serious alarm, and call aloud for its repeal.

Mr, Clayton, indeed, calls this, and similar laws, a restraint very prudently imposed upon those who dissent from the established religion. This restraint, however, is no less than a political annihilation, debarring them, though their talents were ever so splendid, from mingling in the counsels, or possessing any share in the administration of their country. With that natural relish for absurdity which characterizes this author, he imagines they have justly incurred this evil for dissenting from an erroneous religion.

He tells us, in the course of his sermon, that the grand “principle of separation from the church lies in the unworldly nature of our Saviour’s kingdom.” This reason for separation implies, that any attempt to blend worldly interests or policy with the constitution of a church is improper; but how could this be done more effectually than by rendering the profession of its articles a preliminary step to every kind of civil pre-eminence? Yet this abuse, which in his own estimation is so enormous as to form the great basis of separation, he wishes to perpetuate; and all things considered, hopes “that which is at rest will not be disturbed.” In another part of his discourse, he asks what temporalities has the church of Christ to expect? It is the mother of harlots, which says, “I sit a queen, and shall see no sorrow.” Would any one imagine this was the language of a man, who, in pleading for a Test Act, has rested the support of his creed on those very temporalities he affects so much to disdain, and has committed his religion to the arms of that mother of harlots to be reared and nourished! When speaking of the Test Act in the seventh page of his discourse, he thus expresses himself: “Surely the cross of Christ ought not to be insulted by persons eager to press into the temple of Mammon.” Who could treat it with more poignant severity than is couched in this declaration? Yet this is the language of a person who desires its continuance. In truth, his representations on this subject are pregnant with such contradictions, and rise above each other in so singular a gradation of absurdity, as will not be easily conceived, and perhaps hath scarce ever been equaled. At the very outset of his sermon, he declares, “Whenever the Gospel is secularized it is debased and misrepresented, and in proportion to the quantity of foreign infusions is the efficacy of this saving health diminished.” But human ingenuity would be at a loss to contrive a method of secularizing the Gospel more completely, than by rendering it the common passport of all who aspire to civil distinctions. I am really weary of exposing the wild and extravagant incoherence of such a reasoner. From a man who, professing to be the apologist of his party, betrays its interests, and exhibits its most illustrious members to reproach; who, himself a dissenter, applauds the penalties which the hierarchy has inflicted as a “prudent restraint;” who, with the utmost poignance, censures a law which he solemnly invokes the legislature to perpetuate; and proposes to secure the truths of religion, by the “profanation of its “sacraments,” by “debasing the Gospel, and insulting the cross;” anything may be expected but consistence and decency. When such an author assures us he was not impelled by vanity to publish, we may easily give him credit; but he should remember, though it may be a virtue to subdue vanity, it is base to extinguish shame. The tear which, he tells us, started from the eyes of his audience, we will hope, for their honour, was an effusion of regret, natural to his friends, on hearing him deliver sentiments which they considered as a disgrace to himself, and a calumny on his brethren. His affecting to pour contempt upon Dr. Price, whose talents and character were revered by all parties, and to hold him up as the corrupter of the dissenters, will not fail to awaken the indignation of every generous mind. Whether they were greater friends to their country, whose pride and oppression scattered the flames of discord across the Atlantic [in America], poured desolation into the colonies, dismembered the empire, and involved us in millions of debt; or the man, who, with a warning voice, endeavoured to avert those calamities; posterity will decide.

He gives us a pompous enumeration of the piety, learning, and talents of a large body of his brethren who concur with him in a disapprobation of the theological and political tenets of the unitarians. The weakness of mingling them together has been shown already; but if these great and eminent men, whom the world never heard of before, possess that zeal for their religion they pretend, let them meet their opponents on the open field of controversy, where they may display their talents and prowess to somewhat more advantage than in skulking behind a consecrated altar.

There are many particulars, in the address and sermon, of an extraordinary complexion, which I have not noticed at all, as it was not my intention to follow the author step by step, but rather to collect his scattered representations into some leading points of view. For the same reason, I make no remarks on his barbarous imagery; or his style, everywhere incoherent and incorrect, sometimes indecent, which cannot fail of disgusting every reader of taste. In a rude daubing peculiar to himself, where, in ridicule of Dr. Priestley, he has grouped together a foreigner, a ship, and cargo of drugs, he has unfortunately sketched his own likeness, except in the circumstance of the ship, with tolerable accuracy; for, without the apology of having been shipped into England, he is certainly a foreigner in his native tongue, and his publication will be allowed to be a drug.

Had he known to apply the remark with which his address commences, on the utility of accommodating instruction to the exigence of times, he would have been aware that this is not a season for drawing off the eyes of mankind from political objects. They were, in fact, never turned towards them with equal ardour, and we may venture to affirm they will long continue to take that direction. An attention to the political aspect of the world is not now the fruit of an idle curiosity, or the amusement of a dissipated and frivolous mind, but is awakened and kept alive by occurrences as various as they are extraordinary. There are times when the moral world seems to stand still; there are others when it seems impelled towards its goal with an accelerated force. The present is a period more interesting, perhaps, than any which has been known in the whole flight of time. The scenes of Providence thicken upon us so fast, and are shifted with so strange a rapidity, as if the great drama of the world were drawing to a close.[Note:*] Events have taken place of late, and revolutions have been effected, which, had they been foretold a very few years ago,, would have been viewed as visionary and extravagant; and their influence is yet far from being spent. Europe never presented such a spectacle before, and it is worthy of being contemplated with the profoundest attention by all its inhabitants. The empire of darkness and of despotism has been smitten with a stroke which has sounded through the universe. When we see whole kingdoms, after reposing for centuries on the lap of their rulers, start from their slumber, the dignity of man rising up from depression, and tyrants trembling on their thrones, who can remain entirely indifferent, or fail to turn his eye towards a theatre so august and extraordinary! These are a kind of throes and struggles of nature, to which it would be a sullenness to refuse our sympathy. Old foundations are breaking up; new edifices are rearing. Institutions which have been long held in veneration as the most sublime refinements of human wisdom and policy, which age hath cemented and confirmed, which power hath supported, which eloquence hath conspired to embellish, and opulence to enrich, are falling fast into decay. New prospects are opening on every side of such amazing variety and extent as to stretch farther than the eye of the most enlightened observer can reach.

[Note *] This glowing picture, as accurately descriptive of recent events as of those it was intended to portray, might tempt us almost to fancy that, after the revolution of a cycle or forty years, time had brought us back to the same state of things.—Editor.

Some beneficial effects appear to have taken place already, sufficient to nourish our most sanguine hope of benefits much more extensive. The mischief and folly of wars begin to be understood, and that mild and liberal system of policy adopted which has ever, indeed, been the object of prayer to the humane and the devout, but has hitherto remained utterly unknown in the cabinets of princes. As the mind naturally yields to the impression of objects which it contemplates often, we need not wonder, if, amidst events so extraordinary, the human character itself should appear to be altering and improving apace. That fond attachment to ancient institutions, and blind submission to opinions already received, which has ever checked the growth of improvement, and drawn on the greatest benefactors of mankind danger or neglect, is giving way to a spirit of bold and fearless investigation. Man seems to be becoming more erect and independent. He leans more on himself, less on his fellow-creatures. He begins to feel a consciousness in a higher degree of personal dignity, and is less enamoured of artificial distinctions. There is some hope of our beholding that simplicity and energy of character which marks his natural state, blended with the humanity, the elegance, and improvement of polished society.

The events which have already taken place, and the further changes they forbode, will open to the contemplative of every character innumerable sources of reflection. To the philosopher they present many new and extraordinary facts, where his penetration will find ample scope in attempting to discover their cause, and to predict their effects. He will have an opportunity of viewing mankind in an interesting situation, and of tracing the progress of opinion through channels it has rarely flowed in before. The politician will feel his attention powerfully awakened on seeing new maxims of policy introduced, new institutions established, and such a total alteration in the ideas of a great part of the world, as will oblige him to study the art of government as it were afresh. The devout mind will behold in these momentous changes the finger of God, and, discerning in them the dawn of that glorious period in which wars will cease, and anti-Christian tyranny shall fall, will adore that unerring wisdom whose secret operation never fails to conduct all human affairs to their proper issue, and impels the great actors on that troubled theatre to fulfill, when they least intend it, the counsels of heaven and the predictions of its prophets.

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James Madison Amendments to the Constitution 1789

James Madison Concerning the General Welfare Clause (Click to enlarge)

James Madison Concerning the General Welfare Clause (Click to enlarge)

[Editor’s Note: This should be read in conjunction with this and this:]

James Madison Amendments to the Constitution: The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States; June 8, 1789

I am sorry to be accessory to the loss of a single moment of time by the House. If I had been indulged in my motion, and we had gone into a Committee of the whole, I think we might have rose and resumed the consideration of other business before this time; that is, so far as it depended upon what I proposed to bring forward. As that mode seems not to give satisfaction, I will withdraw the motion, and move you, sir, that a select committee be appointed to consider and report such amendments as are proper for Congress to propose to the Legislatures of the several States, conformably to the fifth article of the constitution.

I will state my reasons why I think it proper to propose amendments, and state the amendments themselves, so far as I think they ought to be proposed. If I thought I could fulfil the duty which I owe to myself and my constituents, to let the subject pass over in silence, I most certainly should not trespass upon the indulgence of this House. But I cannot do this, and am therefore compelled to beg a patient hearing to what I have to lay before you. And I do most sincerely believe, that if Congress will devote but one day to this subject, so far as to satisfy the public that we do not disregard their wishes, it will have a salutary influence on the public councils, and prepare the way fur a favorable reception of our future measures. It appears to me that this House is bound by every motive of prudence, not to let the first session pass over without proposing to the State Legislatures some things to be incorporated into the constitution, that will render it as acceptable to the whole people of the United States, as it has been found acceptable to a majority of them. I wish, among other reasons why something should be done, that those who have been friendly to the adoption of this constitution may have the opportunity of proving to those who were opposed to it that they were as sincerely devoted to liberty and a Republican Government, as those who charged them with wishing the adoption of this constitution in order to lay the foundation of an aristocracy or despotism. It will be a desirable thing to extinguish from the bosom of every member of the community, any apprehensions that there are those among his countrymen who wish to deprive them of the liberty for which they valiantly fought and honorably bled. And if there are amendments desired of such a nature as will not injure the constitution, and they can be ingrafted so as to give satisfaction to the doubting part of our fellow-citizens, the friends of the Federal Government will evince that spirit of deference and concession for which they have hitherto been distinguished.

It cannot be a secret to the gentlemen in this House, that, notwithstanding the ratification of this system of Government by eleven of the thirteen united States, in some cases unanimously, in others by large majorities; yet still there is a great number of our constituents who are dissatisfied with it; among whom are many respectable for their talents and patriotism, and respectable for the jealousy they have for their liberty, which, though mistaken in its object, is laudable in its motive. ‘There is a great body of the people falling under this description, who at present are much inclined to join their support to the cause of Federalism, if they were satisfied on this one point. We ought not to disregard their inclination, but, on principles of amity and moderation, conform to their wishes, and expressly declare the great rights of mankind secured under this constitution. The acquiescence which our fellow-citizens show under the Government, calls upon us for a like return of moderation. But perhaps there is a stronger motive than this for our going into a consideration of the subject. It is to provide those securities for liberty which are required by a part of the community; I allude in a particular manner to those two States that have not thought fit to throw themselves into the bosom of the Confederacy, It is a desirable thing, on our part as well as theirs, that a re-union should take place as soon as possible. I have no doubt, if we proceed to take those steps which would be prudent and requisite at this juncture, that in a short time we should see that disposition prevailing in those States which have not come in, that we have seen prevailing in those States which have embraced the constitution.

But I will candidly acknowledge, that, over and above all these considerations, I do conceive that the constitution may be amended; that is to say, if all power is subject to abuse, that then it is possible the abuse of the powers of the General [Federal] Government may be guarded against in a more secure manner than is now done, while no one advantage arising from the exercise of that power shall be damaged or endangered by it. We have in this way something to gain, and, if we proceed with caution, nothing to lose. And in this case it is necessary to proceed with caution; for while we. feel all these inducements to go into a revisal of the constitution, we must feel for the constitution itself, and make that revisal a moderate one. I should be unwilling to see a door opened fur a reconsideration of the whole structure of the Government—for are consideration of the principles and the substance of the powers given; because I doubt, if such a door were opened, we should be very likely to stop at that point which would be safe to the Government itself. But I do wish to see a door opened to consider, so far as to incorporate those provisions for the security of rights, against which I believe no serious objection has been made by any class of our constituents: such as would be likely to meet with the concurrence of two-thirds of both Houses, and the approbation of three-fourths of the State Legislatures. I will not propose a single alteration which I do not wish to see take place, as intrinsically proper in itself, or proper because it is wished for by a respectable number of my fellow-citizens; and therefore I shall not propose a single alteration but is likely to meet the concurrence required by the constitution. There have been objections of various kinds made against the constitution. Some were levelled against its structure because the President was without a council; because the Senate, which is a legislative body, had judicial powers in trials on impeachments; and because the powers of that body were compounded in other respects, in a manner that did not correspond with a particular theory; because it grants more power than is supposed to be necessary for every good purpose, and controls the ordinary powers of the State Governments, I know some respectable characters who opposed this [Federal] Government on these grounds; but I believe that the great mass of the people who opposed it, disliked it because it did not contain effectual provisions against encroachments on particular rights, and those safeguards which they have been long accustomed to have interposed between them and the magistrate who exercises the sovereign power; nor ought we to consider them safe, while a great number of our fellow citizens think these securities necessary.

It is a fortunate thing that the objection to the Government has been made on the ground I stated; because it will be practicable, on that ground, to obviate the objection, so far as to satisfy the public mind that their liberties will be perpetual, and this without endangering any part of the constitution, which is considered as essential to the existence of the Government by those who promoted its adoption.

The amendments which have occurred to me, proper to be recommended by Congress to the State Legislatures, are these: First, That there be prefixed to the constitution a declaration, that all power is originally vested in, and consequently derived from, the people.

That Government is instituted and ought to be exercised for the benefit of the people; which consists in the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the right of acquiring and using property, and generally of pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

That the people have an indubitable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to reform or change their Government, whenever it be found adverse or inadequate to the purposes of its institution.

Secondly. That in article 1st, section 2, clause 3, these words be struck out, to wit: “The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each State shall have at least one Representative, and until such enumeration shall be made;” and that in place thereof be inserted these words, to wit: “After the first actual enumeration, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number amounts to after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that the number shall never be less than­­­­_______, nor more than_______, but each State shall, after the first enumeration, have at least two Representatives; and prior thereto.”

Thirdly. That in article 1st, section 6, clause 1, there be added to the end of the first sentence, these words, to wit: ”But no law varying the compensation last ascertained shall operate before the next ensuing election of Representatives.”

Fourthly. That in article 1st, section 9, between clauses 3 and 4, be inserted these clauses, to wit: The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.

The people shall not be deprived or abridged of their right to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments; and the freedom of the press, as one of the great bulwarks of liberty, shall be inviolable.

The people shall not be restrained from peaceably assembling and consulting for their common good; nor from applying to the Legislature by petitions, or remonstrances, for redress of their grievances.

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.

No soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner; nor at any time, but in a manner warranted by law.

No person shall be subject, except in cases of impeachment, to more than one punishment or one trial for the same offence; nor shall be compelled to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor be obliged to relinquish his property, where it may be necessary for public use, without a just compensation.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

The rights of the people to be secured in their persons; their houses, their papers, and their other property, from all unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated by warrants issued without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, or not particularly describing the places to be searched, or the persons or things to be seized.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, to be informed of the cause and nature of the accusation, to be confronted with his accusers, and the witnesses against him; to have a compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel for his defence.

The exceptions here or elsewhere in the constitution, made in favor of particular rights, shall not be so construed as to diminish the just importance of other rights retained by the people, or as to enlarge the powers delegated by the constitution; but either as actual limitations of such powers, or as inserted merely for greater caution.

Fifthly. That in article 1st, section 10, between clauses 1 and 2, be inserted this clause, to wit:

No State shall violate the equal rights of conscience, or the freedom of the press, or the trial by jury in criminal cases.

Sixthly. That, in article 3d, section 2, be annexed to the end of clause 2d, these words, to wit:

But no appeal to such court shall be allowed where the value in controversy shall not amount to dollars________: nor shall any fact triable by jury, according to the course of common law, be otherwise re-examinable than may consist with the principles of common law.

Seventhly. That in article 3d, section 2, the third clause be struck out, and in its place be inserted the clauses following, to wit:

The trial of all crimes (except in cases of impeachments, and cases arising in the land or naval forces, or the militia when on actual service, in time of war or public danger) shall be by an impartial jury of freeholders of the vicinage [vicinity], with the requisite of unanimity for conviction, of the right of challenge, and other accustomed requisites; and in all crimes punishable with loss of life or member, presentment or indictment by a grand jury shall be an essential preliminary, provided that in cases of crimes committed within any county which may be in possession of an enemy, or in which a general insurrection may prevail, the trial may by law be authorized in some other county of the same State, as near as may be to the seat of the offence.

In cases of crimes committed not within any county, the trial may by law be in such county as the laws shall have prescribed. In suits of common law, between man and man, the trial by jury, as one of the best securities to the rights of the people, ought to remain inviolate.

Eighthly. That immediately after article 6th, be inserted, as article 7th, the clauses following to wit:

The powers delegated by this constitution are appropriated to the departments to which they are respectively distributed: so that the legislative department shall never exercise the powers vested in the executive or judicial nor the executive exercise the powers vested in the legislative or judicial, nor the judicial exercise the powers vested in the legislative or executive departments.

The powers not delegated by this constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively.

Ninthly. That article 7th be numbered as article 8th. ,

The first of these amendments relates to what may be called a bill of rights. I will own that I never considered this provision, so essential to the federal constitution, as to make it improper to ratify it, until such an amendment was added; at the same time, I always conceived, that in a certain form, and to a certain extent, such a provision was neither improper nor altogether useless. I am aware, that a great number of the most respectable friends to the Government, and champions for republican liberty, have thought such a provision, not only unnecessary, but even improper; nay, I believe some have gone so far as to think it even dangerous. Some policy has been made use of, perhaps, by gentlemen on both sides of the question: I acknowledge the ingenuity of those arguments which were drawn against the constitution, by a comparison with the policy of Great Britain, in establishing a declaration of rights; bat there is too great a difference in the case to warrant the comparison: therefore, the arguments drawn from that source were in a great measure inapplicable. In the declaration of rights which that country has established, the truth is, they have gone no farther than to raise a barrier against the power of the Crown; the power of the Legislature is left altogether indefinite. Although I know whenever the great rights, the trial by jury, freedom of the press, or liberty of conscience, come in question in that body, the invasion of them is resisted by able advocates, yet their Magna Charta does not contain any one provision for the security of those rights, respecting which the people of America are most alarmed. The freedom of the press and rights of conscience, those choicest privileges of the people, are unguarded in the British constitution.

But although the case may be widely different, and it may not be thought necessary to provide limits for the legislative power in that country, yet a different opinion prevails in the United States. The people of many States have thought it necessary to raise barriers against power in all forms and departments of Government, and I am inclined to believe, if once bills of rights are established in all the States as well as the federal constitution, we shall find that although some of them are rather unimportant, yet, upon the whole, they will have a salutary tendency.

It may be said, in some instances, they do no more than state the perfect equality of mankind. This, to be sure, is an absolute truth, yet it is not absolutely necessary to be inserted at the head of a constitution.

In some instances they assert those rights which are exercised by the people in forming and establishing a plan of Government. In other instances, they specify those rights which arc retained when particular powers are given up to be exercised by the Legislature. In other instances, they specify positive rights, which may seem to result from the nature of the compact. Trial by jury cannot be considered as a natural right, but a right resulting from a social compact which regulates the action of the community, but is as essential to secure the liberty of the people as any one of the pre-existent rights of nature. In other instances, they lay down dogmatic maxims with respect to the construction of the Government: declaring that the legislative, executive, and judicial branches shall be kept separate and distinct. Perhaps the best way of securing this in practice is, to provide such checks as will prevent the encroachment of the one upon the other.

But whatever maybe the form which the several States have adopted in making declarations in favor of particular rights, the great object in view is to limit and qualify the powers of Government, by excepting out of the grant of power those cases in which the Government ought not to act, or to act only in a particular mode. They point these exceptions sometimes against the abuse of the executive power, sometimes against the legislative, and, in some cases, against the community itself; or, in other words, against the majority in favor of the minority.

In our Government it is, perhaps, less necessary to guard against the abuse in the executive department than any other; because it is not the stronger branch of the system, but the weaker: It therefore must be levelled against the legislative, for it is the most powerful, and most likely to be abused, because it is under the least control. Hence, so far as a declaration of rights can tend to prevent the exercise of undue power, it cannot be doubted but such declaration is proper. But I confess that I do conceive, that in a Government modified like this of the United States, the great danger lies rather in the abuse of the community than in the legislative body. The prescriptions in favor of liberty ought to be levelled against that quarter where the greatest danger lies, namely, that which possesses the highest prerogative of power. But this is not found in either the executive or legislative departments of Government, but in the body of the people, operating by the majority against the minority.

It may be thought that all paper barriers against the power of the community are too weak to be worthy of attention. I am sensible they are not so strong as to satisfy gentlemen of every description who have seen and examined thoroughly the texture of such a defence; yet, as they have a tendency to impress some degree of respect for them, to establish the public opinion in their favor, and rouse the attention of the whole community, it may be one means to control the majority from those acts to which they might be otherwise inclined.

It has been said, by way of objection to a bill of rights, by many respectable gentlemen out of doors and I find opposition on the same principles likely to be made by gentlemen on this floor, that they are unnecessary articles of a Republican Government, upon the presumption that the people have those rights in their own hands, and that is the proper place for them to rest. It would be a sufficient answer to say, that this objection lies against such provisions under the State Governments, as well as under the General Government? and there are, I believe, but few gentlemen who are inclined to push their theory so far as to say that a declaration of rights in those cases is either ineffectual or improper. It has been said, that in the Federal Government they are unnecessary, because the powers are enumerated, and it follows, that all that are not granted by the constitution are retained; that the constitution is a bill of powers, the great residuum being the rights of the people; and, therefore, a bill of rights cannot be so necessary as if the residuum was thrown into the hands of the Government. I admit that these arguments are not entirely without foundation; but they are not conclusive to the extent which has been supposed. It is true, the powers of the General Government are circumscribed, they are directed to particular objects; but even if Government keeps within those limits, it has certain discretionary powers with respect to the means, which may admit of abuse to a certain extent, in the same manner as the powers of the State Governments under their constitutions may to an indefinite extent; because in the constitution of the United States, there is a clause granting to Congress the power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution all the powers vested in the Government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof; this enables them to fulfil every purpose for which the Government was established. Now, may not laws be considered necessary and proper by Congress, for it is for them to judge of the necessity and propriety to accomplish those special purposes which they may have in contemplation, which laws in themselves are neither necessary nor proper; as well as improper laws could be enacted by the State Legislatures, for fulfilling the more extended objects of those Governments. I will state an instance, which I think in point, and proves that this might be the case. The General Government has a right to pass all laws which shall be necessary to collect its revenue; the means for enforcing the collection are within the direction of the Legislature: may not general warrants be considered necessary for this purpose, as well as for some purposes which it was supposed at the framing of their constitutions the State Governments had in view? If there was reason for restraining the State Governments from exercising this power, there is like reason for restraining the Federal Government.

It may be said, indeed it has been said, that a bill of rights is not necessary, because the establishment of this Government has not repealed those declarations of rights which are added to the several State constitutions; that those rights of the people, which had been established by the most solemn act, could not be annihilated by a subsequent act of that people, who meant, and declared at the head of the instrument, that they ordained and established a new system, for the express purpose of securing to themselves and posterity the liberties they had gained by an arduous conflict.

I admit the force of this observation but I do not look upon it to be conclusive. In the first place, it is too uncertain ground to leave this provision upon, if a provision is at all necessary to secure rights so important as many of those I have mentioned are conceived to be, by the public in general, as well as those in particular who opposed the adoption of this constitution. Besides, some Slates have no bills of rights, there are others provided with very defective ones, and there are others whose bills of rights are not only defective, but absolutely improper; instead of securing some in the full extent which republican principles would require, they limit them too much to agree with the common ideas of liberty.

It has been objected also against a bill of rights, that, by enumerating particular exceptions to the grant of power, it would disparage those rights which were not placed in (hat enumeration; and it might follow, by implication, that those rights which were not singled out, were intended to be assigned into the hands of the General [Federal] Government, and were consequently insecure. This is one of the most plausible arguments I have ever heard urged against the admission of a bill of rights into this system; but, I conceive, that it may be guarded against. I have attempted it, as gentlemen may see by turning to the last clause of the fourth resolution.

It has been said, that it is unnecessary to load the constitution with this provision, because it was not found effectual in the constitution of the particular States. It is true, there are a few particular States in which some of the most valuable articles have not, at one time or other, been violated; but it does not follow but they may have, to a certain degree, a salutary effect against the abuse of power. If they are incorporated into the constitution, independent tribunals of justice will consider themselves in a peculiar manner the guardians of those rights; they will be an impenetrable bulwark against every assumption of power in the legislative or executive; they will be naturally led to resist every encroachment upon rights expressly stipulated for in the constitution by the declaration of Rights. Besides this security, there is a great probability that such a declaration in the federal system would be enforced; because the Slate Legislatures will jealously and closely watch the operations of this Government, and be able, to resist with more effect every assumption of power, than any other power on earth can do; and the greatest opponents to a Federal Government admit the State Legislatures to be sure guardians of the people’s liberty. I conclude, from this view of the subject, that it will be proper in itself, and highly politic, for the tranquillity of the public mind, and the stability of the Government, that we should offer something, in the form I have proposed, to be incorporated in the system of Government, as a declaration of the rights of the people.

In the next place, I wish to see that part of the constitution revised which declares that the number of Representatives shall not exceed the proportion of one for every thirty thousand persons, and allows one Representative to every State which rates below that proportion. If we attend to the discussion of this subject, which has taken place in the State conventions, and even in the opinion of the friends to the constitution, an alteration here is proper. It is the sense of the people of America, that the number of Representatives ought to be increased, but particularly that it should not be left in the discretion of the Government to diminish them, below that proportion which certainly is in the power of the Legislature as the constitution now stands; and they may, as the population of the country increases, increase the House of Representatives to a very unwieldy degree. I confess I always thought this part of the constitution defective, though not dangerous; and that it ought to be particularly attended to whenever Congress should go into the consideration of amendments.

There are several minor cases enumerated in my proposition, in which I wish also to see some alteration take place. That article which leaves it in the power of the Legislature to ascertain its own emolument, is one to which I allude. I do not believe this is a power which, in the ordinary course of Government, is likely to be abused. Perhaps of all the powers granted, it is least likely to abuse; but there is a seeming impropriety in leaving any set of men without control to put their hand into the public coffers, to take out money to put in their pockets; there is a seeming in decorum in such power, which leads me to propose a change. We have a guide to this alteration in several of the amendments which the different conventions have proposed. I have gone, therefore, so far as to fix it, (hat no law, varying the compensation, shall operate until there is a change in the Legislature; in which case it cannot be for the particular benefit of those who are concerned in determining the value of the service.

I wish also, in revising the constitution, we may throw into that section, which interdicts the abuse of certain powers in the State Legislatures, some other provisions of equal, if not greater importance than those already made. The words, “No Slate shall pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law,” &c. were wise and proper restrict ions in the constitution. I think there is more danger of those powers being abused by the State Governments than by the Government of the United States. The same may be said of other powers which they possess, if not controlled by the general principle, that laws are unconstitutional which infringe the rights of the community. I should therefore wish to extend this interdiction, and add, as I have stated in the 5th resolution, that no Stale ..shall violate the equal right of conscience, freedom of the press, or trial by jury in criminal cases; because it is proper that every Government should be disarmed of powers which trench upon those particular rights. 1 know, in some of the State constitutions, the power of the Government is controlled by such a declaration; but others are not. I cannot see any reason against obtaining even a double security on those points; and nothing can give a more sincere proof of the attachment of those who opposed this constitution to these great and important rights, than to see them join in obtaining the security I have now proposed; because it must be admitted, on all hands, that the Slate Governments are as liable to attack these invaluable privileges as the General Government is, and therefore ought to be as cautiously guarded against.

I think it will be proper, with respect to the judiciary powers, to satisfy the public mind on those points which I have mentioned. Great inconvenience has been apprehended to suitors from the distance they would be dragged to obtain justice in the Supreme Court of the United States, upon an appeal on an action for a small debt. To remedy this, declare that no appeal shall be made unless the matter in controversy amounts to a particular sum; this, with the regulations respecting jury trials in criminal cases, and suits at common law, it is to be hoped, will quiet and reconcile the minds of the people to that part of the constitution.

I find, from looking into the amendments proposed by the State conventions, that several are particularly anxious that it should be declared in the constitution, that the powers not therein delegated should be reserved to the several Stales. Perhaps words which may define (his more precisely than the whole of the instrument now does, may be considered as superfluous. I admit they may be deemed unnecessary; but there can be no harm in making such a declaration, if gentlemen will allow that the fact is as stated. I am sure I understand it so, and do therefore propose it.

These are the points on which I wish to see a revision of the constitution lake place. How far they will accord with the sense of this body, I cannot take upon me absolutely to determine; but I believe every gentleman will readily admit that nothing is in contemplation, so far as I have mentioned, that can endanger the beauty of the Government in any one important feature, even in the eyes of its most sanguine admirers. I have proposed nothing that does not appear to me as proper in itself, or eligible as patronized by a respectable number of our fellow-citizens; and it we can make the constitution better in the opinion of those who are opposed to it, without weakening its frame, or abridging its usefulness, in the judgment of those who are attached to it, we act the part of wise and liberal men to make such alterations as shall produce that effect.

Having done what I conceived was ray duty, in bringing before this House the subject of amendment?, and also stated such as I wish for and approve, and offered the reasons which occurred to me in their support, I shall content myself, for the present, with moving “that a committee be appointed to consider of and report such amendments as ought to be proposed by Congress to the Legislatures of the States, to become, if ratified by three-fourths thereof, part of the constitution of the United States.” By agreeing to (his motion, the subject may be going on in the committee, while other important business is proceeding to a conclusion in the House. I should advocate greater despatch in the business of amendments, if I were not convinced of the absolute necessity there is of pursuing the organization of the Government; because I think we should obtain the confidence of our fellow-citizens, in proportion as we fortify the rights of the people against the encroachments of the Government.


AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION: Debates; Saturday, August 15, 1789

The House again went into a Committee of the whole on the proposed amendments to the constitution, Mr. Boudinot in the chair.

The fourth proposition being under consideration, as follows:

Article 1. Section 9. Between paragraphs two and three insert ” no religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed.”

Sylvester had some doubts of the propriety of the mode of expression used in this paragraph. He” apprehended that it was liable to a construction different from what had been made by the committee. He feared it might be thought to have a tendency to abolish religion altogether.

Vining suggested the propriety of transposing the two members of the sentence.

Gerry said it would read better if it was, that no religious doctrine shall be established by law.

Sherman thought the amendment altogether unnecessary, inasmuch as Congress had no authority whatever delegated to them by the constitution to make religious establishments; he would, therefore, move to have it struck out.

Carroll.—As the rights of conscience are, in their nature, of peculiar delicacy, and will little bear the gentlest touch of governmental hand; and as many sects have concurred in opinion that they are not well secured under the present constitution, he slid he was much in favor of adopting the word!. He thought it would tend more towards conciliating the minds of the people to the Government than almost any other amendment he had heard proposed. He would not content with gentlemen about the phraseology, his object was to secure the substance in such a manner as to satisfy the wishes of the honest part of the community.

Madison said, he apprehended the meaning of the words to be, that Congress should not establish a religion, and enf’orce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience. Whether the words are necessary or not, he did not mean to say, but they had been required by some of the State Conventions, who seemed to entertain an opinion that under the clause of the constitution, which gave power to Congress to mate all laws necessary and proper to carry into execution the constitution, and the laws made under it, enabled them to make laws of such a nature as might infringe the rights of conscience, and establish a national religion; to prevent these effects he presumed the amendment was intended, and he thought it as well expressed as the nature of the language would admit.

Huntington said that he feared, with the gentleman first up on this subject, that the words might be taken in such latitude as to be extremely hurtful to the cause of religion. He understood the amendment to mean what had been expressed by the gentleman from Virginia; but others might find it convenient to put another construction upon it. The ministers of their congregations to the Eastward were maintained by the contributions of those who belonged to their society; the expense of building meeting-houses was contributed in the same manner. These things were regulated by by-laws. If an action was brought before a Federal Court on any of these cases, the person who had neglected to perform his engagements could not be compelled to do it; for a support of ministers, or building of places of worship might be construed into a religious establishment.

By the charter of Rhode Island, no religion could be established by law; he could give a history of the effects of such a regulation; indeed the people were now enjoying the blessed fruits of it. He hoped, therefore, the amendment would be made in such a way as to secure the rights of conscience, and a free exercise of the rights of religion, but not to patronize those who professed no religion at all.

Madison thought, if the word national was inserted before religion, it would satisfy the minds of honorable gentlemen. He believed that the people feared one sect might obtain a pre-eminence, or two combine together, and establish a religion to which they would compel others to conform. He thought if the word national was introduced, it would point the amendment directly to the object it was intended to prevent.

[Note: States at the time had Established State Religions; Virginia; Anglican i.e. Church of England (fn1): New York; Anglican, Church of England (fn2): Massachusetts; Congregationalist Church (fn3): Maryland; Anglican, Church of England (fn4): Delaware; No State sponsored church (fn5): Connecticut; Congregationalist Church (fn6): New Hampshire; Congregationalist Church (fn7): Rhode Island; No State sponsored church (fn8): Georgia; No State sponsored church (fn9): North Carolina; Anglican, Church of England (fn10): South Carolina; Anglican, Church of England (fn11): Pennsylvania; No State sponsored church (fn12): New Jersey No State sponsored church

Livermore was not satisfied with that amendment; but he did not wish them to dwell long on the subject He thought it would be better if it was altered, and made to read in this mariner, that Congress shall make no laws touching religion, or infringing the rights of conscience.

Gerry did not like the term national, proposed by the gentleman from Virginia, and he hoped it would not be adopted by the House. It brought to his mind some observations that had taken place in the conventions at the time they were considering the present constitution. It had been insisted upon by those who were called antifederalists, that this form of Government consolidated the Union; the honorable gentleman’s motion shows that he considers it in the same light. Those who were called antifederalists at that time complained that they had injustice done them by the title, because they were in favor of a Federal Government, and the others were in favor of a national one; the federalists were for ratifying the constitution as it stood, and the others not until amendments were made. Their names then ought not to have been distinguished by federalists and antifederalists, but rats and antirats.

Madison withdrew his motion, but observed that the words “no national religion shall be established by law,” did not imply that the Government was a national one; the question was then taken on Mr. Livermore’s motion, and passed in the affirmative, thirtyone for, and twenty against it.

James Madison Concerning the Bill of Rights (Click to enlarge)

James Madison Concerning the Bill of Rights (Click to enlarge)

Madison’s Report on the Resolutions of Congress; House of Delegates: 1799-1800

[Excerpt concerning the Bill of Rights]

“That this State having, by its Convention, which ratified the Federal Constitution, expressly declared that, among other essential rights, ‘the liberty of conscience and of the press cannot be cancelled, abridged, restrained, or modified, by any authority of the United States;’ and, from its extreme anxiety to guard these rights from every possible attack of sophistry and ambition, having, with other States, recommended an amendment for that purpose, which amendment was in due time annexed to the Constitution, it would mark a reproachful inconsistency, and criminal degeneracy, if an indifference were now shown to the most palpable violation of one of the rights thus declared and secured, and to the establishment of a precedent which may be fatal to the other.”

To place this Resolution in its just light, it will be necessary to recur to the act of ratification by Virginia, which stands in the ensuing form:

“We, the delegates of the people of Virginia, duly elected in pursuance of a recommendation from the General Assembly and now met in Convention, having fully and freely investigated and discussed the proceedings of the Federal Convention, and being prepared, as well as the most mature deliberation hath enabled us, to decide thereon—Do, in the name and in behalf of the people of Virginia declare and make known that the powers granted under the Constitution, being derived from the people of the United States, may be resumed by them whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression; and that every power not granted thereby remains with them, and at their will. That, therefore, no right of any denomination can be cancelled, abridged, restrained, or modified, by the Congress, by the Senate or House of Representatives, acting in any capacity, by the President, or any department or officer of the United States, except in those instances in which power is given by the Constitution for those purposes; and that, among other essential rights, the liberty of conscience and of the press cannot be cancelled, abridged, restrained, or modified, by any authority of the United States.”

Here is an express and solemn declaration by the Convention of the State, that they ratified the Constitution in the sense that no right of any denomination can be cancelled, abridged, restrained, or modified, by the Government of the United States, or any part of it, except in those instances in which power is given by the Constitution; and in the sense, particularly, “that among other essential rights, the liberty of conscience and freedom of the press cannot be cancelled, abridged, restrained, or modified, by any authority of the United States.”

Words could not well express in a fuller or more forcible manner the understanding of the Convention, that the liberty of conscience and the freedom of the press were equally and completely exempted from all authority whatever of the United States.

Under an anxiety to guard more effectually these rights against every possible danger, the Convention, after ratifying the Constitution, proceeded to prefix to certain amendments proposed by them a declaration of rights, in which are two articles providing, the one for the liberty of conscience, the other for the freedom of speech and of the press.

Similar recommendations having proceeded from a number of other States, and Congress, as has been seen, having, in consequence thereof, and with a view to extend the ground of public confidence, proposed, among other declaratory and restrictive clauses, a clause expressly securing the liberty of conscience and of the press, and Virginia having concurred in the ratifications which made them a part of the Constitution, it will remain with a candid public to decide whether it would not mark an inconsistency and degeneracy, if an indifference were now shown to a palpable violation of one of those rights— the freedom of the press; and to a precedent, therein, which may be fatal to the other—the free exercise of religion.

That the precedent established by the violation of the former of these rights may, as is affirmed by the resolution, be fatal to the latter, appears to be demonstrable by a comparison of the grounds on which they respectively rest, and from the scope of reasoning by which the power over the former has been vindicated.

  1. Both of these rights, the liberty of conscience and of the press, rest equally on the original ground of not being delegated by the Constitution, and, consequently, withheld from the Government. Any construction, therefore, that would attack this original security for the one must have the like effect on the other.
  2. They are both equally secured by the supplement to the Constitution, being both included in the same amendment, made at the same time, and by the same authority. Any construction or argument, then, which would turn the amendment into a grant or acknowledgment of power with respect to the press, might be equally applied to the freedom of religion.
  3. If it be admitted that the extent of the freedom of the press secured by the amendment is to be measured by the common law on this subject, the same authority may be resorted to for the standard which is to fix the extent of the “free exercise of religion.” It cannot be necessary to say what this standard would be; whether the common law be taken solely as the unwritten, or as varied by the written law of England.
  4. If the words and phrases in the amendment are to be considered as chosen with a studied discrimination, which yields an argument for a power over the press under the limitation that its freedom be not abridged, the same argument results from the same consideration for a power over the exercise of religion, under the limitation that its freedom be not prohibited.

For if Congress may regulate the freedom of the press, provided they do not abridge it, because it is said only “they shall not abridge it,” and is not said “they shall make no law respecting it, “the analogy of reasoning is conclusive that Congress may regulate and even abridge the free exercise of religion, provided they do not prohibit it; because it is said only “they shall not prohibit it,” and is not said “they shall make no law respecting, or no law abridging it.”

The General Assembly were governed by the clearest reason, then, in considering the Sedition Act, which legislates on the freedom of the press, as establishing a precedent that may be fatal to the liberty of conscience; and it will be the duty of all, in proportion as they value the security of the latter, to take the alarm at every encroachment on the former.

The two concluding resolutions only remain to be examined. They are in the words following:

“That the good people of this Commonwealth having ever felt, and continuing to feel, the most sincere affection for their brethren of the other States, the truest anxiety for establishing and perpetuating the Union of all, and the most scrupulous fidelity to that Constitution which is the pledge of mutual friendship and the instrument of mutual happiness, the General Assembly doth solemnly appeal to the like dispositions in the other States, in confidence that they will concur with this Commonwealth in declaring, as it does hereby declare, that the acts aforesaid are unconstitutional; and that the necessary and proper measures will be taken by each for co-operating with this State in maintaining, unimpaired, the authorities, rights, and liberties reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


1: Governor Argall’s Decree; 1617
“Every Person should go to church, Sundays and Holidays, or lye Neck and Heels that Night, and be a Slave to the Colony the following Week; for the second Offence, he should be a Slave for a Month; and for the third, a Year and a Day.”

Virginia Declaration of Rights; 1776
“That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed by reason and conviction, not by force or violence; and therefore, all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.”

Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom; 1786
“Section I. The opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction; that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own…

Section II. We the General Assembly of Virginia do enact that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities.”


2: “The Dutch Colony of the seventeenth century was officially intolerantly Protestant but was in practice tolerant and fair to people of other faiths who dwelt within New Netherland.

When the English took the province from the Dutch in 1664, they granted full religious toleration to the other forms of Protestantism, and preserved the property rights of the Dutch Reformed Church, while recognizing its discipline.

In 1697, Trinity Church was founded in the City of New York by royal charter, and received many civil privileges and the munificent grants of land which are the source of its present great wealth.”

New York Charter of Liberties and Privileges; 1683
“THAT Noe person or persons which professe ffaith in God by Jesus Christ Shall at any time be any wayes molested punished disquieted or called in Question for any Difference in opinion or Matter of Religious Concernment”

New York Constitution; 1777
“Article XXXVIII. And whereas we are required, by the benevolent principles of the rational liberty, not only to expel civil tyranny, but also to guard against that spiritual oppression and intolerance wherewith the bigotry and ambition of weak and wicked priests and princes have scourged mankind, this convention doth further, in the name and by the authority of the good people of this state, ordain, determine, and desire, that the free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall be forever hereafter be allowed, within this state, to all mankind: PROVIDED That the liberty of conscience, hereby granted, shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this state.

Article XXXIX. And whereas the ministers of the gospel are, by their profession, dedicated to the service of God and the care of souls, and ought not to be diverted from the great duties of their function, therefore, no minister of the gospel, or priest of any denomination whatsoever, shall, at any time hereafter, under and preference or description whatever, be eligible to, or capable of holding, any civil or military office or place within this state.”


3: Massachusetts Bay charter became the constitution of an semi-independent Commonwealth in 1630, they adjusted the charter to a Bible Commonwealth. Representation came about through the assembling all of the freemen to the General Court in person. In 1634 the freemen of every town sent one or two deputies to act as personal representatives. Men were made freemen or voters by special act of the General Court, and no one was eligible but members of the Puritan churches. A unique relationship of church and State was settled on. The ministers, chosen by the congregations, were ineligible for political office, but they had great influence, and as a body their opinion was consulted on constitutional questions. “Moses, his judicial” were originally declared the code of law, but this gave such extensive power of interpretation to the judges that a Bill of Rights, the Body of Liberties was established in 1641.

The Pilgrim Colony, older than Massachusetts Bay, had up till 1691 no other constitution than the Mayflower Compact of 1620. The Massachusetts Bill of Rights of 1780 declared it the duty of the legislature to require the support of Protestant worship and the authority to compel attendance thereon where conscientious scruples did not prevent the individual citizen. It did however leave each town or parish free to choose the minister of the citizens choice without stipulating he should be of the Congregational church. Taxes were levied for this support till 1818 when the constitution made all religious bodies equal before the law and severed all ties between church and state.

Massachusetts Constitution, Article XI; 1833
“[A]ll religious sects and denominations, demeaning themselves peaceably, and as good citizens of the commonwealth, shall be equally under the protection of the law; and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law.”


4: Maryland State Constitution, 1776
“Article XXXIII. That, as it is the duty of every man to worship God in such manner as he thinks most acceptable to him; all persons, professing the Christian religion, are equally entitled to protection in their religious liberty; wherefore no person ought by any law to be molested in his person or estate on account of his religious persuasion or profession, or for his religious practice; unless, under colour of religion, any man shall disturb the good order, peace or safety of the State, or shall infringe the laws of morality, or injure others, in their natural, civil, or religious rights; nor ought any person to be compelled to frequent or maintain, or contribute, unless on contract, to maintain any particular place of worship, or any particular ministry; yet the Legislature may, in their discretion, lay a general and equal tax for the support of the Christian religion; leaving to each individual the power of appointing the payment over of the money, collected from him, to the support of any particular place of worship or minister, or for the benefit of the poor of his own denomination, or the poor in general of any particular county: but the churches, chapels, globes, and all other property now belonging to the church of England, ought to remain to the church of England forever…

Article XXXV. That no other test or qualification ought to be required, on admission to any office of trust or profit, than such oath of support and fidelity to this State, and such oath of office, as shall be directed by this Convention or the Legislature of this State, and a declaration of a belief in the Christian religion.”


5: Charter of Delaware, 1701

“BECAUSE no People can be truly happy, though under the greatest Enjoyment of Civil Liberties, if abridged of the Freedom of their Consciences, as to their Religious Profession and Worship: And Almighty God being the only Lord of Conscience, Father of Lights and Spirits; and the Author as well as Object of all divine Knowledge, Faith and Worship, who only doth enlighten the Minds, and persuade and convince the Understandings of People, I do hereby grant and declare, That no Person or Persons, inhabiting in this Province or Territories, who shall confess and acknowledge Our almighty God, the Creator, Upholder and Ruler of the world; and professes him or themselves obliged to live quietly under the Civil Government, shall be in any Case molested or prejudiced, in his or their Person or Estate, because of his or their consciencious Persuasion or Practice, nor be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious Worship, Place or Ministry, contrary to his or their Mind, or to do or suffer any other Act or Thing, contrary to their religious Persuasion.

AND that all Persons who also profess to believe in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the World, shall be capable (notwithstanding their other Persuasions and Practices in Point of Conscience and Religion) to serve this Government in any Capacity, both legislatively and executively…”

Delaware Declaration of Rights and Fundamental Rules; 1776
“That all Men have a natural and unalienable Right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates Of their own conscience and understandings; that no Man ought or of right can he compelled to attend any religious Worship or maintain any Ministry contrary to or against his own free Will and Consent, and that no Authority can or Ought to be vested in, or assumed by any Power whatever that shall in any Case interfere with, or in any Manner control the Right of Conscience in the Free exercise of Religious Worship.

That all Persons professing the Christian Religion ought forever to enjoy equal Rights and Privileges in this State…”

Delaware State Constitution; 1776
“Article 22. Every person who shall be chosen a member of either House, or appointed to any office or place of trust… shall take the following oath: ‘I _______, do profess faith in God the Father, and in Jesus Christ His only Son, and in the Holy Ghost, One God, blessed for evermore; and I do acknowledge the holy scriptures of the Old Testament and New Testament to be given by Divine Inspiration.’

Article 29. There shall be no establishment of any religious sect in this State in preference to another; and no clergyman or preacher of the gospel, of any denomination, shall be capable of holding any civil office in this state, or of being a member of either of the branches of the legislature, while they continue in the exercise of the pastoral function.”


6: Connecticut Colony Charter; 1692
“[O]ur said people, Inhabitants there, may bee soe religiously, peaceably and civilly Governed as their good life and orderly Conversacon may wynn and invite the Natives of the Country to the knowledge and obedience of the onely true God and Saviour of mankind, and the Christian faith, which in our Royall intencons and the Adventurers free profession is the onely and principall end of this Plantacon.”

Connecticut Constitution; 1818
“Article I. Section 3. The exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination, shall forever be free to all persons in this State, provided that the right hereby declared and established shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or to justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of the State.

Article I. Section 4. No preference shall be given by law to any Christian sect or mode of worship.

Article VII. Section 1. It being the duty of all men to worship the Supreme Being, the great Creator and Preserver of the Universe, and their right to render that worship in the mode most consistent with the dictates or their consciences, no person shall by law be compelled to join or support, nor be classed with, or associated to, any congregation, church, or religious association; but every person now belonging to such congregation, church, or religious association, shall remain a member thereof until he shall have separated himself therefrom, in the manner hereinafter provided. And each and every society or denomination of Christians in this State shall have and enjoy the same and equal powers, rights, and privileges; and shall have power and authority support and maintain the ministers or teachers of their respective denominations, and to build and repair houses for public worship by a tax on the members of any such society only, to be laid by a major vote of the legal voters assembled at any society meeting, warned and held according to law, or in any other manner.”


7: New Hampshire Constitution; 1784
“Article III. When men enter into a State of society they surrender up some of their natural rights to that society, in order to ensure the protection of others…

Article IV. Among the natural rights, some are in their very nature unalienable, because no equivalent can be given or received for them. Of this kind are the RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE…

Article V. Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship GOD according to the dictates of his own conscience and reason; and no person shall be hurt, molested, or restrained in is person, liberty, or estate for worshipping God in the manner most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience, or for his religious profession, sentiments, or persuasion; provided he doth not disturb the public peace or disturb others in their religious worship.

Senate. Provided, nevertheless, That no person shall be capable of being elected a senator who is not of the Protestant religion…
House of Representatives. Every member of the house of representatives… shall be of the Protestant religion…
President. [H]e shall be of the Protestant religion.”

The Toleration Act; 1819
“And be it further enacted, that each religious sect or denomination of Christians in this State may associate and form societies, may admit members, may establish rules and bylaws for their regulation and government, and shall have all the corporate powers which may be necessary to assess and raise money by taxes upon the polls and ratable estate of the members of such associations, and to collect and appropriate the same for the purpose of building and repairing houses of public worship, and for the support of the ministry; and the assessors and collectors of such associations shall have the same powers in assessing and collecting, and shall be liable to the same penalties as similar town officers have and are liable to–Provided that no person shall be compelled to join or support, or be classed with, or associated to any congregation, church or religious society without his express consent first had and obtain–Provided also, if any person shall choose to separate himself from such society, or association to which he may belong, and shall leave a written notice thereof with the clerk of such society or association, he shall thereupon be no longer liable for any future expenses which may be incurred by said society or association–Provided also, that no association or society shall exercise the powers herein granted until it shall have assumed a name and stile by which such society may be known and distinguished in law, and shall have recorded the same in a book of records to be kept by the clerk of said Society, and shall have published the same in some newspaper in the County where such society may be formed if any be printed therein, and if not then in some paper published in some adjoining County.”


8: Charter of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations; 1663
“That [the inhabitants], pursueing, with peaceable and loyall minces, their sober, serious and religious intentions, of goalie edifieing themselves, and one another, in the holy Christian faith and worship, as they werepersuaded; together with the gaining over and conversion of the poor ignorant Indian natives, in thoseparts of America, to the sincere profession and obedience of the same faith and worship…

true pietye rightly grounded upon gospell principles, will give the best and greatest security to sovereignetye, and will lay in the hearts of men the strongest obligations to true loyaltye: Now know bee, that wee beinge willinge to encourage the hopefull undertakeinge of oure sayd lovall and loveinge subjects, and to secure them in the free exercise and enjovment of all theire civill and religious rights, appertaining to them, as our loveing subjects; and to preserve unto them that libertye, in the true Christian ffaith and worshipp of God…

That our royall will and pleasure is, that noe person within the sayd colonye, at any tyme hereafter, shall bee any wise molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question, for any differences in opinione in matters of religion, and doe not actually disturb the civill peace of our sayd colony; but that all and everye person and persons may, from tyme to tyme, and at all tymes hereafter, freelye and fullye have and enjoye his and theire owne judgments and consciences, in matters of religious concernments…

and to direct, rule, order and dispose of, all other matters and things, and particularly that which relates to the makinge of purchases of the native Indians, as to them shall seeme meete; wherebv oure sayd people and inhabitants, in the sayd Plantationes, may be soe religiously, peaceably and civilly governed, as that, by theire good life and orderlie conversations, they may win and invite the native Indians of the countrie to the knowledge and obedience of the onlie true God, and Saviour of mankinde…”

Rhode Island Constitution, Article I, Section 3; 1842
“Whereas Almighty God hath created the mind free; and all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burdens, or by civil incapacitations, tend to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness; and whereas a principal object of our venerable ancestors, in their migration to this country and their settlement of this state, was, as they expressed it, to hold forth a lively experiment that a flourishing civil state may stand and be best maintained with full liberty in religious concernments; we, therefore, declare that no person shall be compelled to frequent or to support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatever, except in fulfillment of such person’s voluntary contract; nor enforced, restrained, molested, or burdened in body or goods; nor disqualified from holding any office; nor otherwise suffer on account of such person’s religious belief; and that every person shall be free to worship God according to the dictates of such person’s conscience, and to profess and by argument to maintain such person’s opinion in matters of religion; and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect the civil capacity of any person.”


9: Georgia Constitution; 1777
“Article VI. [R]epresentatives… shall be of the Protestant religion…

Article LVI. All persons whatever shall have the free exercise of their religion; provided it be not repugnant to the peace and safety of the State; and shall not, unless by consent, support any teacher or teachers except those of their own profession.”

Georgia Constitution Amended; 1789
Article I. Section 3. The ‘representatives… shall be of the Protestant religion…’ requirement was removed.

“Article IV. Section 5. All persons shall have the free exercise of religion, without being obligated to contribute to the support of any religious but their own.”

Georgia Constitution Amended; 1798
“Article IV. Section 10. No person within this state shall, upon any pretense, be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshipping God in any manner agreeable to his own conscience, nor be compelled to attend any place of worship contrary to his own faith and judgment; nor shall he ever be obliged to pay tithes, taxes, or any other rate, for the building or repairing any place of worship, or for the maintenance of any minister or ministry, contrary to what he believes to be right, or hath voluntarily engaged. To do. No one religious society shall ever be established in this state, in preference to another; nor shall any person be denied the enjoyment of any civil right merely on account of his religious principles.”


10: North Carolina Constitution; 1776
“Article XIX. That all men have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences.

Article XXXI. That no clergyman, or preacher of the gospel, of any denomination, shall be capable of being a member of either the Senate, House of Commons, or Council of State, while he continues in the exercise of pastoral function.

Article XXXII. That no person, who shall deny the being of God or the truth of the Protestant religion, or the divine authority of the Old or New Testaments, or who shall hold religious principles incompatible with the freedom and safety of the State, shall be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit in the civil department within this State.

Article XXXIV. That there shall be no establishment of any one religious church or denomination in this State, in preference to any other; neither shall any person, on any presence whatsoever, be compelled to attend any place of worship contrary to his own faith or judgment, nor be obliged to pay, for the purchase of any glebe, or the building of any house of worship, or for the maintenance of any minister or ministry, contrary to what he believes right, of has voluntarily and personally engaged to perform; but all persons shall be at liberty to exercise their own mode of worship: — Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to exempt preachers of treasonable or seditious discourses, from legal trial and punishment.”

All religious requirements were removed in 1875


11: South Carolina Constitution; 1778
“Article XXXVIII. That all persons and religious societies who acknowledge that there is one God, and a future state of rewards and punishments, and that God is publicly to be worshipped, shall be freely tolerated. The Christian Protestant religion shall be deemed, and is hereby constituted and declared to be, the established religion of this State. That all denominations of Christian Protestants in this State, demeaning themselves peaceably and faithfully, shall enjoy equal religious and civil privileges. To accomplish this desirable purpose without injury to the religious property of those societies of Christians which are by law already incorporated for the purpose of religious worship, and to put it fully into the power of every other society of Christian Protestants, either already formed or hereafter to be formed, to obtain the like incorporation, it is hereby constituted, appointed, and declared that the respective societies of the Church of England that are already formed in this State for the purpose of religious worship shall still continue Incorporate and hold the religious property now in their possession. And that whenever fifteen or more male persons, not under twenty-one years of age, professing the Christian Protestant religion, and agreeing to unite themselves in a society for the purposes of religious worship, they shall, (on complying with the terms hereinafter mentioned,) be, and be constituted, a church, and be esteemed and regarded in law as of the established religion of the state, and on a petition to the legislature shall be entitled to be incorporated and to enjoy equal privileges. That every society of Christians so formed shall give themselves a name or denomination by which they shall be called and known in law, and all that associate with them for the purposes of worship shall be esteemed as belonging to the society so called. But that previous to the establishment and incorporation of the respective societies of every denomination as aforesaid, and in order to entitle them thereto, each society so petitioning shall have agreed to and subscribed in a book the following five articles, without which no agreement or union of men upon pretense of religion shall entitle them to be incorporated and esteemed as a church of the established religion of this State:

1st. That there is one eternal God, and a future state of rewards and punishments.

2d. That God is publicly to be worshipped.

3d. That the Christian religion is the true religion.

4th. That the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are of divine inspiration, and are the rule of faith and practice.

5th That it is lawful and the duty of every man being thereunto called by those that govern, to bear witness to the truth.”

South Carolina Constitution; 1790
“Article VIII, Section 1. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever hereafter be allowed within this State to all mankind, PROVIDED, That the liberty of conscience thereby declared shall not be construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace and safety of this State.”


12: Pennsylvania Constitution; 1776
“Section. 2. That all men have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their Own consciences and understanding: And that no man ought or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship, or erect or support any place of worship, or maintain any ministry, contrary to, or against, his own free will and consent: nor can any man, who acknowledges the being of a God, be justly deprived or abridged of any civil right as a citizen, on account or his religious sentiments or peculiar mode of religious worship: And that no authority can or ought to be vested in, or assumed by any power whatever, that shall in any case interfere with, or In any manner controul, the right of conscience in the free exercise of religious worship.

Section 10… shall each [representative] before they proceed to business take… the following oath or affirmation:

‘I do believe in one God, the creator and governor of the universe, the rewarder of the good and punisher of the wicked. And I do acknowledge the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament to be given by Divine inspiration.’

And no further or other religious test shall ever hereafter be required of any civil officer or magistrate in this state.”

Pennsylvania Constitution, Article IX, Section 4; 1790
“That no person, who acknowledges the being of God and a future state of rewards and punishments, shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this commonwealth.”


13: New Jersey Constitution; 1776
“XVIII. That no person shall ever, within this Colony, be deprived of the inestimable privilege of worshipping Almighty God in a manner agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; nor, under any pretense whatever, be compelled to attend any place of worship, contrary to his own faith and judgment; nor shall any person, within this Colony, ever be obliged to pay tithes, taxes, or any other rates, for the purpose of building or repairing any other church or churches, place or places of worship, or for the maintenance of any minister or ministry, contrary to what he believes to be right, or has deliberately or voluntarily engaged himself to perform.

XIX. That there shall be no establishment of any one religious sect in this Province, in preference to another; and that no Protestant inhabitant of this Colony shall be denied the enjoyment of any civil right, merely on account of his religious principles; but that all persons, professing a belief in the faith of any Protestant sect, who shall demean themselves peaceably under the government, as hereby established, shall be capable of being elected into any office of profit or trust, or being a member of either branch of the Legislature, and shall fully and freely enjoy every privilege and immunity, enjoyed by others their fellow subjects.”

New Jersey Constitution, Rights and Privileges, Article I, Section 4; 1844
“There shall be no establishment of one religious sect in preference to another; no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust; and no person shall be denied the enjoyment of any civil right merely on account of his religious principles.”


Annals of the Congress of the United States; by United States. Congress, Joseph Gales, Sr.
A History of the Congregational Churches in the United States; by Williston Walker
A View of the Constitution(s) of the British Colonies: In North America; by Anthony Stokes
Pleas for religious liberty and the rights of conscience; by George Ticknor Curtis, Franklin S. Richards

Copyright © 2014 © 2015 TeaPartyEdu Foundation Truths The Patriot Brotherhood @CaptainJDavis

Thomas Jefferson Third Annual Address as President October 1803

Jefferson Federal vs State Governments (Click to enlarge)

Jefferson Federal vs State Governments (Click to enlarge)


To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States :—

In calling you together, fellow citizens, at an earlier day than was contemplated by the act of the last session of Congress, I have not been insensible to the personal inconveniences necessarily resulting from an unexpected change in your arrangements. But matters of great public concernment have rendered this call necessary, and the interest you feel in these will supersede in your minds all private considerations.

Congress witnessed, at their last session, the extraordinary agitation produced in the public mind by the suspension of our right of deposit at the port of New Orleans, no assignment of another place having been made according to treaty. They were sensible that the continuance of that privation would be more injurious to our nation than any consequences which could flow from any mode of redress, but reposing just confidence in the good faith of the government whose officer had committed the wrong, friendly and reasonable representations were resorted to, and the right of deposit was restored.

Previous, however, to this period, we had not been unaware of the danger to which our peace would be perpetually exposed while so important a key to the commerce of the western country remained under foreign power. Difficulties, too, were presenting themselves as to the navigation of other streams, which, arising within our territories, pass through those adjacent. Propositions had, therefore, been authorized for obtaining, on fair conditions, the sovereignty of New Orleans, and of other possessions in that quarter interesting to our quiet, to such extent as was deemed practicable; and the provisional appropriation of two millions of dollars, to be applied and accounted for by the president of the United States, intended as part of the price, was considered as conveying the sanction of Congress to the acquisition proposed. The enlightened government of France saw, with just discernment, the importance to both nations of such liberal arrangements as might best and permanently promote the peace, friendship, and interests of both ; and the property and sovereignty of all Louisiana, which had been restored to them, have on certain conditions been transferred to the United States by instruments bearing date the 30th of April last. When these shall have received the constitutional sanction of the senate, they will without delay be communicated to the representatives also, for the exercise of their functions, as to those conditions which are within the powers vested by the constitution in Congress. While the property and sovereignty of the Mississippi and its waters secure an independent outlet for the produce of the western States, and an uncontrolled navigation through their whole course, free from collision with other powers and the dangers to our peace from that source, the fertility of the country, its climate and extent, promise in due season important aids to our treasury, an ample provision for our posterity, and a wide-spread field for the blessings of freedom and equal laws.

With the wisdom of Congress it will rest to take those ulterior measures which may be necessary for the immediate occupation and temporary government of the country; for its incorporation into our Union ; for rendering the change of government a blessing to our newly-adopted brethren; for securing to them the rights of conscience and of property; for confirming to the Indian inhabitants their occupancy and self-government, establishing friendly and commercial relations with them, and for ascertaining the geography of the country acquired. Such materials for your information, relative to its affairs in general, as the short space of time has permitted me to collect, will be laid before you when the subject shall be in a state for your consideration.

Another important acquisition of territory has also been made since the last session of Congress. The friendly tribe of Kaskaskia Indians with which we have never had a difference, reduced by the wars and wants of savage life to a few individuals unable to defend themselves against the neighboring tribes, has transferred its country to the United States, reserving only for its members what is sufficient to maintain them in an agricultural way. The considerations stipulated are, that we shall extend to them our patronage and protection, and give them certain annual aids in money, in implements of agriculture, and other articles of their choice. This country, among the most fertile within our limits, extending along the Mississippi from the mouth of the Illinois to and up the Ohio, though not so necessary as a barrier since the acquisition of the other bank, may yet be well worthy of being laid open to immediate settlement, as its inhabitants may descend with rapidity in support of the lower country should future circumstances expose that to foreign enterprize. As the stipulations in this treaty also involve matters within the competence of both houses only, it will be laid before Congress as soon as the senate shall have advised its ratification.

With many other Indian tribes, improvements in agriculture and household manufacture are advancing, and with all our peace and friendship are established on grounds much firmer than heretofore. The measure adopted of establishing trading houses among them, and of furnishing them necessaries in exchange for their commodities, at such moderated prices as leave no gain, but cover us from loss, has the most conciliatory and useful effect upon them, and is that which will best secure their peace and good will.

The small vessels authorized by Congress with a view to the Mediterranean service, have been sent into that sea, and will be more effectually to confine the Tripoline cruisers within their harbors, and supersede the necessity of convoy to our commerce in that quarter. They will sensibly lessen the expenses of that service the ensuing year.

A further knowledge of the ground in the north-eastern and north-western angles of the United States has evinced that the boundaries established by the treaty of Paris, between the British territories and ours in those parts, were too imperfectly described to be susceptible of execution. It has therefore been thought worthy of attention, for preserving and cherishing the harmony and useful intercourse subsisting between the two nations, to remove by timely arrangements what unfavorable incidents might otherwise render a ground of future misunderstanding. A convention has therefore been entered into, which provides for a practicable demarkation of those limits to the satisfaction of both parties.

An account of the receipts and expenditures of the year ending 30th September last, with the estimates for the service of the ensuing year, will be laid before you by the secretary of the treasury so soon as the receipts of the last quarter shall be returned from the more distant States. It is already ascertained that the amount paid into the treasury for that year has been between eleven and twelve millions of dollars, and that the revenue accrued during the same term exceeds the sum counted on as sufficient for our current expenses, and to extinguish the public debt within the period heretofore proposed.

The amount of debt paid for the same year is about three millions one hundred thousand dollars, exclusive of interest, and making, with the payment of the preceding year, a discharge of more than eight millions and a half of dollars of the principal of that debt, besides the accruing interest; and there remain in the treasury nearly six millions of dollars. Of these, eight hundred and eighty thousand have been reserved for payment of the first instalment due under the British convention of January 8th, 1802, and two millions are what have been before mentioned as placed by Congress under the power and accountability of the president, toward the price of New Orleans and other territories acquired, which, remaining untouched, are still applicable to that object, and go in diminution of the sum to be funded for it.

Should the acquisition of Louisiana be constitutionally confirmed and carried into effect, a sum of nearly thirteen millions of dollars will then be added to our public debt, most of which is payable after fifteen years; before which term the present existing debts will all be discharged by the established operation of the sinking fund. When we contemplate the ordinary annual augmentation of imposts from increasing population and wealth, the augmentation of the same revenue by its extension to the new acquisition, and the economies which may still be introduced into our public expenditures, I cannot but hope that Congress in reviewing their resources will find means to meet the intermediate interests of this additional debt without recurring to new taxes, and applying to this object only the ordinary progression of our revenue. Its extraordinary increase in times of foreign war will be the proper and sufficient fund for any measures of safety or precaution which that state of things may render necessary in our neutral position.

Remittances for the instalments of our foreign debt having been found practicable without loss, it has not been thought expedient to use the power given by a former act of Congress of continuing them by reloans, and of redeeming instead thereof equal sums of domestic debt, although no difficulty was found in obtaining that accommodation.

The sum of fifty thousand dollars appropriated by Congress for providing gun-boats, remains unexpended. The favorable and peaceful turn of affairs on the Mississippi rendered an immediate execution of that law unnecessary, and time was desirable in order that the institution of that branch of our force might begin on models the most approved by experience. The same issue of events dispensed with a resort to the appropriation of a million and a half of dollars contemplated for purposes which were effected by happier means.

We have seen with sincere concern the flames of war lighted up again in Europe, and nations with which we have the most friendly and useful relations engaged in mutual destruction. While we regret the miseries in which we see others involved let us bow with gratitude to that kind Providence which, inspiring with wisdom and moderation our late legislative councils while placed under the urgency of the greatest wrongs, guarded us from hastily entering into the sanguinary contest, and left us only to look on and to pity its ravages. These will be heaviest on those immediately engaged. Yet the nations pursuing peace will not be exempt from all evil. In the course of this conflict, let it be our endeavor, as it is our interest and desire, to cultivate the friendship of the belligerent nations by every act of justice and of incessant kindness; to receive their armed vessels with hospitality from the distresses of the sea, but to administer the means of annoyance to none; to establish in our harbors such a police as may maintain law and order; to restrain our citizens from embarking individually in a war in which their country takes no part; to punish severely those persons, citizen or alien, who shall usurp the cover of our flag for vessels not entitled to it, infecting thereby with suspicion those of real Americans, and committing us into controversies for the redress of wrongs not our own; to exact from every nation the observance, toward our vessels and citizens, of those principles and practices which all civilized people acknowledge; to merit the character of a just nation, and maintain that of an independent one, preferring every consequence to insult and habitual wrong. Congress will consider whether the existing laws enable us efficaciously to maintain this course with our citizens in all places, and with others while within the limits of our jurisdiction, and will give them the new modifications necessary for these objects. Some contraventions of right have already taken place, both within our jurisdictional limits and on the high seas. The friendly disposition of the governments from whose agents they have proceeded, as well as their wisdom and regard for justice , leaving us in reasonable expectation that they will be rectified and preserved in future; and that no act will be countenanced by them which threatens to disturb our friendly intercourse. Separated by a wide ocean from the nations of Europe, and from the political interests which entangle them together, with productions and wants which render our commerce and friendship useful to them and theirs to us, it cannot be the interest of any to assail us, nor ours to disturb them. We should be most unwise, indeed, were we to cast away the singular blessings of the position in which nature has placed us, the opportunity she has endowed us with of pursuing, at a distance from foreign contentions, the paths of industry, peace, and happiness; of cultivating general friendship, and of bringing collisions of interest to the umpirage of reason rather than of force. How desirable then must it be, in a government like ours, to see its citizens adopt individually the views, the interests, and the conduct which their country should pursue, divesting themselves of those passions and partialities which tend to lessen useful friendships, and to embarrass and embroil us in the calamitous scenes of Europe. Confident, fellow citizens, that you will duly estimate the importance of neutral dispositions toward the observance of neutral conduct, that you will be sensible how much it is our duty to look on the bloody arena spread before us with commiseration indeed, but with no other wish than to see it closed, I am persuaded you will cordially cherish these dispositions in all discussions among yourselves, and in all communications with your constituents; and I anticipate with satisfaction the measures of wisdom which the great interests now committed to you will give you an opportunity of providing, and myself that of approving and carrying into execution with the fidelity I owe to my country.


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Thomas Jefferson Second Annual Address as President December 1802

Thomas Jefferson concerning Divine Will

Thomas Jefferson concerning Divine Will (Click to enlarge)


To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States:—

When we assemble together, fellow citizens, to consider the state of our beloved country, our just attentions are first drawn to those pleasing circumstances which mark the goodness of that Being from whose favor they flow, and the large measure of thankfulness we owe for his bounty. Another year has come around, and finds us still blessed with peace and friendship abroad; law, order, and religion, at home; good affection and harmony with our Indian neighbors; our burdens lightened, yet our income sufficient for the public wants, and the produce of the year great beyond example. These, fellow citizens, are the circumstances under which we meet; and we remark with special satisfaction, those which, under the smiles of Providence, result from the skill, industry and order of our citizens, managing their own affairs in their own way and for their own use, unembarrassed by too much regulations, unoppressed by fiscal exactions.

On the restoration of peace in Europe, that portion of the general carrying trade which had fallen to our share during the war, was abridged by the returning competition of the belligerent powers. This was to be expected, and was just. But in addition we find in some parts of Europe monopolizing discriminations, which, in the form of duties, tend effectually to prohibit the carrying thither our own produce in our own vessels. From existing amities [friendships], and a spirit of justice, it is hoped that friendly discussion will produce a fair and adequate reciprocity. But should false calculations of interest defeat our hope, it rests with the legislature to decide whether they will meet inequalities abroad with countervailing inequalities at home, or provide for the evil in any other way.

It is with satisfaction I lay before you an act of the British parliament anticipating this subject so far as to authorize a mutual abolition of the duties and countervailing duties permitted under the treaty of 1794. It shows on their part a spirit of justice and friendly accommodation which it is our duty and our interest to cultivate with all nations. Whether this would produce a due equality in the navigation between the two countries, is a subject for your consideration.

Another circumstance which claims attention, as directly affecting the very source of our navigation, is the defect or the evasion of the law providing for the return of seamen, and particularly of those belonging to vessels sold abroad. Numbers of them, discharged in foreign ports, have been thrown on the hands of our consuls, who, to rescue them from the dangers into which their distresses might plunge them, and save them to their country, have found it necessary in some cases to return them at the public charge.

The cession of the Spanish province of Louisiana to France, which took place in the course of the late war, will, if carried into effect, make a change in the aspect of our foreign relations which will doubtless have a just weight in any deliberations of the legislature connected with that subject.

There was reason, not long since, to apprehend that the warfare in which we were engaged with Tripoli might be taken up by some others of the Barbary powers. A reinforcement, therefore, was immediately ordered to the vessels already there. Subsequent information, however, has removed these apprehensions for the present. To secure our commerce in that sea with the smallest force competent, we have supposed it best to watch strictly the harbor of Tripoli. Still, however, the shallowness of their coast, and the want of smaller vessels on our part, has permitted some cruisers to escape unobserved; and to one of these an American vessel unfortunately fell a prey. The captain, one American seamen, and two others of color, remain prisoners with them unless exchanged under an agreement formerly made with the bashaw [pasha], to whom, on the faith of that, some of his captive subjects had been restored.

The convention with the State of Georgia has been ratified by their legislature, and a repurchase from the Creeks has been consequently made of a part of the Tallahassee county. In this purchase has been also comprehended part of the lands within the fork of Oconee and Oakmulgee rivers. The particulars of the contract will be laid before Congress so soon as they shall be in a state for communication.

In order to remove every ground of difference possible with our Indian neighbors, I have proceeded in the work of settling with them and marking the boundaries between us. That with the Choctaw nation is fixed in one part, and will be through the whole in a short time. The country to which their title had been extinguished before the revolution is sufficient to receive a very respectable population, which Congress will probably see the expediency of encouraging so soon as the limits shall be declared. We are to view this position as an outpost of the United States, surrounded by strong neighbors and distant from its support. And how far that monopoly which prevents population should here be guarded against, and actual habitation made a condition of the continuance of title, will be for your consideration. A prompt settlement, too, of all existing rights and claims within this territory, presents itself as a preliminary operation.

In that part of the Indian territory which includes Vincennes, the lines settled with the neighboring tribes fix the extinction of their title at a breadth of twenty-four leagues from east to west, and about the same length parallel with and including the Wabash. They have also ceded a tract of four miles square, including the salt springs near the mouth of the river.

In the department of finance it is with pleasure I inform you that the receipts of external duties for the last twelve months have exceeded those of any former year, and that the ratio of increase has been also greater than usual. This has enabled us to answer all the regular exigencies of government, to pay from the treasury in one year upward of eight millions of dollars, principal and interest, of the public debt, exclusive of upward of one million paid by the sale of bank stock, and making in the whole a reduction of nearly five millions and a half of principal; and to have now in the treasury four millions and a a half of dollars, which are in a course of application to a further discharge of debt and current demands. Experience, too, so far, authorizes us to believe, if no extraordinary event supervenes, and the expenses which will be actually incurred shall not be greater than were contemplated by Congress at their last session, that we shall not be disappointed in the expectations then formed. But nevertheless, as the effect of peace on the amount of duties is not yet fully ascertained, it is the more necessary to practice every useful economy, and to incur no expense which may be avoided without prejudice.

The collection of the internal taxes having been completed in some of the States, the officers employed in it are of course out of commission. In others, they will be so shortly. But in a few, where the arrangement for the direct tax had been retarded, it will still be some time before the system is closed. It has not yet been thought necessary to employ the agent authorized by an act of the last session for transacting business in Europe relative to debts and loans. Nor have we used the power confided by the same act, of prolonging the foreign debts by reloans, and of redeeming, instead thereof, an equal sum of the domestic debt. Should, however, the difficulties of remittances on so large a scale render it necessary at any time, the power shall be executed, and the money thus unemployed abroad shall, in conformity with that law, be faithfully applied here in an equivalent extinction of domestic debt. When effects so salutary result from the plans you have already sanctioned, when merely by avoiding false objects of expense we are able, without a direct tax, without internal taxes, and without borrowing, to make large and effectual payments toward the discharge of our public debt and the emancipation of our posterity from that moral canker, it is an encouragement, fellow citizens, of the highest order, to proceed as we have begun, in substituting economy for taxation, and in pursuing what is useful for a nation placed as we are, rather than what is practiced by others under different circumstances. And whensoever we are destined to meet events which shall call forth all the energies of our countrymen, we have the firmest reliance on those energies, and the comfort of leaving for calls like these the extraordinary resources of loans and internal taxes. In the meantime, by payments of the principal of our debt, we are liberating, annually, portions of the external taxes, and forming from them a growing fund still further to lessen the necessity of recurring to extraordinary resources.

The usual accounts of receipts and expenditures for the last year, with an estimate of the expenses of the ensuing one, will be laid before you by the secretary of the treasury.

No change being deemed necessary in our military establishment, an estimate of its expenses for the ensuing year on its present footing, as also of the sums to be employed in fortifications and other objects within that department, has been prepared by the secretary of war, and will make a part of the general estimates which will be presented to you.

Considering that our regular troops are employed for local purposes, and that the militia is our general reliance for great and sudden emergencies, you will doubtless think this institution worthy of a review, and give it those improvements of which you find it susceptible.

Estimates for the naval department, prepared by the secretary of the navy for another year, will in like manner be communicated with the general estimates. A small force in the Mediterranean will still be necessary to restrain the Tripoline cruisers, and the uncertain tenure of peace with some other of the Barbary powers, may eventually require that force to be augmented. The necessity of procuring some smaller vessels for that service will raise the estimate, but the difference in their maintenance will soon make it a measure of economy.

Presuming it will be deemed expedient to expend annually a sum towards providing the naval defence which our situation may require, I cannot but recommend that the first appropriations for that purpose may go to the saving what we already possess. No cares, no attentions, can preserve vessels from rapid decay which lie in water and exposed to the sun. These decays require great and constant repairs, and will consume, if continued, a great portion of the money destined to naval purposes. To avoid this waste of our resources, it is proposed to add to our navy-yard here a dock, within which our vessels may be laid up dry and under cover from the sun. Under these circumstances experience proves that works of wood will remain scarcely at all affected by time. The great abundance of running water which this situation possesses, at heights far above the level of the tide, if employed as is practised for lock navigation, furnishes the means of raising and laying up our vessels on a dry and sheltered bed. And should the measure be found useful here, similar depositories for laying up as well as for building and repairing vessels may hereafter be undertaken at other navy-yards offering the same means. The plans and estimates of the work, prepared by a person of skill and experience, will be presented to you without delay; and from this it will be seen that scarcely more than has been the cost of one vessel is necessary to save the whole, and that the annual sum to be employed toward its completion may be adapted to the views of the legislature as to naval expenditure.

To cultivate peace and maintain commerce and navigation in all their lawful enterprises; to foster our fisheries and nurseries of navigation and for the nurture of man, and protect the manufactures adapted to our circumstances; to preserve the faith of the nation by an exact discharge of its debts and contracts, expend the public money with the same care and economy we would practise with our own, and impose on our citizens no unnecessary burden; to keep in all things within the pale of our constitutional powers, and cherish the federal union as the only rock of safety—these, fellow-citizens, are the landmarks by which we are to guide ourselves in all our proceedings. By continuing to make these our rule of action, we shall endear to our countrymen the true principles of their constitution, and promote a union of sentiment and of action equally auspicious to their happiness and safety. On my part, you may count on a cordial concurrence in every measure for the public good, and on all the information I possess which may enable you to discharge to advantage the high functions with which you are invested by your country.

Copyright © 2014 © 2015 TeaPartyEdu Foundation Truths The Patriot Brotherhood @CaptainJDavis

Thomas Jefferson First Annual Message as President December 1801


Preface: A most disgraceful state of affairs existed in the western Mediterranean. The Barbary Statesof Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, combining fanatical religion with mundane greed, were waging a war of piracy against the maritime nations of Christendom. They held the keys to the Mediterranean, and took tribute of Great Britain, France, Spain, Holland, Portugal, Venice, and Naples alike. America was expected to pay, too. An American brig, the Betsy, was seized and taken to Morocco in the spring of 1785, and its crew finally liberated only by the intervention of Spain. When asked by Jefferson with what right his people made war with an unoffending nation at peace with them, the Tripolitan envoy in London replied that it was “written in the Koran that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet [Mohammed] were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave.” Outrageous as the depredations of these fanatical pirates were, the impotent government of the United States under the Articles of Confederation could not stop them. Jefferson was ordered to make a “present” of $20,000 to the Dey of Algiers, the “King of Cruelties,” and another of $20,000 to the Sultan of Morocco. Tripoli demanded $150,000, with a tip of $15,000 for the ambassador, to guarantee a perpetual peace. We were reduced to bargaining with the monastic order of the Mathurins, who acted as emancipation brokers in the Barbary states, to get our sailors and captains ransomed at the best figures possible. Indignant over the treatment of civilized peoples by these Mohammedan brigands, Jefferson tried to unite the maritime nations of western Europe in a league to enforce peace and security in the Mediterranean.


Fellow Citizens of the Senate and House of Representatives:

It is a circumstance of sincere gratification to me that on meeting the great council of our nation, I am able to announce to them, on the grounds of reasonable certainty, that the wars and troubles which have for so many years afflicted our sister nations have at length come to an end, and that the communications of peace and commerce are once more opening among them. While we devoutly return thanks to the beneficent Being who has been pleased to breathe into them the spirit of conciliation and forgiveness, we are bound with peculiar gratitude to be thankful to him that our own peace has been preserved through so perilous a season, and ourselves permitted quietly to cultivate the earth and to practice and improve those arts which tend to increase our comforts. The assurances, indeed, of friendly disposition, received from all the powers with whom we have principal relations, had inspired a confidence that our peace with them would not have been disturbed. But a cessation of the irregularities which had affected the commerce of neutral nations, and of the irritations and injuries produced by them, cannot but add to this confidence; and strengthens, at the same time, the hope, that wrongs committed on unoffending friends, under a pressure of circumstances, will now be reviewed with candor, and will be considered as founding just claims of retribution for the past and new assurance for the future.

Among our Indian neighbors, also, a spirit of peace and friendship generally prevails; and I am happy to inform you that the continued efforts to introduce among them the implements and the practice of husbandry, and of the household arts, have not been without success; that they are becoming more and more sensible of the superiority of this dependence for clothing and subsistence over the precarious resources of hunting and fishing; and already we are able to announce, that instead of that constant diminution of their numbers, produced by their wars and their wants, some of them begin to experience an increase of population.

Jefferson, Evil Muslims & the Koran: 1785 (Click to enlarge)

Jefferson, Evil Muslims & the Koran: 1785 (Click to enlarge)

To this state of general peace with which we have been blessed, one only exception exists. Tripoli, the least considerable of the Barbary States, (fn. 1) had come forward with demands unfounded either in right or in compact, and had permitted itself to denounce war, on our failure to comply before a given day. The style of the demand admitted but one answer. I sent a small squadron of frigates into the Mediterranean, with assurances to that power of our sincere desire to remain in peace, but with orders to protect our commerce against the threatened attack. The measure was seasonable and salutary. The bey had already declared war in form. His cruisers were out. Two had arrived at Gibraltar. Our commerce in the Mediterranean was blockaded, and that of the Atlantic in peril. The arrival of our squadron dispelled the danger. One of the Tripolitan cruisers having fallen in with, and engaged the small schooner Enterprise, commanded by Lieutenant Sterret, which had gone as a tender to our larger vessels, was captured, after a heavy slaughter of her men, without the loss of a single one on our part. The bravery exhibited by our citizens on that element, will, I trust, be a testimony to the world that it is not the want of that virtue which makes us seek their peace, but a conscientious desire to direct the energies of our nation to the multiplication of the human race, and not to its destruction. Unauthorized by the constitution, without the sanction of Congress, to go beyond the line of defence, the vessel being disabled from committing further hostilities, was liberated with its crew. The legislature will doubtless consider whether, by authorizing measures of offence, also, they will place our force on an equal footing with that of its adversaries. I communicate all material information on this subject, that in the exercise of the important function confided by the constitution to the legislature exclusively, their judgment may form itself on a knowledge and consideration of every circumstance of weight.

I wish I could say that our situation with all the other Barbary states was entirely satisfactory. Discovering that some delays had taken place in the performance of certain articles stipulated by us, I thought it my duty, by immediate measures for fulfilling them, to vindicate to ourselves the right of considering the effect of departure from stipulation on their side. From the papers which will be laid before you, you will be enabled to judge whether our treaties are regarded by them as fixing at all the measure of their demands, or as guarding from the exercise of force our vessels within their power; and to consider how far it will be safe and expedient to leave our affairs with them in their present posture.

I lay before you the result of the census lately taken of our inhabitants, to a conformity with which we are to reduce the ensuing rates of representation and taxation. You will perceive that the increase of numbers during the last ten years, proceeding in geometrical ratio, promises a duplication in little more than twenty-two years. We contemplate this rapid growth, and the prospect it holds up to us, not with a view to the injuries it may enable us to do to others in some future day, but to the settlement of the extensive country still remaining vacant within our limits, to the multiplications of men susceptible of happiness, educated in the love of order, habituated to self-government, and valuing its blessings above all price.

Other circumstances, combined with the increase of numbers, have produced an augmentation of revenue arising from consumption, in a ratio far beyond that of population alone, and though the changes of foreign relations now taking place so desirably for the world, may for a season affect this branch of revenue, yet, weighing all probabilities of expense, as well as of income, there is reasonable ground of confidence that we may now safely dispense with all the internal taxes, comprehending excises, stamps, auctions, licenses, carriages, and refined sugars, to which the postage on newspapers may be added, to facilitate the progress of information, and that the remaining sources of revenue will be sufficient to provide for the support of government, to pay the interest on the public debts, and to discharge the principals in shorter periods than the laws or the general expectations had contemplated. War, indeed, and untoward events, may change this prospect of things, and call for expenses which the imposts could not meet; but sound principles will not justify our taxing the industry of our fellow citizens to accumulate treasure for wars to happen we know not when, and which might not perhaps happen but from the temptations offered by that treasure.

These views, however, of reducing our burdens, are formed on the expectation that a sensible, and at the same time a salutary reduction, may take place in our habitual expenditures. For this purpose, those of the civil government, the army, and navy, will need revisal.

When we consider that this government is charged with the external and mutual relations only of these states ; that the states themselves have principal care of our persons, our property, and our reputation, constituting the great field of human concerns, we may well doubt whether our organization is not too complicated, too expensive ; whether offices and officers have not been multiplied unnecessarily, and sometimes injuriously to the service they were meant to promote. I will cause to be laid before you an essay toward a statement of those who, under public employment of various kinds, draw money from the treasury or from our citizens. Time has not permitted a perfect enumeration, the ramifications of office being too multiplied and remote to be completely traced in a first trial. Among those who are dependent on executive discretion, I have begun the reduction of what was deemed necessary. The expenses of diplomatic agency have been considerably diminished. The inspectors of internal revenue who were found to obstruct the accountability of the institution, have been discontinued. Several agencies created by executive authority, on salaries fixed by that also, have been suppressed, and should suggest the expediency of regulating that power by law, so as to subject its exercises to legislative inspection and sanction. Other reformations of the same kind will be pursued with that caution which is requisite in removing useless things, not to injure what is retained. But the great mass of public offices is established by law, and, therefore, by law alone can be abolished. Should the legislature think it expedient to pass this roll in review, and try all its parts by the test of public utility, they may be assured of every aid and light which executive information can yield. Considering the general tendency to multiply offices and dependencies, and to increase expense to the ultimate term of burden which the citizen can bear, it behooves us to avail ourselves of every occasion which presents itself for taking off the surcharge; that it never may be seen here that, after leaving to labor the smallest portion of its earnings on which it can subsist, government shall itself consume the residue of what it was instituted to guard.

In our care, too, of the public contributions intrusted to our direction, it would be prudent to multiply barriers against their

dissipation, by appropriating specific sums to every specific purpose susceptible of definition; by disallowing all applications of money varying from the appropriation in object, or transcending it in amount; by reducing the undefined field of contingencies, and thereby circumscribing discretionary powers over money; and by bringing back to a single department all accountabilities for money where the examination may be prompt, efficacious, and uniform.

An account of the receipts and expenditures of the last year, as prepared by the secretary of the treasury, will as usual be laid before you. The success which has attended the late sales of the public lands, shows that with attention they may be made an important source of receipt. Among the payments, those made in discharge of the principal and interest of the national debt, will show that the public faith has been exactly maintained. To these will be added an estimate of appropriations necessary for the ensuing year. This last will of course be effected by such modifications of the systems of expense, as you shall think proper to adopt.

A statement has been formed by the secretary of war, on mature consideration, of all the posts and stations where garrisons will be expedient, and of the number of men requisite for each garrison. The whole amount is considerably short of the present military establishment. For the surplus no particular use can be pointed out. For defence against invasion, their number is as nothing; nor is it conceived needful or safe that a standing army should be kept up in time of peace for that purpose. Uncertain as we must ever be of the particular point in our circumference where an enemy may choose to invade us, the only force which can be ready at every point and competent to oppose them, is the body of neighboring citizens as formed into a militia. On these, collected from the parts most convenient, in numbers proportioned to the invading foe, it is best to rely, not only to meet the first attack, but if it threatens to be permanent, to maintain the defence until regulars may be engaged to relieve them. These considerations render it important that we should at every session continue to amend the defects which from time to time show themselves in the laws for regulating the militia, until they are sufficiently perfect. Nor should we now or at any time separate, until we can say we have done everything for the militia which we could do were an enemy at our door.

The provisions of military stores on hand will be laid before you, that you may judge of the additions still requisite.

With respect to the extent to which our naval preparations should be carried, some difference of opinion may be expected to appear; but just attention to the circumstances of every part of the Union will doubtless reconcile all. A small force will probably continue to be wanted for actual service in the Mediterranean. Whatever annual sum beyond that you may think proper to appropriate to naval preparations, would perhaps be better employed in providing those articles which may be kept without waste or consumption, and be in readiness when any exigence calls them into use. Progress has been made, as will appear by papers now communicated, in providing materials for seventy-four gun ships as directed by law.

How far the authority given by the legislature for procuring and establishing sites for naval purposes has been perfectly understood and pursued in the execution, admits of some doubt. A statement of the expenses already incurred on that subject, shall be laid before you. I have in certain cases suspended or slackened these expenditures, that the legislature might determine whether so many yards are necessary as have been contemplated. The works at this place are among those permitted to go on; and five of the seven frigates directed to be laid up, have been brought and laid up here, where, besides the safety of their position, they are under the eye of the executive administration, as well as of its agents, and where yourselves also will be guided by your own view in the legislative provisions respecting them which may from time to time be necessary. They are preserved in such condition, as well the vessels as whatever belongs to them, as to be at all times ready for sea on a short warning. Two others are yet to be laid up so soon as they shall have received the repairs requisite to put them also into sound condition. As a superintending officer will be necessary at each yard, his duties and emoluments, hitherto fixed by the executive, will be a more proper subject for legislation. A communication will also be made of our progress in the execution of the law respecting the vessels directed to be sold.

The fortifications of our harbors, more or less advanced, present considerations of great difficulty. While some of them are on a scale sufficiently proportioned to the advantages of their position, to the efficacy of their protection, and the importance of the points within it, others are so extensive, will cost so much in their first erection, so much in their maintenance, and require such a force to garrison them, as to make it questionable what is best now to be done. A statement of those commenced or projected, of the expenses already incurred, and estimates of their future cost, so far as can be foreseen, shall be laid before you, that you may be enabled to judge whether any attention is necessary in the laws respecting this subject.

Agriculture, manufactures, commerce, and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are the most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise. Protection from casual embarrassments, however, may sometimes be seasonably interposed. If in the course of your observations or inquiries they should appear to need any aid within the limits of our constitutional powers, your sense of their importance is a sufficient assurance they will occupy your attention. We cannot, indeed, but all feel an anxious solicitude for the difficulties under which our carrying trade will soon be placed. How far it can be relieved, otherwise than by time, is a subject of important consideration.

The judiciary system of the United States, and especially that portion of it recently erected, will of course present itself to the contemplation of Congress; and that they may be able to judge of the proportion which the institution bears to the business it has to perform, I have caused to be procured from the several States, and now lay before Congress, an exact statement of all the causes decided since the first establishment of the courts, and of those which were depending when additional courts and judges were brought in to their aid.

And while on the judiciary organization, it will be worthy your consideration, whether the protection of the inestimable institution of juries has been extended to all the cases involving the security of our persons and property. Their impartial selection also being essential to their value, we ought further to consider whether that is sufficiently secured in those States where they are named by a marshal depending on executive will, or designated by the court or by officers dependent on them.

I cannot omit recommending a revisal of the laws on the subject of naturalization. Considering the ordinary chances of human life, a denial of citizenship under a residence of fourteen years is a denial to a great proportion of those who ask it, and controls a policy pursued from their first settlement by many of these States, and still believed of consequence to their prosperity. And shall we refuse the unhappy fugitives from distress that hospitality which the savages of the wilderness extended to our fathers arriving in this land? Shall oppressed humanity find no asylum on this globe? The constitution, indeed, has wisely provided that, for admission to certain offices of important trust, a residence shall be required sufficient to develop character and design. But might not the general character and capabilities of a citizen be safely communicated to every one manifesting a bontifide purpose of embarking his life and fortunes permanently with us? with restrictions, perhaps, to guard against the fraudulent usurpation of our flag; an abuse which brings so much embarrassment and loss on the genuine citizen, and so much danger to the nation of being involved in war, that no endeavor should be spared to detect and suppress it.

These, fellow citizens, are the matters respecting the state of the nation, which I have thought of importance to be submitted to your consideration at this time. Some others of less moment, or not yet ready for communication, will be the subject of separate messages. I am happy in this opportunity of committing the arduous affairs of our government to the collected wisdom of the Union. Nothing shall be wanting on my part to inform, as far as in my power, the legislative judgment, nor to carry that judgment into faithful execution. The prudence and temperance of your discussions will promote, within your own walls, that conciliation which so much befriends rational conclusion; and by its example will encourage among our constituents that progress of opinion which is tending to unite them in object and in will. That all should be satisfied with any one order of things is not to be expected, but I indulge the pleasing persuasion that the great body of our citizens will cordially concur in honest and disinterested efforts, which have for their object to preserve the general and State governments in their constitutional form and equilibrium; to maintain peace abroad, and order and obedience to the laws at home; to establish principles and practices of administration favorable to the security of liberty and property, and to reduce expenses to what is necessary for the useful purposes of government.



Footnote(s): 1.
The Barbary States were the Arab Muslim (Islamic) States of North Africa; the Muslims were pirates, slavers, and generally the same as they are today. They committed piracy much the same way they do today in states like Somalia. North Africa at the time of Mohammed’s birth and centuries before were Christian States, from about 540 A.D. the Plague of Justinian wiped out about half the Christian population. Much as the Muslims do today, they wait for a peoples weakened condition where they as cowards are almost assured a victory. This left those states vulnerable to the Muslim Menace and by 711 A.D. all the Christian provinces fell to the Muslim sword of the moon god allah and their inhabitants enslaved. Just as the Romans had done before them with the true followers of Christ, christians were persecuted incessantly, killed horribly, and enslaved cruelly.

The vast area conquered by the Arab Muslims (followers of the false prophet and usurper Mohammed) became known as Barbary States; Morocco, Algeria, Tunis,  Tripoli, and Barca, which is sometimes included with Tripoli. The Muslims of North Africa practiced slavery on a vast scale by raiding the coasts of Europe and stealing men, women, and children for slavery or to obtain ransom money from their relatives. Their slave empire also extended southward into sub Sahara Africa. It should be noted before the Muslim’s enslaved their captives, it was universal in Africa for the victors to eat their captives or sacrifice them to idols, so the Muslims instituting slavery was actually a step toward civilizing those areas of Africa which practiced cannibalism. In the early periods of Europe, slavery was a general custom, which yielded only gradually to the humane influences of true Christianity. Fair haired Saxon slaves from England caught the attention of Pope Gregory in the slave markets of Rome, upon seeing them, he hailed them as angels.

They were constantly interrupting European and American shipping in the Mediterranean and Straits of Gibraltar, kidnapping, killing and enslaving European and American sailors, much like the Muslims do today.  Morocco was the first country to seize a U.S. ship. The Betsey was a merchant brig and was seized off the coast of Spain in 1784. Much like our government does today the Colonial government of the young Republic tried diplomacy before they realized trying to appease the Arab Muslims was a fools errand, and they decided to use force to stop the abuses by the Muslim’s in the Barbary States.

Just as the Crusades took place because of centuries of Muslim oppression of Christians and the constant invasions into Europe by the Muslim Menace, which would have overrun Europe if it had not been for the man (Charles “the Hammer” Martel) raised by God to stop the Muslim horde who had just sacked and were pillaging Aquitaine. Charles, under whose leadership the Europeans stopped the advance of the Muslim armies into Europe in 732. Much as the Muslim cowards do today, once defeated at the Battle of Tours they turned tail and ran all the way back to Iberia, which surprised Charles as he was expecting another attack from the Muslims who vastly outnumbered his army. Charles’ victory at the Battle of Tours saved Western Europe from the Muslim invasions and was a turning point in European history.

Reference: Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States; December 7, 1801
Thomas Jefferson by David Saville Muzzey

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Proceeding, fellow-citizens, to that qualification which the Constitution requires before my entrance on the charge again conferred upon me, it is my duty to express the deep sense I entertain of this new proof of confidence from my fellow-citizens at large, and the zeal with which it inspires me so to conduct myself as may best satisfy their just expectations.

On taking this station, on a former occasion, I declared the principles on which I believed it my duty to administer the affairs of our commonwealth. My conscience tells me that I have, on every occasion, acted up to that declaration, according to its obvious import, and to the understanding of every candid mind.

In the transaction of your foreign affairs, we have endeavored to cultivate the friendship of all nations, and especially of those with which we have the most important relations. We have done them justice on all occasions, favor where favor was lawful, and cherished mutual interests and intercourse on fair and equal terms. We are firmly convinced, and we act on that conviction, that with nations, as with individuals, our interests soundly calculated, will ever be found inseparable from our moral duties; and history bears witness to the fact, that a just nation is taken on its word, when recourse is had to armaments and wars to bridle others.

At home, fellow-citizens, you best know whether we have done well or ill. The suppression of unnecessary offices, of useless establishments and expenses, enabled us to discontinue our internal taxes. These, covering our land with officers, and opening our doors to their intrusions, had already begun that process of domiciliary vexation, which, once entered, is scarcely to be restrained from reaching, successively, every article of produce and property. If, among these taxes some minor ones fell which had not been inconvenient, it was because their amount would not have paid the officers who collected them, and because, if they had any merit, the State authorities might adopt them instead of others less approved.

The remaining revenue, on the consumption of foreign articles, is paid cheerfully by those who can afford to add foreign luxuries to domestic comforts. Being collected on our seaboard and frontiers only, and incorporated with the transactions of our mercantile citizens, it may be the pleasure and pride of an American to ask, what farmer, what mechanic, what laborer, ever sees a tax-gatherer of the United States? These contributions enable us to support the current expenses of the Government; to fulfil contracts with foreign nations; to extinguish the native right of soil within our limits; to extend those limits; and to apply such a surplus to our public debts as places at a short day their final redemption; and, that redemption once effected, the revenue thereby liberated may, by a just repartition among the States, and a corresponding amendment of the Constitution, be applied, in time of peace, to rivers, canals, roads, arts, manufactures, education, and other great objects, within each State. In time of war, if injustice by ourselves or others must sometimes produce war, increased, as the same revenue will be increased by population and consumption, and aided by other resources reserved for that crisis, it may meet, within the year all the expenses of the year, without encroaching on the rights of future generations, by burdening them with the debts of the past. War will then be but a suspension of useful works; and a return to a state of peace, a return to the progress of improvement.

I have said, fellow-citizens, that the income reserved had enabled us to extend our limits; but that extension may possibly pay for itself before we are called on, and, in the mean time, may keep down the accruing interest; in all events, it will repay the advances we have made. I know that the acquisition of Louisiana has been disapproved by some, from a candid apprehension that the enlargement of our territory would endanger its union. But who can limit the extent to which the federative principle may operate effectively? The larger our association, the less will it be shaken by local passions; and, in any view, is it not better that the opposite bank of the Mississippi should be settled by our own brethren and children, than by strangers of another family? With which shall we be most likely to live in harmony and friendly intercourse?

In matters of religion, I have considered that its free exercise is placed by the Constitution independent of the powers of the General Government. I have therefore undertaken, on no occasion, to prescribe the religious exercises suited to it, but have left them as the Constitution found them, under the direction and discipline of State and Church authorities acknowledged by the several religious societies.

The aboriginal inhabitants of these countries I have regarded with the commiseration their history inspires. Endowed with the faculties and the rights of men, breathing an ardent love of liberty and independence, and occupying a country which left them no desire but to be undisturbed, the stream of overflowing population from other regions directed itself on these shores. Without power to divert, or habits to contend against, they have been overwhelmed by the current, or driven before it. Now reduced within limits too narrow for the hunter state, humanity enjoins us to teach them agriculture and the domestic arts, to encourage them to that industry which alone can enable them to maintain their place in existence, and to prepare them, in time, for that state of society which to bodily comforts adds the improvement of the mind and morals. We have, therefore, liberally furnished them with the implements of husbandry and household use; we have placed among them instructors in the arts of first necessity; and they are covered with the aegis of the law against aggressors from among ourselves.

But the endeavors to enlighten them on the fate which awaits their present course of life, to induce them to exercise their reason, follow its dictates, and change their pursuits with the change of circumstances, have powerful obstacles to encounter. They are combated by the habits of their bodies, prejudice of their minds, ignorance, pride, and the influence of interested and crafty individuals among them, who feel themselves something in the present order of things, and fear to become nothing in any other. These persons inculcate a sanctimonious reverence for the customs of their ancestors; that whatsoever they did must be done through all time; that reason is a false guide, and to advance under its counsel in their physical, moral, or political conditions, is perilous innovation; that their duty is to remain as their Creator made them—ignorance being safety, and knowledge full of danger. In short, my friends, among them is seen the action and counteraction of good sense and bigotry. They, too, have their anti-philosophers, who find an interest in keeping things in their present state, who dread reformation, and exert all their faculties to maintain the ascendency of habit over the duty of improving our reason and obeying its mandates.

In giving these outlines, I do not mean, fellow-citizens, to arrogate to myself the merit of the measures; that is due, in the first place, to the reflecting character of our citizens at large, who, by the weight of public opinion, influence and strengthen the public measures. It is due to the sound discretion with which they select from among themselves those to whom they confide the legislative duties. It is due to the zeal and wisdom of the characters thus selected, who lay the foundations of public happiness in wholesome laws, the execution of which alone remains for others. And it is due to the able and faithful auxiliaries whose patriotism has associated with me in the executive functions.

During this course of administration, and in order to disturb it, the artillery of the press has been levelled against us, charged with whatsoever its licentiousness could devise or dare. These abuses of an institution so important to freedom and science are deeply to be regretted, inasmuch as they tend to lessen its usefulness and to sap its safety. They might, indeed, have been corrected by the wholesome punishments reserved and provided by the laws of the several States against falsehood and defamation; but public duties more urgent press on the time of public servants, and the offenders have therefore been left to find their punishment in the public indignation.

Nor was it uninteresting to the world, that an experiment should be fairly and fully made, whether freedom of discussion, unaided by power, is not sufficient for the propagation and protection of truth? Whether a government, conducting itself in the true spirit of its constitution, with zeal and purity, and doing no act which it would be unwilling the whole world should witness, can be written down by falsehood and defamation? The experiment has been tried. You have witnessed the scene. Our fellow-citizens have looked on cool and collected. They saw the latent source from which these outrages proceeded. They gathered around their public functionaries; and, when the Constitution called them to the decision by suffrage, they pronounced their verdict, honorable to those who had served them, and consolatory to the friend of man, who believes he may be intrusted with his own affairs.

No inference is here intended that the laws provided by the State against false and defamatory publications should not be enforced. He who has time, renders a service to public morals and public tranquillity in reforming these abuses by the salutary coercions of the law. But the experiment is noted to prove that, since truth and reason have maintained their ground against false opinions, in league with false facts, the press, confined to truth, needs no other legal restraint. The public judgment will correct false reasonings and opinions, on a full hearing of all parties; and no other definite line can be drawn between the inestimable liberty of the press and its demoralizing licentiousness. If there be still improprieties which this rule would not restrain, its supplement must be sought in the censorship of public opinion.

Contemplating the union of sentiment now manifested so generally, as auguring harmony and happiness to our future course, I offer to our country sincere congratulations. With those, too, not yet rallied to the same point, the disposition to do so is gaining strength. Facts are piercing through the veil drawn over them; and our doubting brethren will at length see that the mass of their fellow-citizens, with whom they cannot yet resolve to act, as to principles and measures, think as they think, and desire what they desire; that our wish, as well as theirs, is, that the public efforts may be directed honestly to the public good, that peace be cultivated, civil and religious liberty unassailed, law and order preserved, equality of rights maintained, and that state of property, equal or unequal, which results to every man from his own industry, or that of his father s. When satisfied of these views, it is not in human nature that they should not approve and support them. In the meantime, let us cherish them with patient affection; let us do them justice, and more than justice, in all competitions of interest.—and we need not doubt that truth, reason, and their own interests, will at length prevail—will gather them into the fold of their country, and will complete their entire union of opinion which gives to a nation the blessing of harmony, and the benefit of all its strength.

I shall now enter on the duties to which my fellow-citizens have again called me, and shall proceed in the spirit of those principles which they have approved. I fear not that any motives of interest may lead me astray. I am sensible of no passion which could seduce me, knowingly, from the path of justice; but the weaknesses of human nature, and the limits of my own understanding, will produce errors of judgment sometimes injurious to your interests. I shall need, therefore, all the indulgence I have heretofore experienced, the want of it will certainly not lessen with increasing years. I shall need, too, the favor of that Being in whose hands we are: who led our forefathers, as Israel of old, from their native land, and planted them in a country flowing with all the necessaries and comforts of life; who has covered our infancy with His providence, and our riper years with His wisdom and power; and to whose goodness I ask you to join with me in supplications, that He will so enlighten the minds of your servants, guide their councils, and prosper their measures, that whatsoever they do shall result in your good, and shall secure to you the peace, friendship, and approbation of all nations.—Writings of Jefferson; Paul Ford Ed., viii, 341. (March 4, 1805.)

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Friends and fellow-citizens:

Called upon to undertake the duties of the first executive office of our country, I avail myself of the presence of that portion of my fellow-citizens which is here assembled, to express my grateful thanks for the favor with which they have been pleased to look toward me, to declare a sincere consciousness that the task is above my talents, and that I approach it with those anxious and awful presentiments which the greatness of the charge and the weakness of my powers so justly inspire. A rising nation, spread over a wide and fruitful land; traversing all the seas with the rich productions of their industry; engaged in commerce with nations who feel power and forget right; advancing rapidly to destinies beyond the reach of mortal eye,—when I contemplate these transcendent objects, and see the honor, the happiness, and the hopes of this beloved country committed to the issue and the auspices of this day, I shrink from the contemplation, and humble myself before the magnitude of the undertaking. Utterly, indeed, should I despair, did not the presence of many whom I here see remind me that in the other high authorities provided by our Constitution I shall find resources of wisdom, of virtue, and of zeal, on which to rely under all difficulties. To you, then, gentlemen, who are charged with the sovereign functions of legislation, and to those associated with you, I look with encouragement for that guidance and support which may enable us to steer with safety the vessel in which we are all embarked, amid the conflicting elements of a troubled world.

During the contest of opinion through which we have passed, the animation of discussion and of exertions has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers, unused to think freely, and to speak and to write what they think; but, this being now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according to the rules of the Constitution, all will, of course, arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts for the common good. All, too. will bear in mind this sacred principle, that, though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate which would be oppression. Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind; let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions. During the throes and convulsions of the ancient world, during the agonizing spasms of infuriated man, seeking through blood and slaughter his long-lost liberty, it was not wonderful that the agitation of the billows should reach even this distant and peaceful shore; that this should be more felt and feared by some and less by others; that this should divide opinions as to measures of safety. But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all republicans; we are all federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union, or to change its republican form, let them stand, undisturbed, as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. I know, indeed, that some honest men fear that a republican government cannot be strong; that this Government is not strong enough. But would the honest patriot, in the full tide of successful experiment, abandon a Government which has so far kept us free and firm, on the theoretic and visionary fear that this Government, the world’s best hope, may, by possibility, want energy to preserve itself? I trust not. I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest Government on earth. I believe it is the only one where every man, at the call of the law, would fly to the standard of the law, and would meet invasions of the public order as his own personal concern. Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the form of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.

Let us, then, with a courage and confidence, pursue our own federal and republican principles, our attachment to our Union and representative government. Kindly separated by nature and a wide ocean from the exterminating havoc of one quarter of the globe; too high-minded to endure the degradations of the others; possessing a chosen country, with room enough for our descendants to the hundredth and thousandth generation; entertaining a due sense of our equal right to the use of our own faculties, to the acquisitions of our industry, to honor and confidence from our fellow-citizens, resulting not from birth but from our actions, and their sense of them; enlightened by a benign religion, professed, indeed, and practiced in various forms, yet all of them inculcating honesty, truth, temperance, gratitude, and the love of man; acknowledging and adoring an overruling Providence, which, by all its dispensations, proves that it delights in the happiness of man here, and his greater happiness hereafter; with all these blessings, what more is necessary to make us a happy and prosperous people? Still one thing more, fellow-citizens.— a wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circle of our felicities.

About to enter, fellow-citizens, on the exercise of duties which comprehend every thing dear and valuable to you, it is proper that you should understand what I deem the essential principles of our Government, and, consequently, those which ought to shape its administration. I will compress them within the narrowest compass they will bear, stating the general principle, but not all its limitations. Equal and exact justice to all men. of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none: the support of the State governments in all their rights, as the most competent administrations for our domestic concerns, and the surest bulwarks against anti-republican tendencies; the preservation of the General Government in its whole constitutional vigor, as the sheet-anchor of our peace at home and safety abroad; a jealous care of the right of election by the people—a mild and safe corrective of abuses which are lopped by the sword of revolution, where peaceable remedies are unprovided; absolute acquiescence in the decisions of the majority,— the vital principle of republics, from which is no appeal but to force, the vital principle and immediate parent of despotism; a well-disciplined militia,—our best reliance in peace and for the first moments of war, till regulars may relieve them; the supremacy of the civil over the military authority; economy in the public expense, that labor may be lightly burdened; the honest payment of our debts and sacred preservation of the public faith; encouragement of agriculture, and of commerce as its handmaid; the diffusion of information and arraignment of all abuses at the bar of public reason; freedom of religion; freedom of the press; freedom of person under the protection of the habeas corpus; and trial by juries impartially selected. These principles form the bright constellation which has gone before us, and guided our steps through an age of revolution and reformation. The wisdom of our sages and the blood of our heroes have been devoted to their attainment. They should be the creed of our political faith, the text of civic instruction, the touch-stone by which to try the services of those we trust; and should we wander from them in moments of error or of alarm, let us hasten to retrace our steps, and to regain the road which* alone leads to peace, liberty, and safety.

I repair, then, fellow-citizens, to the post you have assigned me. With experience enough in subordinate offices to have seen the difficulties of this, the greatest of all, I have learned to expect that it will rarely fall to the lot of imperfect man to retire from this station with the reputation and the favor which bring him into it. Without pretensions to that high confidence reposed in our first and greatest revolutionary character, whose pre-eminent services had entitled him to the first place in his country’s love, and destined for him the fairest page in the volume of faithful history, I ask so much confidence only as may give firmness and effect to the legal administration of your affairs. I shall often go wrong, through defect of judgment. When right, I shall often be thought wrong by those whose positions will not command a view of the whole ground. I ask your indulgence for my own errors, which will never be intentional; and your support against the errors of others, who may condemn what they would not if seen in all its parts. The approbation implied by your suffrage is a consolation to me for the past; and my future solicitude will be to retain the good opinion of those who have bestowed it in advance, to conciliate that of others by doing them all the good in my power, and to be instrumental to the happiness and freedom of all.

Relying, then, on the patronage of your good will, I advance with obedience to the work, ready to retire from it whenever you become sensible how much better choice it is in your power to make. And may that Infinite Power which rules the destinies of the universe, lead our councils to what is best, and give them a favorable issue for your peace and prosperity.— Writings of Jefferson; Paul Ford Ed., viii, i. (March 4, 1801.)

Copyright © 2014 © 2015 TeaPartyEdu Foundation Truths The Patriot Brotherhood @CaptainJDavis

John Quincy Adams Speech on the Intent of the Declaration of Independence

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


EDITORS NOTE: If You Can Read This Without Tears Rolling Down Your Cheeks By The Time You Are Finished; You Have Neither The Heart Of, Nor The Spirit Of A True American Patriot!

Isaiah 8:12 Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.

Oration to the Inhabitants of the Town of Newburyport Massachusetts from their Grateful Friend and Fellow Citizen John Quincy Adams; Independence Day: July 4,1837

WHY is it, Friends and Fellow Citizens, that you are here assembled? Why is it, that, entering upon the sixty-second year of our national existence, you have honored with an invitation to address you from this place, a fellow citizen of a former age, bearing in the records of his memory, the warm and vivid affections which attached him, at the distance of a full half century, to your town, and to your forefathers, then the cherished associates of his youthful days? Why is it that, next to the birth day of the Saviour of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day?—And why is it that, among the swarming myriads of our population,. thousands and tens of thousands among us, abstaining, under the dictate of religious principle, from the commemoration of that birth-day of Him, who brought life and immortality to light, yet unite with all their brethren of this community, year after year, in celebrating this, the birth-day of the nation?

Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birth-day of the Saviour? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the corner stone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity, and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfilment of the prophecies, announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Saviour and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets six hundred years before? Cast your eyes backwards upon the progress of time, sixty-one years from this day; and in the midst of the horrors and desolations of civil war, you behold an assembly of Planters, Shopkeepers, and Lawyers, the Representatives of the People of thirteen English Colonies, in North America, sitting in the City of Philadelphia.

These fifty-five men, on that day, unanimously adopt and publish to the world, a state paper under the simple title of “A DECLARATION.

The object of this Declaration was two-fold.

First, to proclaim the People of the thirteen United Colonies, one People, and in their name, and by their authority, to dissolve the political bands which had connected them with another People, that is, the People of Great Britain.

Secondly, to assume, in the name of this one People, of the thirteen United Colonies, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station, to which the Laws. of Nature, and of Nature’s God, entitled them.

With regard to the first of these purposes, the Declaration alleges a decent respect to the opinions of mankind, as requiring that the one people, separating themselves from another, should declare the causes, which impel them to the separation.—The specification of these causes, and the conclusion resulting from them, constitute the whole paper.

The Declaration was a manifesto, issued from a decent respect to the opinions of mankind, to justify the People of the North American Union, for their voluntary separation from the People of Great Britain, by alleging the causes which rendered this separation necessary.

The Declaration was, thus far, merely an occasional state paper, issued for a temporary purpose, to justify, in the eyes of the world, a People, in revolt against their acknowledged Sovereign, for renouncing their allegiance to him, and dissolving their political relations with the nation over which he presided.

For the second object of the Declaration, the assumption among the powers of the earth of the separate and equal station, to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitled them, no reason was assigned, — no justification was deemed necessary.

The first and chief purpose of the Declaration of Independence was interesting to those by whom it was issued, to the people, their constituents in whose name it was promulgated, and to the world of mankind to whom it was addressed, only during that period of time, in which the independence of the newly constituted people was contested, by the wager of battle. Six years of War, cruel, unrelenting, merciless War, —War, at once civil and foreign, were waged, testing the firmness and fortitude of the one People, in their inflexible adherence to that separation from the other, which their Representatives in Congress had proclaimed. By the signature of the Preliminary Articles of Peace, on the 30th of November 1782, their warfare was accomplished, and the Spirit of the Lord, with a voice reaching to the latest of future ages, might have exclaimed, like the sublime prophet of Israel,— Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. [Isaiah 40:2]

But, from that day forth, the separation of the one People from the other was a solitary fact in their common history; a mere incident in the progress of human events, not more deserving of special and annual commemoration by one of the separated parts, than by the other. Still less were the causes of the separation subjects for joyous retrospection by either of the parties. — The causes were acts of misgovernment committed by the King and Parliament of Great Britain. “In the exasperation of -the moment they were alleged to be acts of personal tyranny and oppression by the King. George the third was held individually responsible for them all. The real and most culpable oppressor, the British Parliament, was not even named, in the bill of pains and penalties brought against the monarch.—They were described only as “others” combined with him; and, after a recapitulation of all the grievances with which the Colonies had been afflicted by usurped British Legislation, the dreary catalogue was closed by the sentence of unqualified condemnation, that a prince, whose character was thus marked by every act which might define a tyrant, was unworthy to be the ruler of a free people.

The King, thus denounced by a portion of his subjects, casting off their allegiance to his crown, has long since gone to his reward. His reign was long, and disastrous to his people, and his life presents a melancholy picture of the wretchedness of all human grandeur; but we may now, with the candour of impartial history, acknowledge that he was not a tyrant. His personal character was endowed with many estimable qualities. His intentions were good; his disposition benevolent; his integrity unsullied; his domestic virtues exemplary; his religious impressions strong and conscientious; his private morals pure; his spirit munificent, in the promotion of the arts, literature and sciences; and his most fervent wishes devoted to the welfare of his people. But he was born to be a hereditary king, and to exemplify in his life and history the irremediable vices of that political-institution, which substitutes birth-for merit, as the only qualification for attaining the supremacy of power. George the third believed that the Parliament of Great Britain had the right to enact laws for the government of the people of the British Colonies in all cases. An immense majority of the people of the British Islands believed the same. That people were exclusively the constituents of the British House of Commons, where the project of taxing the people of the Colonies for a revenue originated; and where the People of the Colonies were not represented. The purpose of the project was to alleviate the burden of taxation bearing upon the people of Britain, by levying a portion of it upon the people of the Colonies. —At the root of all this there was a plausible theory of sovereignty, and unlimited power in Parliament, conflicting with the vital principle of English Freedom, that taxation and representation are inseparable, and that taxation without representation is a violation of the right of property. Here was a conflict between two first principles of government, resulting from a defect in the British Constitution: the principle that sovereign power in human Government is in its nature unlimited; and the principle that property can lawfully be taxed only with the consent of its owner. Now these two principles, carried out into practice, are utterly irreconcilable with each other. The lawyers of Great Britain held them both to be essential principles of the British Constitution. —In their practical application, the King and Parliament and people of Great Britain, appealed for the right to tax the Colonies to the unlimited and illimitable sovereignty of the Parliament.—The Colonists appealed to the natural right of property, and the articles of the Great Charter. The collision in the application of these two principles was the primitive cause of the severance of the North American Colonies, from the British Empire. The grievances alleged in the Declaration of Independence. were all secondary causes, amply sufficient to justify before God and man the separation itself; and that resolution, to the support of which the fifty-five Representatives of the One People of the United Colonies pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honour, after passing through the fiery ordeal of a six years war, was sanctioned by the God of Battles, and by the unqualified acknowledgment of the defeated adversary.

This, my countrymen, was the first and immediate purpose of the Declaration of Independence. It was to justify before the tribunal of public opinion, throughout the world, the solemn act of separation of the one people from the other.

But this is not the reason for which you are here assembled. The question of right and wrong involved in the resolution of North American Independence was of transcendent importance to those who were actors in the scene. A question of life, of fortune, of fame, of eternal welfare. To you, it is a question of nothing more than historical interest. The separation itself was a painful and distressing event; a measure resorted to by your forefathers with extreme reluctance, and justified by them, in their own eyes, only as a dictate of necessity.— They had gloried in the name of Britons: It was a passport of honour throughout the civilized world. They were now to discard it forever, with all its tender and all its generous sympathies, for a name obscure and unknown, the honest fame of which was to be achieved by the gallantry of their own exploits and the wisdom of their own counsels.

But, With the separation of the one people from the other, was indissolubly connected another event. They had been British Colonies, — distinct and separate subordinate portions of one great community. In the struggle of resistance against one common oppressor, by a moral centripetal impulse they had Spontaneously coalesced into One People. They declare themselves such in express terms by this paper. —The members of the Congress, who signed their names to the Declaration, style themselves the Representatives, not of the separate Colonies, but of the United States of America in Congress assembled. No one Colony is named in the Declaration, nor is there anything on its face, indicating from which of the Colonies, any one of the signers was delegated. They proclaim the separation of one people from another. — They affirm the right, of the People, to institute, alter, and abolish their Government: and their final language is, we do, in the name, and by the authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare that these United Colonies, are and of right ought to be “FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES.” The Declaration was not, that each of the States was separately Free and Independent, but that such was their united condition. And so essential was their union, both in principle and in fact, to their freedom and independence, that, had one of the Colonies seceded from the rest, and undertaken to declare herself free and independent, she could have maintained neither her independence nor her freedom.

And, by this paper, this One People did notify the world of mankind that they thereby did assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station, to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitled them.

This was indeed a great and solemn event. The sublimest of the prophets of antiquity with the voice of inspiration had exclaimed, “Who hath heard such a thing? Who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once?” [Isaiah 66:8] In the two thousand five hundred years, that had elapsed since the days of that prophecy, no such event had occurred. It had never been seen before. In the annals of the human race, then, for- the first time, did one People announce themselves as a member of that great community of the powers, of the earth, acknowledging the obligations and claiming the rights of the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God. The earth was made to bring forth in one day! A Nation was born at once!

Well, indeed, may such a day be commemorated by such a Nation, from year to year! But whether- as a day of festivity and joy, or of humiliation and mourning,—— that, fellow-citizens, — that,

In the various turns of chance below, depends not upon the event itself, but upon its consequences; and after threescore years of existence, not so much upon the responsibilities of those who brought the Nation forth, as upon the moral, political and intellectual character of the present generation,— of yourselves. In the common intercourse of social life, the birth-day of individuals is often held as a yearly festive day by themselves, and their immediate relatives; yet, as early as the age of Solomon, that wisest of men told the people of Jerusalem, that, as a good name was better than precious ointment, so the day of death was better than the day of one’s birth.[ Ecclesiastes7:1]

Are-you then assembled here, my brethren, children of those who declared your National Independence, in sorrow or in joy? In gratitude for blessings enjoyed, or in affliction for blessings lost? In exultation at the energies of your fathers, or in shame and confusion of face at your own degeneracy from their virtues? Forgive the apparent rudeness of these enquiries:—they are not addressed to you under the influence of a doubt what your answer to them will be. You are not here to unite in echoes of mutual gratulation for the separation of your forefathers from their kindred freemen of the British Islands. You are not here even to commemorate the mere accidental incident, that, in the annual revolution of the earth in her orbit round the sun, this was the birth-day of the Nation. You are here, to pause a moment and take breath, in the ceaseless and rapid race of time;—to look back and forward; — to take your point of departure from the ever memorable transactions of the day of which this is the anniversary, and while offering your tribute of thanksgiving to the Creator of all worlds, for the bounties of his Providence lavished upon your fathers and upon you, by the dispensatories of that day, and while recording with filial piety upon your memories, the grateful affections of your darts to the good name, the sufferings, and the services of that age, to turn your final reflections inward upon yourselves, and to say: —These are the glories of a generation past away, —what are the duties which they devolve upon us?

The Declaration of Independence, in announcing to the world of mankind, that the People comprising the thirteen British Colonies on the continent of North America assumed, from that day, as One People, their separate and equal station among the powersof the earth, explicitly unfolded the principles upon which their national association had, by their unanimous consent, and by the mutual pledges of their faith, been formed. It was an association of mutual covenants. Every intelligent individual member of that self-constituted People did, by his representative in Congress, the majority speaking for the whole, and the husband and parent for- the wife and child, bind his and their souls to a promise, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of his intentions, covenanting with all the rest that they would for life and death be faithful members of that community, and bear true allegiance to that Sovereign, upon the principles set forth in that paper. The lives, the fortunes, and the honour, of every free human being forming a part of those Colonies, were pledged, in the face of God and man, to the principles therein promulgated.

My countrymen!—the exposition of these principles will furnish the solution to the-question of the purpose for which you are here assembled.

In recurring to those principles, let us remark,
First, that the People of the thirteen Colonies announced themselves to the world, and solemnly bound themselves, with an appeal to God, to be One People. And this One People, by their Representatives, declared the United Colonies free and independent States.

Secondly, they declared the People, and not the States, to be the only legitimate source of power; and that to the People alone belonged the right to institute, to alter, to abolish, and to re-institute government. And hence it follows, that as the People of the separate Colonies or States formed only parts of the One People assuming their station among the powers of the earth, so the People of no one State could separate from the rest, but by a revolution, similar to that by which the whole People had separated themselves from the People of the British Islands, nor without the violation of that solemn covenant, by which they bound themselves to support and maintain the United Colonies, as free and independent States.

An error of the most dangerous character, more than once threatening the dissolution by violence of the Union itself, has occasionally found countenance and encouragement in several of the States, by an inference not only unwarranted by the language and import of the Declaraion, but subversive of its fundamental principles. This inference is, that because by this paper the United Colonies were declared free and independent States, therefore each of the States, separately, was free, independent and sovereign. The pernicious and fatal malignity of this doctrine consists, not in the mere attribution of sovereignty to the separate States; for within their appropriate functions and boundaries they are sovereign;—but in adopting that very definition of sovereignty, which had bewildered the senses of the British Parliament, and which rent in twain the Empire;—that principle, the resistance to which was the vital spark of the American revolutionary cause, namely, that sovereignty is identical with unlimited and illimitable power.

The origin of this error was of a very early date after the Declaration of Independence, and the infusion of its spirit into the Articles of Confederation, first formed for the government of the Union, was the seed of dissolution sown in the soil of that compact, which palsied all its energies from the day of its birth, and exhibited it to the world only as a monument of impotence and imbecility.

The Declaration did not proclaim the separate States free and independent; much less did it announce them as sovereign States, or affirm that they separately possessed the war-making or the peace-making power. The fact was directly the reverse.

The Declaration was, that the UnitedColonies, forming one People, were free and independent States; that they were absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown; that all political connection, between them and the State of Great Britain, was and ought-to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent States, they had full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and do all other acts and things, which independent States may of right do. But all this was affirmed and declared not of the separate, but of the United States. And so far was it from the intention of that Congress, or of the One People whom they represented, to declare that all the powers of sovereignty were possessed by the separate States, that the specification of the several powers of levying war, concluding peace, contracting alliances, and establishing commerce, was obviously introduced as the indication of powers exclusively possessed by the one People of the United States, and not appertaining to the People of each of the separate States. This distinction was indeed indispensable to the necessities of their condition. The Declaration was issued in the midst of a war, commenced by insurrection against their common sovereign, and until then raging as a civil war. Not the insurrection of one of the Colonies; not the insurrection of the organized government of any one of the Colonies; but the insurrection of the People of the Whole thirteen. The insurrection was one. The civil war was one. In constituting themselves one People, it could not possibly be their intention to leave the power of concluding peace to each of the States of which the Union was composed.. The war was waged against all. The war itself had united the inhabitants of the thirteen Colonies into one People. The lyre of Orpheus was the standard of the Union. By the representatives of that one People, and by them alone, could the peace be concluded. Had the people of any one of the States pretended to the right of concluding separate peace, the very fact would have operated as a dismemberment of the Union, and could have been carried into effect only by the return of that portion of the People to the condition of British subjects.

Thirdly, the Declaration of Independence announced the One People, assuming their station among the powers of the earth, as a civilized, religious, and Christian People, —acknowledging themselves bound by the obligations, and claiming the rights, to which they were entitled by the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.

They had formed a subordinate portion of an European Christian nation, in the condition of Colonies. The laws of social intercourse between sovereign communities constitute the laws of nations, all derived from three sources: — the laws of nature, or in other words the dictates of justice; usages, sanctioned by custom; and treaties, or national covenants. Superadded to these, the Christian nations, between themselves, admit, with various latitudes of interpretation, and little consistency of practice, the laws of humanity and mutual benevolence taughtin the gospel of Christ. The European Colonies in America had all been settled by Christian nations; and the first of them, settled before the reformation of Luther, had sought their justification for taking possession of lands inhabited by men of another race, in a grant of authority from the successor of Saint Peter at Rome, for converting the natives of the country to the Christian code of religion and morals. After the reformation, the kings of England, substituting themselves in the place of the Roman Pontiff, as heads of the Church, granted charters for the same benevolent purposes; and as these colonial establishments successively arose, worldly purposes, the spirit of adventure, and religious persecution took their place, together with the conversion of the heathen, among the motives for the European establishments in this Western Hemisphere. Hence had arisen among the colonizing nations, a customary law under which the commerce of all colonial settlements was confined exclusively to the metropolis or mother country. The Declaration of Independence cast off all the shackles of this dependency. The United States of America were no longer Colonies. They were an independent Nation of Christians, recognizing the general principles of the European law of nations.

But to justify their separation from the parent State, it became necessary for them to set forth the wrongs which they had endured. Their colonial condition had been instituted by charters from British kings. These they considered as compacts between the King as their sovereign and them as his subjects. In all these charters, there were stipulations for securing to the colonists the enjoyment of the rights of natural born Englishmen. The attempt to tax them by Act of Parliament was a violation of their charters. And as the Parliament, to sustain their right of taxing the Colonies had appealed to the prerogative of sovereign power, the colonists, to refute that claim, after appealing in vain to their charters, and to the Great Charter of England, were obliged to resort to the natural rights of mankind;—to the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.

And now, my friends and fellow citizens, have we not reached the cause of your assemblage here? Have we not ascended to the source of that deep, intense, and never-fading interest, which, to your fathers, from the day of the issuing of this Declaration,— to you, on this sixty-first anniversary after that event,—and to your children and theirs of the fiftieth generation, —has made and will continue to make it the first and happiest of festive days?


In setting forth the justifying causes of their separation from Great Britain, your fathers opened the fountains of the great deep. For the first time since the creation of the world, the act, which constituted a great people, laid the foundation of their government upon the unalterable and eternal principles of human rights.

They were comprised in a few short sentences, and were delivered with the unqualified confidence of self-evident truths. .

“We hold,” says the Declaration, “these truths to be self-evident:—that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to alter or to 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.”

It is afterwards stated to be the duty of the People, when their governments become incorrigibly oppressive, to throw them off, and to provide new guards for their future security; and it is alleged that such was the condition of the British Colonies at that time, and that they were constrained by necessity to alter their systems of government.

The origin of lawful government among men had formed a subject of profound investigation and of ardent discussion among the philosophers of ancient Greece. The theocratic government of the Hebrews had been founded upon a covenant between God and man; a law, given by the Creator of the world, and solemnly accepted by the people of Israel It derived all its powers, therefore, from the consent of the governed, and gave the sanction of Heaven itself to the principle, that the consent of the governed is the only legitimate source of authority to man over man.

But the history of mankind had never before furnished an example of a government directly and expressly instituted upon this principle. The associations of men, bearing the denomination of the People, had been variously formed, and the term itself was of very indefinite signification. In the most ordinary acceptation of the word, a people, was understood to mean a multitude of human beings united under one supreme government, and one and the same civil polity. But the same term was equally applied to subordinate divisions of the same nation; and the inhabitants of every province, county, city, town, or village, bore the name, as habitually as the whole population of a kingdom or an empire. In the theories of government, it was never imagined that the people of every hamlet or subordinate district of territory should possess the power of constituting themselves an independent State; yet are they justly entitled to the appellation of people, and to exemption from all authority derived from any other source than their own consent, express or implied.

The Declaration of Independence constituted all the inhabitants of European descent in the thirteen English Colonies of North America, one People, with all the attributes of rightful sovereign power. They had, until then, been ruled by thirteen different systems of government; none of them sovereign; but all subordinate to one sovereign, separated from them by the Atlantic Ocean-. The Declaration of Independence altered these systems of government, and transformed these dependant Colonies into united, free, and independent States.

The distribution of the sovereign powers of government, between the body representing the whole People, and the municipal authorities substituted for the colonial governments, was left for after consideration. The People of each Colony, absolved by the People of the whole Union from their allegiance to the British crown, became themselves, upon the principles of the Declaration, the sovereigns to institute and organize new systems of government, to take the place of those which had been abolished by the will of the whole People, as proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence.

It will be remembered, that, until that time, the whole movement of resistance against the usurpations of the British government had been revolutionary, and therefore irregular. The colonial governments were still under the organization of their charters, except that of Massachusetts-Bay, which had been formally vacated, and the royal government was administered by a military commander and regiments of soldiers. The country was in a state of civil war. The people were in revolt, claiming only the restoration of their violated rights as subjects-of the British king. The members of the Congress had been elected by the Legislative assemblies of the-Colonies, or by self-constituted popular conventions or assemblies, in opposition to the Governors. Their original mission had been to petition, to remonstrate; to disclaim all intention or purpose of independence; to seek, with earnest entreaty, the redress of grievances, and reconciliation with the parent State. They had received no authority, at their first appointment, to declare independence, or to dissolve the political connection between the Colonies-and Great Britain. But they had petitioned once and again, and their petitions had been slighted. They had remonstrated, and their remonstrances had been contemned. They had disclaimed all intention of independence, and their disclaimer had been despised. They had finally recommended to the People to look for their redemption to themselves, and they had been answered by voluntary and spontaneous calls for independence. They declared it, therefore, in the name and by the authority of the People, and their declaration was confirmed from New-Hampshire, to Georgia with one universal shout of approbation.

And never, from that to the present day, has there been one moment of regret, on the part of the People, whom they thus declared independent, at this mighty change of their condition, nor one moment of distrust, of the justice of that declaration. In the mysterious ways of Providence, manifested by the course of human events, the feeble light of reason is often at a loss to discover the Coincidence between the laws of eternal justice, and the decrees of fortune or of fate in the affairs of men; In the corrupted currents of this world, not only is the race not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong,[Ecclesiastes 9:11] but the heart is often wrung with anguish at the sight of the just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and of the wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness. [Ecclesiastes 7:15] Far different and happier is the retrospect upon that great and memorable transaction. Every individual, whose name was affixed to that paper, has finished his career upon earth; and who, at this day would not deem it a blessing to have had his name recorded on that list? The act of abolishing the government under which they had lived,—of renouncing and abjuring the allegiance by which they had been bound,—of dethroning their sovereign, and of discarding their country herself,—purified and elevated by the principles which they proclaimed, and by the motives which they promulgated as their stimulants to action,—stands recorded in the annals of the human race, as one among the brightest achievements of human virtue:—applauded on earth, ratified and confirmed by the fiat of Heaven.

The principles, thus triumphantly’ proclaimed and established, were the natural and unalienable rights of man, and the supreme authority of the People, as the only legitimate source of power in the institution of civil government. But let us not mistake the extent, nor turn our eyes from the limitations necessary for the application, of the principles themselves. Who were the People, thus invested by the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God, with sovereign powers? And what were the sovereign powers thus vested in the People?

First, the whole free People of the thirteen United British Colonies in North America. The Declaration was their act; prepared by their Representatives; in their name, and by their authority. An act of the most transcendent sovereignty; abolishing the governments of thirteen Colonies; absolving their inhabitants from the bands of their allegiance, and declaring the whole People of the British Islands, theretofore their fellow subjects and countrymen, aliens and foreigners.

Secondly, the free People of each of the thirteen Colonies, thus transformed into united, free, and independent States. Each of these formed a constituent portion of the whole People; and it is obvious that the power acknowledged to be in them could neither be co-extensive, nor inconsistent with, that rightfully exercised by the whole People.

In absolving the People of the thirteen United Colonies from the bands of their allegiance to the British crown, the Congress, representing the whole People, neither did not could absolve them, or any one individual among them, from the obligation of any other contract by which he had been previously bound. They neither did, nor could, for example, release any portion of the People from the duties of private and domestic life. They could not dissolve the relations of husband and wife; of parent and child; of guardian and ward; of master and servant; of partners in trade; of debtor and creditor;—nor by the investment of each of the Colonies with sovereign power could they bestow upon them the power of dissolving any of those relations, or of absolving any one of the individual citizens of the Colony from the fulfillment of all the obligations resulting from them.

The sovereign authority, conferred upon the People of the Colonies by the Declaration of Independence, could not dispense them; nor any individual citizen of them, from the fulfillment of all their moral obligations; for to these they were bound by the laws of Nature’s God; not is there any power upon earth capable of granting absolution from them. The People, who assumed their equal and separate station among the powers of the earth by the laws of Nature’s God, by that very act acknowledged themselves bound to the observance of those laws, and could neither exercise nor confer any power inconsistent with them.

The sovereign authority, conferred by the Declaration of Independence upon the people of each of the Colonies, could not extend to the exercise of any power inconsistent with that Declaration itself. It could not, for example, authorize any one of the United States to conclude a separate peace with Great Britain; to connect itself as a Colony with France, or any other European power; to contract a separate alliance with any other State of the Union; or separately to establish commerce. These are all acts of sovereignty, which the Declaration of Independence affirmed the United States were competent to perform, but which for that very reason were necessarily excluded from the powers of sovereignty conferred upon each of the separate States. The Declaration itself was at once a social compact of the whole People of the Union, embracing thirteen distinct communities united in one, and a manifesto proclaiming themselves to the world of mankind, as one Nation, possessed of all the attributes of sovereign power. But this united sovereignty could not possibly consist with the absolute sovereignty of each of the separate States.

“ That were to make
Strange contradiction, which to God himself
Impossible is held, as argument
Of weakness, not of power.” [John Milton: Paradise Lost]

The position, thus assumed by this one People consisting of thirteen free and independent States, was new in the history of the world. It was complicated and compounded of elements never before believed susceptible of being blended together. The error of the British Parliament, the proximate cause of the Revolution, that sovereignty was in its nature unlimited and illimitable, taught as a fundamental doctrine by all the English lawyers, was too deeply imprinted upon the minds of the lawyers of our own country to be eradicated, even by the civil war, which it had produced. The most celebrated British moralist of the age, Dr. Samuel Johnson, in a controversial tract on the dispute between Britain and her Colonies, had expressly laid down as the basis of his argument, that—“All government is essentially absolute. That in sovereignty there are no gradations. That there may be limited royalty; there may be limited consulship; but there can be no limited government. There must in every society be some power or other from which there is no appeal; which admits no restrictions; which pervades the whole mass of the community; regulates and adjusts all subordination; enacts laws or repeals them; erects or annuls judicatures; extends or contracts privileges; exempts itself from question or control; and bounded only by physical necessity.” [Johnson’s Taxation no Tyranny]

The Declaration of Independence was founded upon the direct reverse of all these propositions. It did not recognize, but implicitly denied, the unlimited nature of sovereignty. By the affirmation that the principal natural rights of mankind are unalienable, it placed them beyond the reach of organized human power; and by affirming that governments are instituted to secure them, and may and ought to be abolished if they become destructive of those ends, they made all government subordinate to the moral supremacy of the People.

The Declaration itself did not even announce the States assovereign, but as united, free and independent, and having power to do all acts and things which independent States may of right do. It acknowledged, therefore, a rule of right, paramount to the power of independent States itself, and virtually disclaimed all power to do wrong. This was a novelty in the moral philosophy of nations, and it is the essential point of difference between the system of government announced in the Declaration of Independence, and those systems which had until then prevailed among men. A moral Ruler of the universe, the Governor and Controller of all human power, is the only unlimited sovereign acknowledged by the Declaration of Independence; and it claims for the United States of America, when assuming their equal station among the nations of the earth only the power, to do all that may be done of right.

Threescore and one years have passed away, since this Declaration, was issued, and we may now judge of the tree by its fruit.. It was a bold and hazardous step, when considered merely as the act of separation of the Colonies from Great Britain, Had the cause in which it was issued failed, it would have subjected every individual who signed it to the pains and penalties of treason; to a cruel and ignominious death. But, inflexible as were the spirits, and intrepid as were the hearts of the patriots, who by this act set at defiance the colossal power of the British Empire, bolder and more intrepid still were the souls, which, at that crisis in human affairs, dared to proclaim the new and fundamental principles upon which their incipient Republic was to be founded. It was an experiment upon the heart of man. All the legislators of the human race, until that day, had laid the foundations of all government among men in power; and hence it was, that, in the maxims of theory, as well as in the practice of nations, sovereignty was held to be unlimited and illimitable. The Declaration of Independence proclaimed another law. A law of resistance against sovereign power, when wielded for oppression. A law ascending the tribunal of the universal lawgiver and judge. A law of right, binding upon nations as well as individuals, upon sovereigns as well as upon subjects. By that law the colonists had resisted their sovereign. By that law, when that resistance had failed to reclaim him to the rule of right, they renounced him, abjured his allegiance, and assumed the exercise of rightful sovereignty themselves. But, in assuming the attributes of sovereign power, they appealed to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of their intentions, and neither claimed nor conferred authority to do anything but of right.

Of the war with Great Britain, by which the independence thus declared was maintained, and of the peace by which it was acknowledged, it is unnecessary to say -more. The war was deeply. distressing and calamitous, and its most instructive lesson was to teach the new confederate Republic the -inestimable value of the blessings of peace. When the peace came, all controversy with Great Britain, with regard to the principles upon which the Declaration of Independence had been issued, was terminated, and ceased forever. The main purpose for which it had been issued was accomplished. No idle exultation of victory was worthy of the holy cause in which it had been achieved. No ungenerous triumph over the defeat of a generous adversary was consistent with the purity of the principles upon which the strife had been maintained. Had that contest furnished the only motives for the celebration of the day, its anniversary should have ceased to be commemorated, and the Fourth of July would thenceforward have passed unnoticed from year to year, scarcely numbered among the dies fasti of the Nation.

But the Declaration of Independence- had- abolished the government of the thirteen British Colonies in North America. A new government was to be instituted in its stead. A task more trying had devolved upon the People of the Union than the defence of their country against foreign armies; a duty more arduous than that of fighting the battles of the Revolution.

The elements and the principles for the formation of the new government were all contained in the Declaration of Independence; but the adjustment of them to the condition of the parties to the compact was a work of time, of reflection, of experience, of calm deliberation, of moral and intellectual exertion; for those elements were far from being homogeneous, and there were circumstances in the condition of the parties, far from conformable to the principles proclaimed. The Declaration had laid the foundation of all civil government, in the unalienable natural rights of individual man, of which it had specifically named three:—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, declaring them to be among others not enumerated. The revolution had been exclusively popular and democratic and the Declaration had announced that the only object of the institution of governments among men was to secure their unalienable rights, and that they derived their just powers from the consent of the governed. The Declaration proclaimed the parties to the compact as one People, composed of united Colonies, thenceforward free and independent States, constrained by- necessity to alter their former systems of government. It would seem necessarily to follow from these elements .and these principles, that the government for the whole People should have been instituted by the whole People, and the government of each of the independent States by the People of that State. But obvious as that conclusion is, it is nevertheless equally true, that it has not been wholly accomplished even to this day.

On, the tenth of May preceding the day of the Declaration, the Congress had adopted a resolution, which may be considered as the herald to that Independence. After its adoption it was considered of such transcendent importance, that a special committee of three members was appointed to prepare a preamble to it. On the fifteenth of May this preamble was reported, adopted, and ordered to be published, with the resolution, which had been adopted on the tenth. The preamble and resolution are in the following words:

“Whereas his Britannic Majesty, in conjunction with the Lords and Commons of Great Britain, has, by a late Act of Parliament, excluded the inhabitants of these United Colonies from the protection of his crown; and whereas no answer whatever to the humble petitions of the Colonies, for redress of grievances and reconciliation with Great Britain, has been or is likely to be given, but the whole course of that kingdom, aided by foreign mercenaries, is to be exerted for the destruction of the good people of these Colonies; and whereas it appears absolutely irreconcilable to reason and good conscience for the people of these Colonies now to take, the oaths and affirmations necessary for the support of any government under the crown of Great Britain, and it is necessary that the exercise of every kind of authority under the Said crown should be totally suppressed, and all the powers government exerted under the authority of the people of the Colonies, for the preservation of internal peace, virtue, and good order, as well as for the defence of their lives, liberties, and properties, against the hostile invasions and cruel depredations of their enemies:— Therefore, Resolved,

“That it be recommended to the respective assemblies and conventions of the United Colonies, where no government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs hath been hitherto established, to adopt such government as shall, in the opinion of the Representatives of the People, best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and America in general.”

The People of some of the Colonies had not waited for this recommendation, to assume all the powers of their internal government’ into their own hands. In some of them, the governments constituted by the royal charters were continued without alteration; or with the mere divestment of the portion of the public authority, exercised by the crown. In others, constitutions had been adopted, or were in preparation by representative popular conventions. Massachusetts was represented by a Provincial Congress, elected by the people as the General Court had been under the royal charter, and from that assembly the general Congress had been urgently invoked, for their advice in the formation of a government adapted to the emergency, and unshackled by transatlantic dependence.

The institution of civil government by the authority of the People, in each of the separate Colonies, was thus universally recognized as resulting from the dissolution of their allegiance to the British crown. But, that the union could be cemented and the national powers of government exercised of right, only by a constitution of government emanating from the whole People, was not yet discovered. The powers of the Congress then existing, were revolutionary and undefined; limited by no constitution; responsible to no common superior; dictated by the necessities of a death-struggle for freedom; and embracing all discretionary means to organize and maintain the resistance of the people of all the Colonies against the oppression of the British Parliament. In devising measures forgiving permanence, and, as far as human wisdom could provide, perpetuity, to the Union which had been formed by the common sufferings and dangers of the whole People, they universally concluded that a confederation would suffice; and that a confederation could be instituted by the authority of the States, without the intervention of the People.

On the twenty-first of July, 1775, nearly a year before the Declaration of Independence, a sketch of articles of confederation, and contingently perpetual union, had been presented to Congress by Doctor Franklin, for a confederacy, to be styled the United Colonies of North America. It was proposed that this confederacy should continue until a reconciliation with Great Britain should be effected, and only on failure of such reconciliation, to be perpetual. This project, contemplated only a partnership of Colonies to accomplish their common re-subjugation to the British crown. It made no provision for a community of independent States, and was encumbered with no burden of sovereignty. No further action upon the subject was had by Congress, till the eleventh of June, 1776.

Four days before this, that is, on the seventh of June, certain resolutions respecting independency had been moved and seconded. They were on the next day referred to a committee of the whole, and on Monday, the tenth of June, they were agreed to in the committee of the whole and reported to the Congress.

The first of these resolutions was that of independence.

The second was, that a committee be appointed to prepare and digest the form of a confederation, to be entered into between these Colonies.

The third, that a committee be appointed to prepare a plan of treaties to be proposed to foreign powers.

The consideration of the first resolution, that of independence, was postponed to Monday the first day of July; and, in the meanwhile, that no time should be lost, in case the Congress should agree thereto, it was resolved, that a committee be appointed to prepare at Declaration, to the effect of the resolution.

On the next day, the eleventh of June, the committee to prepare the Declaration of Independence was appointed; and immediately afterwards, the appointment of two other committees was resolved; one to prepare and digest the plan of a confederation, and the other to prepare the plan of treaties to be proposed to foreign powers.

These committees were appointed on the twelfth of June. The one, to prepare and digest the plan for a confederation, consisted of one member from each Colony. They reported on the twelfth day of July, eight days after the Declaration of Independence, a draught of articles of confederation and perpetual union between the Colonies, naming them all from New-Hampshire to Georgia.

The most remarkable characteristic of this paper is the indiscriminate use of the terms Colonies and States, pervading the whole document, both the words denoting the parties to the confederacy. The title declared a confederacy between Colonies, but the first article of the draught was—“The name of this confederacy shall be the United States of America.” In a passage of the l8th article, it was said,—“ The United States assembled, shall never engage the United Colonies in a war, unless the delegates of nine Colonies freely assent to the same.” The solution to this singularity was that the draught was in preparation before, and reported after, the Declaration of Independence. The principle upon which it was drawn up was, that the separate members of the confederacy should still continue Colonies, and only in their united capacity constitute States. The idea of separate State sovereignty had evidently no part in the composition of this paper. It was not countenanced in the Declaration of Independence; but appears to have been generated in the debates upon this draught of the articles of confederation, between the twelfth of July, and the ensuing twentieth of August, when it was reported by the committee of’ the whole in a new draught, from which the term Colony, as applied to the contracting parties, was carefully and universally excluded. The revised draught, as reported by the committee of the whole, exhibits, in the general tenour of its articles, less of the spirit of union, and more of the separate and sectional feeling, than the draught prepared by the first committee; and far more than the Declaration of Independence. This was, indeed, what must naturally have been expected, in the progress of a debate, involving all the jarring interests and all the latent prejudices of the several contracting parties; each member now considering himself as the representative of a separate and corporate interest, and no longer acting and speaking, as in the Declaration of Independence, in the name and by the authority of the whole People of the Union. Yet in the revised draught itself, reported by the committee of the whole, and therefore exhibiting the deliberate mind of the majority of Congress at that time, there was no assertion of sovereign power as of right intended to be reserved to the separate States. But, in the original draught, reported by the select committee on the twelfth of July, the first words of the second article were, — “The said Colonies unite themselves so as never to be divided by any act whatever.” Precious words!—words, pronounced by the infant Nation, at the instant of her rising from the baptismal font!—words bursting from the hearts and uttered by lips yet glowing with the touch from the coal of the Declaration!—why were ye stricken out at the revisal of the draught, as reported by the committee of the whole?—There was in the closing article, both of the original and of the revised draught, a provision in these words, following a stipulation that the articles of confederation, when ratified, should be observed by the parties — “And the union is to be perpetual.”—Words, which, considered as a mere repetition of the pledge, the sacred pledge given in those first words of the contracting parties in the original draught, — “The said Colonies unite themselves so as never to be divided by any act whatever,”—discover only the intenseness of the spirit of union, with which the draught had been prepared; but which, taken by themselves, and stripped of that precious pledge, given by the personification of the parties announcing their perpetual union to the world, —how cold and lifeless do they sound!— “And the union is to be perpetual!”—as if it was an after-thought, to guard against the conclusion that an union so loosely compacted, was not even intended to be permanent.

The original draught, prepared by the committee e0temporaneously with the preparation, by the other committee, of the Declaration of Independence, was in twenty articles. In the revised draught reported by the committee of the whole on the twentieth of August, the articles were reduced to sixteen. The four articles omitted, were the very grappling hooks of the Union. They secured to the citizens of each State, the rights of native citizens in all the rest; and they conferred upon Congress the power of ascertaining the boundaries of the several States, and of disposing of the public lands which should prove to be beyond them. All these were stricken out of the revised draught. You have seen the mutilation of the second article, which constituted the Union. The third article contained the reserved rights of the several parties to the compact, expressed in the original draught thus:

“Each Colony shall retain and enjoy as much of its present laws, rights, and customs, as it may think fit; and reserves to itself the sole and exclusive regulation and government of its internal police, in all matters that shall not interfere with the articles of this confederation.”

In the revised draught, the first clause was omitted, and the article read thus :

“Each State reserves to itself the sole and exclusive regulation and government of its internal police, in all matters that shall not interfere with the articles of this confederation.”

From the twentieth of August, 1776, to the eighth of April, 1777, although the Congress were in permanent session, without recess but from day to day, no further action upon the revised draught reported by the committee of the whole was had. The interval was the most gloomy and disastrous period of the war. The debates, on the draught of articles reported by the first committee, had evolved and disclosed all the sources of disunion existing between the several sections of the country, aggravated by the personal rivalries, which, between the leading members of a deliberative assembly, animated by the enthusiastic spirit of liberty, could not fail to arise. When, instead of a constitution of government for a whole People, a confederation of independent States was assumed, as the fundamental principle of the permanent union to be organized for the American nation, the centripetal and centrifugal political powers were at once brought into violent conflict with each other. The corporation and the popular spirits assumed opposite and adversary aspects. The federal and anti-federal parties originated. State pride, State prejudice, State jealousy, were soon embodied under the banners of State sovereignty, and while the cause of freedom and independence itself was drooping under the calamities of, war and pestilence, with a pennyless treasury, and an all but disbanded army the Congress of the people had no heart to proceed in the discussion of a confederacy, overrun by a victorious enemy, and on the point, to all external appearance, of being crushed by the wheels of a conqueror’s triumphal car.

On the eighth of April, 1777, the draught reported by the committee of the whole, on the preceding twentieth of August, was ‘nevertheless taken up; and it was resolved that two days in each week should be employed on that subject, until it should be wholly discussed in Congress. The exigencies of the war, however, did not admit the regular execution of this order. The articles were debated only upon six days in the months of April, May, and June, on the twenty-sixth of which month the farther consideration of them was indefinitely postponed.

On the eighteenth of September of that year, the Congress were obliged to withdraw from the city of Philadelphia, possession of which Was immediately afterwards taken by the British army under the command of Sir William Howe. Congress met again on the thirtieth of September, at Yorktown, in the state of Pennsylvania, and there, on the second of October, resumed the consideration of the articles of confederation. From that time to the fifteenth of November, the debates were unremitting. The yeas and nays, of which there had until then been no example, were now taken upon every prominent question submitted for consideration, and the struggle between the party of the States and the party of the People became, from day to day, more vehement and pertinacious. The first question upon which the yeas and nays were called was, that the representation in the Congress of the confederation should be proportional to a ratio of population, which was presented in two several modifications, and rejected in both. The next proposal was, that it should be proportional to the tax or contribution paid by the several States to the public treasury. This was also rejected; and it was finally settled as had been reported by the committee, that each State should have one vote. Then came the question of the proportional contributions of the several States. This involved the primary principle of the Revolution itself, which had been the indissoluble connection between taxation and representation. It follows as a necessary consequence from this, that all just taxation must be proportioned to representation; and here was the first stumbling block of the confederation. State sovereignty, which in the collision of debate had become stiff and intractable, insisted that, in the Congress of the Union, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Virginia and Delaware, should each have one vote and no more. But when the burdens of the confederacy came to be apportioned, this equality could no longer be preserved; a different proportion became indispensable, and a territorial basis was assumed, apportioned to the value ‘of improved land in each State. From the moment that these two questions were thus settled, it might have been foreseen that the confederacy must prove an abortion. Inequality and injustice were at its root. It was inconsistent with itself, and the seeds of its speedy dissolution were sown at its birth.

But the question of the respective contributions of the several States, brought up another and still more formidable cause of discord and collision. What were the several States themselves? What was their extent, and where were their respective boundaries? They claimed their territory by virtue of charters from the British kings, and by cessions from sundry tribes of Indians. But the charters of the kings were grossly inconsistent with one another. The charters had granted lands to several of the States, by lines of latitude from the Atlantic to the Pacific ocean. Yet by the treaty of peace of February, 1763, between Great Britain and France, the King of Great Britain had agreed that the boundary of the British territories in North America should be the middle of the river Mississippi, from its source to the river Iberville, and thence to the ocean. The British colonial settlements had never been extended westward of the Ohio, and when the peace should come to be concluded, it was exceedingly doubtful what western boundary could be obtained from the assent of Great Britain. Besides which, there were claims of Spain, and a system of policy in France, in no wise encouraging to the expectation of an extended western frontier to the United States.

Here then were collisions of interest between the States narrowly and definitely bounded westward, and the States claiming to the South sea or to the Mississippi, which it was in vain attempted to adjust. In the original draught of the articles of confederation, reported on the twelfth of July, among the powers proposed to be within the exclusive right of the United States assembled, were those of “limiting the bounds of those Colonies, which, by charter, or proclamation, or under any pretence, are said to extend to the South sea; and ascertaining those bounds of any other Colony that appear to be in, determinate: assigning territories for new Colonies, either in lands to be thus separated from Colonies, and heretofore purchased or obtained by the crown of Great Britain of the Indians, or hereafter to be purchased or obtained from them: disposing of all such lands for the general benefit of all the United Colonies: ascertaining boundaries to suchnew Colonies, within which forms of government are to be established on the principles of liberty.” This had been struck out of the revised articles reported by the committee of the whole. A proposition was now made to require of the Legislatures of the several States, a description of their territorial lands, and documentary evidence of their claims, to ascertain their boundaries by the articles of the confederation. This was rejected. Another proposition was, to bestow upon Congress the power to ascertain and fix the western boundary of the States claiming to the South sea, and to dispose of the lands beyond this boundary for the benefit of the Union. This also was rejected; as was a similar proposal with regard to the States claiming to the Mississippi, or to the South sea.

These were all unavailing efforts to restore to the definitive articles of confederation, the provisions concerning the boundaries of the several States which had been reported in the original draught, and struck out of the draught reported by the committee of the whole, on the twentieth of August, 1776. An interval of fourteen months had since elapsed, which seemed rather to have weakened the spirit of union, and to have strengthened the anti-social prejudices, and the lofty pretensions of State sovereignty. The articles containing the grant of powers to Congress, and prescribing restrictions upon those of the States, were fruitful of controversial questions and of litigious passions, which consumed much of the time of Congress till the fifteenth of November, 1777, when the articles of confederation, as finally matured and elaborated, were concluded and sent forth to the State Legislatures for their adoption. They were to take effect only when approved by them all, and ratified with their authority by their Delegates in Congress. It was provided, by one of the articles, that no alteration of them should ever be admitted, unless sanctioned with the same unanimity. There was a solemn promise, inserted in the concluding article, that the articles of confederation should be inviolably observed by every State, and that the Union should be perpetual.

The consummation of the triumph of unlimited State sovereignty over the spirit of union, was seen in the transposition of the second and third of the articles reported by the committees, and the inverted order of their insertion in the articles finally adopted.

The first article in them all gave the name, or as it was at last called, the style, of the confederacy, “The United States of America” The name, by which the nation has ever since been known, and now illustrious among the nations of the earth. The second article, of the plans reported to the Congress by the original committee ,and by the committee of the whole, constituted and declared the Union, in the first project commencing with those most affecting and ever-memorable words,—“ The said Colonies unite themselves so as never to be divided by any act whatever:” In the project reported by the committee of the whole, these words were struck out, but the article still constituted and declared the Union. The third article contained, in both projects, the rights reserved by the respective States; rights of internal legislation and police, in all matters not interfering with the articles of the confederation.

But on the fifteenth of November, 1777, when the partial, exclusive, selfish and jealous spirit of State sovereignty had been fermenting and fretting over the articles, stirring up all the oppositions of the corporate interests and humours of the parties, when the articles came to be concluded, the order of the second and third articles was inverted. The reservation of the rights of the separate States was made to precede the institution of the Union itself. Instead of limiting the reservation to its municipal laws and the regulation and government of their internal police, in all matters not interfering with the articles of the confederation, they ascend the throne of State sovereignty, and make the articles of confederation themselves mere specific exceptions to the general reservation of all the powers of government to themselves. The article was in these words: “Each State retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled.” How different from the spirit of the article, which began,—“The said Colonies unite themselves so as never to be divided by any act whatever!” The institution of the Union was now postponed to follow and not to precede the reservations; and cooled into a mere league of friendship and of mutual defence between the States. More than sixteen months of the time of Congress had been absorbed in the preparation of this document. More than three years and four months passed away before its confirmation by the Legislatures of all the States, and no sooner was it ratified, than its utter inefficiency to perform the functions of a government, or even to fulfill the purposes of a confederacy, became apparent to all ! In the Declaration of Independence, the members of Congress who signed it had spoken in the name and by the authority of the People of the Colonies. In the articles of confederation they had sunk into Representatives of the separate States; The genius of unlimited State Sovereignty had usurped the powers which belonged only to the People, and the State Legislatures, and their Representatives had arrogated to themselves the whole constituent power, while they themselves were Representatives only of fragments of the nation. ‘ ‘

The articles of confederation were satisfactory to no one of the States: they were adopted by many of them, after much procrastination, and with great reluctance. The State of Maryland persisted in withholding her ratification, until the question relating to the unsettled lands had been adjusted by cessions of them to the United States, for the benefit of them all, from the States separately claiming them to the South sea, or the Mississippi. The ratification of the articles was completed on the first of March, 1781, and the experiment of a merely confederated Union of the thirteen States commenced. It was the statue of Pygmalion before its animation,—beautiful and lifeless.

And where was the vital spark which was to quicken this marble into life’! It was in the Declaration of Independence. Analyze, at this distance of time, the two documents, with cool and philosophical impartiality, and you will exclaim,—Never, never since the creation of the world, did two state papers, emanating from the same body of men, exhibit more dissimilarity of character, or more conflict of principle! The Declaration, glowing with the spirit of union, speaking with one voice the vindication of one People for the act of separating themselves from another, and ascending to the First Cause, the dispenser of eternal justice, for the foundation of its reasoning:—The articles of confederation, stamped with the features of contention; beginning with niggardly [meager] reservations of corporate rights, and in the grant of powers, seeming to have fallen into the frame of mind described by the sentimental traveller, bargaining for a post chaise, and viewing his conventionist with an eye as if he was going with him to fight a duel !

Yet, let us not hastily charge our fathers with inconsistency“ for these repugnances between their different works. Let us never forget that the jealousy of power is the watchful handmaid to the spirit of freedom. Let the contemplation of these rugged and narrow passes of the mountains first with so much toil and exertion traversed by them, teach us that the smooth surfaces and rapid railways, which have since been opened to us, are but the means furnished to us of arriving by swifter conveyance to a more advanced stage of improvement in our condition. Let the obstacles, which they encountered and surmounted, teach us how much easier it is in morals and politics, as well as in natural philosophy and physics, to pull down than to build up, to demolish than to construct; then, how much more arduous and difficult was their task to form a system of polity for the people whom they ushered into the family of nations, than to separate them from the parent State; and lastly, the gratitude due from us to that Being whose providence watched over, protected, and guided our political infancy, and led our ancestors finally to retrace their steps, to correct their errors, and resort to the whole People of the Union for a constitution of government, emanating from themselves, which might realize that union so feelingly expressed by the first draught of their confederation, so as never to be divided by any act whatever.

The origin and history of this Constitution is doubtless familiar to most of my hearers, and should be held in perpetual remembrance by us all. It was the consummation of the Declaration of Independence. It has given the sanction of half a century’s experience to the principles of that Declaration. The attempt to sanction them by a confederation of sovereign States was made and signally failed. It was five years in coming to an immature birth, and expired after five years of languishing and impotent existence.

On the seventeenth of next September, fifty years will have passed away since the Constitution of the United States was presented to the People for their acceptance. On that day the twenty-fifth biennial Congress, organized by this Constitution, will be in session. And what a happy, what a glorious career have the people passed through in the half century of their and your existence associated under it! When that Constitution was adopted, the States of which it was composed were thirteen in number,—their whole population not exceeding three millions and a half of souls; the extent of territory within their boundary so large that it was believed too unwieldy to be manageable, even under one federative government, but less than one million of square miles ; without revenue; encumbered with a burdensome revolutionary debt, without means of discharging even the annual interest accruing upon it; with no manufactures; with a commerce scarcely less restricted than before the revolutionary war; denied by Spain the privilege of descending the Mississippi; denied by Great Britain the stipulated possession of a line of forts on the Canadian frontier; with a disastrous Indian war at the west; with a deep-laid Spanish intrigue with many of our own citizens, to dismember the Union, and subject to the dominion of Spain the whole valley of the Mississippi; with a Congress, imploring a grant of new powers to enable them to redeem the public faith, answered by a flat refusal, evasive conditions, or silent contempt; with popular insurrection scarcely extinguished in this our own native Commonwealth, and smoking into flame in several others of the States; with an impotent and despised government; a distressed, discontented, discordant people, and the fathers of the revolution burning with shame, and almost sinking into despair of its issue—Fellow citizens of a later generation! You, whose lot it has been to be born in happier times; you, who even now are smarting under a transient cloud intercepting the dazzling sun-shine of your prosperity;—think you that the pencil of fancy has been borrowed to deepen the shades of this dark and desolate picture? Ask of your surviving fathers, cotemporaries of him who now addresses you,—ask of them, whose hospitable mansions often welcomed him to their firesides, when he came in early youth to receive instruction from the gigantic intellect and profound learning of a Parsons,—ask of them, if there be any among you that survive, and they will tell you, that, far from being overcharged, the portraiture of that dismal day is only deficient in the faintness of its colouring and the lack of energy in the painter’s hand. Such was the Condition of this your beloved country after the close of the revolutionary war, under the blast of the desert, in the form of a confederacy; when, wafted, as on the spicy gales of Araby the blest, your Constitution, with WASHINGTON at its head,

“ Came o’er our cars like the sweet South
That breathes upon a bank of violets,
Stealing and giving odour.”

And what, under that Constitution, still the supreme law of the land, is the condition of your country at this hour? Spare me the unwelcome and painful task of adverting to that momentary affliction, visiting you through the errors of your own servants, and the overflowing spring-tides of your fortunes. These afflictions, though not joyous but grievous, are but for a moment, and the remedy for them is in your own hands. But what is the condition of your country,—resting upon foundations, if you retain and transmit to your posterity the spirit of your fathers, firm as the everlasting hills? What, looking beyond the mist of a thickened atmosphere, fleeting as the wind, and which the first breath of a zephyr will dispel, — what is the condition of your country? Is a rapid and steady increase of population, an index to the welfare of a nation? Your numbers are more than twice doubled in the half century since the Constitution was adopted as your fundamental law. Would those of you whose theories cling more closely to the federative element of your government, prefer the multiplication of States, to that of the People, as the standard test of prosperous fortunes? The number of your free and independent States has doubled in the same space of half a century, and your own soil is yet teeming with more. Is extent of territory, and the enlargement of borders, a blessing to a nation? And are you not surfeited [consumed too much of something] with the aggrandizement of your territory? Instead of one million of square miles, have you not more than two? Are not Louisiana and both the Floridas yours? Instead of sharing with Spain and Britain the contested waters of the Mississippi, have you not stretched beyond them westward, bestrided the summits of the Rocky Mountains, and planted your stripes and your stars on the shores of the Pacific ocean? And, as if this were not enough to fill the measure of your greatness, is not half Mexico panting for admission to your Union? Are not the islands of the Western Hemisphere looking with wistful eyes to a participation of your happiness, and a promise of your protection? Have not the holders of the Isthmus of Panama sent messengers of friendly greeting and solicitation to be received as members of your confederation? Is not the most imminent of your dangers that of expanding beyond the possibility of cohesion, even under one federative government;——and of tainting your atmosphere with the pestilence of exotic slavery?

Are the blessings of good government manifested by the enjoyment of liberty, by the security of property, by the freedom of thought, of speech, of action, pervading every portion of the community? Appeal to your own experience my fellow citizens; and, after answering without hesitation or doubt, affirmatively, all these enquiries, save the last,—if, when you come to them, you pause before you answer,—if, within the last five or seven years of your history, ungracious recollections of untoward events crowd upon your memory, and grate upon the feelings appropriate to this consecrated day, let them not disturb the serenity of your enjoyments, or interrupt the harmony of that mutual gratulation, in which you may yet all cordially join. But fix well in your minds, what were the principles first proclaimed by your forefathers, as the only foundations of lawful government upon earth.— Postpone the conclusion, of their application to the requirements of your own duties, till to-morrow;—but then fail not to remember the warnings, while reaping in peace and pleasantness the rewards, of this happy day.

And this, my fellow citizens, or I have mistaken the motives by which you have been actuated, is the purpose for which you are here assembled. It is to enjoy the bounties of heaven for the past, and to prepare for the duties of the future. his to review the principles proclaimed by the founders of your empire; to examine what has been their operation upon your own destinies, and upon the history of mankind; to scrutinize with an observing eye, and a cool, deliberate judgment, your condition at this day; to compare it with that of your fathers on the day which you propose to commemorate; and to discern what portion of their principles has been retained inviolate,—what portion of them has been weakened, impaired, or abandoned; and what portion of them it is your first of duties to retain, to preserve, to redeem, to transmit to your offspring, to be cherished, maintained, and transmitted to their posterity of unnumbered ages to come.

We have consulted the records of the past, and I have appealed to your consciousness of the present; and what is the sound, which they send forth to all the echoes of futurity, but Union; — Union as one People, — Union so as to be divided by no act whatever. We have a sound of modern days, — could it have come from an American voice? —that the value of the Union is to be calculated! — Calculated? By what system of Arithmetic? By what rule of proportion? Calculate the value of maternal tenderness and of filial affection; calculate the value of nuptial vows, of compassion to human suffering, of sympathy with affliction, of piety to God, and of charity to man; calculate the value of all that is precious to the heart, and all that is binding upon the soul; and then you will have the elements with which to calculate the value of the Union. But if cotton or tobacco, rocks or ice, metallic money or mimic paper, are to furnish the measure, the stamp act was the invention of a calculating statesman.

“Great financier! Stupendous calculator .”

And what the result of his system of computation was to the treasury of Great Britain, that will be the final settlement of every member Of this community, who calculates, with the primary numbers of State sovereignty and nullification, the value of the Union.

Our government is a complicated machine. We hold for an inviolable first principle, that the People are the source of all lawful authority upon earth. But we have one People to be governed by a legislative representation of fifteen millions of souls, and twenty-six Peoples, of numbers varying from less than one hundred thousand to more than two millions, governed for their internal police by legislative and executive magistrates of their own choice, and by laws of their own enacting; and all forming in the aggregate the one People as which they are known to the other nations of the civilized world. We have twenty-six States, with governments administered by these separate Legislatures and Executive Chiefs, and represented by equal numbers in the general Senate of the nation. This organization is an anomaly in the history of the world. It is that, which distinguishes us from all other nations ancient and modern; from the simple monarchies and republics of Europe; and from all the confederacies, which have figured in any age upon the face of the globe. The seeds of this complicated machine, were all sown in the Declaration of Independence; and their fruits can never be eradicated but by the dissolution of the Union. The calculators of the value of the Union, who would palm upon you, in the place of this sublime invention, a mere cluster of sovereign confederated States, do but sow the wind to reap the whirlwind. One, lamentable evidence of deep degeneracy from the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, is the countenance, which has been occasionally given, in various parts of the Union, to this-doctrine ; but his consolatory to know that, whenever it has been distinctly disclosed to the people, it has been rejected by them withpointed reprobation. It has, indeed, presented itself in its most malignant form in that portion of the Union, the civilinstitutions of which are most infected with the gangrene of Slavery. The inconsistency of the institution of domestic slavery with the principles of the Declaration of Independence was seen and lamented by all the southern patriots of the Revolution; by no one with deeper and more unalterable conviction, than by the author of the Declaration himself. No charge of insincerity or hypocrisy can be fairly laid to their charge. Never from their lips was heard one syllableof attempt to justify the institution of slavery. They universally considered it as a reproach fastened upon them by the unnatural step-mother country, and they saw that’ before the principles of the Declaration of Independence, slavery, in common with every other mode of oppression, was destined sooner or later to be banished from the earth. Such was the undoubting conviction of Jefferson to his dying day. In the Memoir of his Life, written at the age of seventy-seven, he gave to his countrymen the solemn and emphatic warning, that the day was not distant when they must hear and adopt the general emancipation of their slaves. “Nothing is more certainly written,” said he, “in the book of fate, than that these people are to be free.” [Jefferson’s Writings, Vol. 1, p. 40] My countrymen! it is written in a better volume than the book of fate; it is written in the laws of Nature and of Nature‘s God.

We are now told, indeed, by the learned doctors of the nullification school, that colour operates as a forfeiture of the rights of human nature; that a dark skin turns a man into a chattel; that crispy hair transforms a human being into a four-footed beast. The master-priest informs you, that slavery is consecrated; and sanctified by the Holy Scriptures of the old and new Testament; that Ham was the father of Canaan, and that all his posterity were doomed by his own~ father to be hewers of wood and drawers of water to the descendants of Shem and Japhet; that the native Americans of African descent are the children of Ham, with the curse of Noah still fastened upon them; and the native Americans of European descent are children of Japhet, pure Anglo-Saxon blood, born to command, and to live by the sweat of another’s brow. The master-philosopher teaches you that slavery is no curse, but a blessing!—that Providence— Providence! has so ordered it that this country should be inhabited by two races of men, one born to wield the scourge, and the other to bear the record of its stripes upon his back, one to earn through a toilsome life the other’s bread, and to feed him on a bed of roses; that slavery is the guardian and promoter of wisdom and virtue; that the slave, by labouring for another’s enjoyment, learns disinterestedness, and humility, and to melt with tenderness and affection for his master; that the master, nurtured, clothed, and sheltered by another’s toils, learns to be generous and grateful to the slave, and sometimes to feel for him as a father for his child; that, released from the necessity of supplying his own wants, he acquires opportunity of leisure to improve his mind, to purify his heart, to cultivate his taste; that he has time on his hands to plunge into the depths of philosophy, and to soar to the clear empyrean of seraphic morality. The master-statesman, — ay, the statesman in the land of the Declaration of Independence,—in the halls of national legislation, with the muse of history recording his words as they drop from his lips,—with the colossal figure of American liberty, leaning on a column entwined with the emblem of eternity, over his head,—with the forms of Washington and La Fayette, speaking to hint from the canvass,—turns to the image of the father of his country, and forgetting that the last act of his life was to emancipate his slaves, to bolster the cause of slavery says,— That man was a slaveholder.

My countrymen! These are the tenets of the modem nullification school. Can you wonder that they shrink from the light of free discussion? That they skulk from the grasp of freedom and of truth? Is there among you one who hears me, solicitous above all things for the preservation of the Union so truly dear to us,—of that Union, proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence. — of that Union, never to be divided by any act whatever,— and who dreads that the discussion of the merits of slavery will endanger the continuance of the Union? Let him discard his terrors, and be assured that they are no other than the phantom fears of nullification; that while doctrines like these are taught in her schools of philosophy, preached in her pulpits, and avowed in her legislative councils, the free and unrestrained discussion of the rights and wrongs of slavery, far from endangering the union of these States, is the only condition upon which that union can be preserved and perpetuated. What! Are you to be told with one breath, that the transcendent glory of this day consists in the proclamation that all lawful government is founded on the unalienable rights of man, and with the next breath that you must not whisper this truth to the winds, lest they should taint the atmosphere with freedom, and kindle the flame, of insurrection? Are you to bless the earth beneath your feet, because she spurns the footstep of a slave, and then to choke the utterance of your voice, lest the sound of liberty should be re-echoed from the palmetto groves, mingled with the discordant notes of disunion? No! no! Freedom of speech is the only safety Valve, which, under the high pressure of slavery, can preserve your political boiler from a fearful and fatal explosion. Let it be admitted that slavery is an institution of internal police, exclusively subject to the separate jurisdiction of the States where it is cherished as a blessing, or tolerated as an evil as yet irremediable. But let that slavery, which entrenches herself within the walls of her own impregnable fortress, not sally forth to conquest over the domain of freedom. Intrude not beyond the hallowed bounds of oppression ; but if you have by solemn compact doomed your ears to hear the distant clanking of the chain, let not the fetters of the slave be forged afresh upon your own soil; far less permit them to be riveted upon your own feet. Quench not the spirit of freedom. Let it go forth,—not in the panoply of fleshly wisdom, but with the promise of peace, and the voice of persuasion, clad in the whole armour of truth,—conquering and to conquer.

Friends and fellow citizens! I speak to you with the voice as of one risen from the dead. Were I now, as I shortly must be, cold in my grave, and could the sepulchre unbar its gates, and open to me a passage to this desk, devoted to the worship of almighty God, I would repeat the question with which this discourse was introduced: — “ Why are you assembled in this place”?; and one of you would answer me for all, —Because the Declaration of Independence, with the voice of an angel from heaven, “put to his mouth the sounding alchemy,” and proclaimed universal emancipation upon earth! It is not the separation of your forefathers from their kindred race beyond the Atlantic tide. It is not the union of thirteen British Colonies into one People and the entrance of that People upon the theatre, where kingdoms, and empires, and nations are the persons of the drama. It is not that this is the birth-day of the North American Union, the last and noblest offspring of time. It is that the first words uttered by the Genius [God] of our country, in announcing his existence to the world of mankind, was,— Freedom to the slave! Liberty to the captives! Redemption! redemption forever to the race of man, from the yoke of oppression! It is not the work of a day; it is not the labour of an age; it is not the consummation of a century, that we are assembled to commemorate. It is the emancipation of our race. It is the emancipation of man from the thralldom [Intellectually or morally enslaved; Servitude, or Bondage] of man!

And is this the language of enthusiasm? The dream of a distempered fancy’? Is it not rather the voice of inspiration? The language of holy writ? Why is it that the Scriptures, both of the old and new Covenant, teach you upon every page to look forward to the time, when the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid? Why is it that six hundred years before the birth of the Redeemer, the sublimest of prophets, with lips touched by the hallowed fire from the hand of God, spake and said,—“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound ?” [Isaiah 61:1] And why is it, that, at the, first dawn of the fulfillment of this prophesy, —at the birth-day of the Saviour in the lowest condition of human existence,—the angel of the Lord came in a flood of supernatural light upon the shepherds, witnesses of the scene and said,—Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people? Why is it, that there was suddenly with that angel, a multitude of the heavenly hosts, praising God, and saying,— Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace,—good will toward men? [Luke 2:9, 10, 13, 14]

What are the good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people? The prophet had told you six hundred years before, liberty to the captives,—the opening of the prison to them that are bound—The multitude of the heavenly host pronounced the conclusion, to be shouted hereafter by the universal choir of all intelligent created beings,—Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace,good will toward men.

Fellow citizens! Fellow Christians! Fellow men! Am I speaking to believers in the gospel of peace? To others, I am aware that the capacities of man for self or social improvement are subjects of distrust, or of derision. The sincere believer receives the rapturous promises of the future improvement of his kind, with humble hope and cheering confidence of their final fulfillment. He receives them too, with the admonition of God to his conscience, to contribute himself, by all the aspirations of his heart, and all the faculties of his soul, to their accomplishment. Tell not him of impossibilities, when human improvement is the theme. Nothing can be impossible, which may be effected by human will. See what has been effected! An attentive reader of the history of mankind, whether in the words of inspiration, or in the records of antiquity, or in the memory of his own experience, must perceive that the gradual improvement of his own condition upon earth is the inextinguishable mark of distinction between the animal man, I and every other animated being, with the innumerable multitudes of which every element of this sublunary globe is peopled. And yet, from the earliest records of time, this animal is the only one in the visible creation, who preys upon his kind. The savage man destroys and devours his captive foe. The partially civilized man spares his life, but makes him his slave. In the progress of civilization, both the life and liberty of the enemy vanquished or disarmed are spared; ransoms for prisoners are given and received. Progressing still in the paths to perpetual peace, exchanges are established, and restores the prisoner of war to his country and to the enjoyment of all his rights of property and of person. A custom, first introduced by mutual special convention, grows into a settled rule of the laws of nations, that persons occupied exclusively upon the arts of peace, shall with their property remain wholly unmolested in the conflicts of nations by arms. We ourselves have been bound by solemn engagements with one of the most warlike nations of Europe, to observe this rule, even in the utmost extremes of war; and in one of the most merciless periods of modern times, I have seen, towards the close of the last century, three members of the Society of Friends, with Barclay’s Apology and Penn’s Maxims in their hands, pass, peaceful travellers through the embattled hosts of France and Britain, unharmed, and unmolested, as the three children of Israel in the furnace of Nebuchadnezzar.

War, then, by the common consent and mere will of civilized man, has not only been divested of its most atrocious cruelties, but for multitudes, growing multitude: of individuals, has already been and is abolished. Why should it not be abolished for all? Let it be impressed upon the heart of every one of you,—impress it upon the minds of your children, that this, total abolition of war upon earth, is an improvement in the condition of man, entirely dependant on his own will. He cannot repeal or change the laws of physical nature. He cannot redeem himself from the ills that flesh is heir too; but the ills of war and slavery are all of his own creation. He has but to will, and he effects the cessation of them altogether.

The improvements in the condition of mankind upon: earth have been achieved from time to time by slow progression, sometimes retarded, by long stationary periods, and even by retrograde movements towards primitive barbarism. The invention of the alphabet and of printing are separated from each other by an interval of more than three thousand years. The art of navigation loses its origin in the darkness of antiquity; but the polarity of the magnet was yet undiscovered in the twelfth century of the Christian era; nor, when discovered, was it till three centuries later, that it disclosed to the European man, the continents of North and South America. The discovery of the laws of gravitation, and the still more recent application of the power of steam, have made large additions to the physical powers of man; and the inventions of machinery, within our own memory, have multiplied a thousand fold the capacities of improvement practicable by the agency of a single hand.

It is surely in the order of nature, as well as in the promises of inspiration, that the moral improvement in the condition of man, should keep pace with the multiplication of his physical capacities, comforts, and enjoyments. The mind while exerting its energies in the pursuit of happiness upon matter, cannot remain inactive or powerless to operate upon itself. The mind of the mariner, floating upon the ocean, dives to the bottom of the deep, and ascends to the luminaries of the skies. The useful manufactures exercise and sharpen the ingenuity of the workman; the liberal sciences absorb the silent meditations of the student; the elegant arts soften the temper and refine the taste of the artist; and all in concert contribute to the expansion of the intellect and the purification of the moral sense of our species. But man is a gregarious animal. Association is the second law of his nature, as self-preservation is the first. The most pressing want of association is government, and the government of nature is the patriarchal law, the authority of the parent over his children. With the division of families commences the conflict of interests. Avarice and ambition, jealousy and envy, take possession of the human heart and kindle the flames of war. Then it is that the laws of Nature become perverted, and the ruling passion of man is the destruction of his fellow-creature, man. This is the origin and the character of war, in the first stages of human societies. But war, waged by communities, requires a leader with absolute and uncontrolled command; and hence it is that monarchy and war have one and the same origin, and Nimrod, the mighty hunter before the Lord, was the first king and the first conqueror upon the record of time.

“A mighty hunter, and his prey was man.”

In process of time, when the passions of hatred, and fear, and revenge, have been glutted with the destruction of vanquished enemies,—when mercy claims her tribute from the satiated yet unsatisfied heart, and cupidity whispers that the life of the captive may be turned to useful account to the victor,—the practice of sparing his life on condition of his submission to perpetual slavery was introduced, and that was the condition of the Asiatic nations, and among them of the kingdoms of Israel and of Judah, when the prophesies of Isaiah were delivered. Then it was that this further great improvement in the condition of mankind was announced by the burning lips of the prophet. Then it was that the voice commissioned from Heaven proclaimed good tidings to the meek, mercy to the afflicted, liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.

It is generally admitted by Christians of all denominations, that the fulfillment of this prophesy commenced at the birth of the Redeemer, six hundred years after it was promulgated. That it did so commence was expressly affirmed by Jesus himself, who, on his appearance in his missionary character at Nazareth, we are told by the gospel of Luke, went into the synagogue on the sabbath-day, and stood up to read. And there was delivered to him the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when he had opened the book, he found this very passage which I have cited. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound! And he closed the book, and gave it again to the minister, and sat down.” [Luke 4:17, 18, 20, 21]

This was the deliberate declaration of the earthly object of his mission. He merely read the passage from the book of Isaiah. He returned the book to the minister, and, without application of what he had read, sat down. But that passage had been written six hundred years before. It was universally understood to refer to the expected Messiah. With what astonishment then must the worshippers in the synagogue of Nazareth have seen him, an unknown stranger, in the prime of manhood, stand up to read; on receiving the book, deliberately select and read that particular passage of the prophet; and without another word, close the volume, return it to the minister, and sit down! The historian adds, “and the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue, were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” [How Great and Glorious Our Savior Is…~CJD]

The advent of the Messiah, so long expected, was then self-declared. That day was that scripture fulfilled in their ears. They had heard him, at once reading from the book of the prophet, and speaking in the first person, declaring that the Spirit of the Lord God was upon himself. They heard him give a reason for this effluence of the Spirit of God upon him; because the Lord had anointed him to preach good tidings to the meek. They had heard him expressly affirm that the Lord had sent him to bind up the broken hearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound. The prophesy will therefore be fulfilled, not only in the ears, but in the will and in the practice, of mankind. But how many generations of men, how many ages of time, will pass away before its entire and final fulfillment? Alas! more than eighteen hundred years have passed away since the fulfillment of that scripture, which. announced the advent of the Saviour, and the blessed object of his mission. How long—Oh! how long will it be before that object itself shall be accomplished? Not yet are we permitted to go out with joy, and to be led forth with peace. Not yet shall the mountains and the hills break forth before us into singing, and all the trees of the field clap their hands. Not yet shall the fir tree come up instead of the thorn, nor the myrtle-tree instead of the brier. But let no one despair of the final accomplishment of the whole prophesy. Still shall it be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off. [Isaiah 55:12, 13] The prediction of the prophet, the self-declaration of the Messiah, and his annunciation of the objects of his mission, have been and are fulfilled, so far as depended upon his own agency. He declared himself anointed to preach good tidings to the meek; and faithfully was that mission performed. He declared himself sent to bind up the broken hearted; and this, too, how faithfully has it been performed! Yes, through all ages since his appearance upon earth, he has preached, and yet preaches, good tidings to the meek. He has bound up, he yet binds up the broken hearted. He said he was sent to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison doors to them that are bound. But the execution of that promise was entrusted to the will of man. Twenty centuries have nearly passed away, and it is yet to be performed. But let no one surrender his Christian faith, that the Lord of creation will, in his own good time, realize a declaration made in his name,—made in words such as were never uttered by the uninspired lips of man, —in words worthy of omnipotence. The progress of the accomplishment of the prophesy is slow. It has baffled the hopes, and disappointed the wishes, of generation after generation of men. Yet, observe well the history of the human family since the birth of the Saviour, and you will see great, remarkable, and progressive approximations towards it. Such is the prevalence, over so large a portion of the race of man, of the doctrines promulgated by Jesus and his apostles,—lessons of peace, of benevolence, of meekness, of brotherly love, of charity,— all utterly incompatible with the ferocious spirit of slavery. Such is the total extirpation of the licentious and romantic religion of the heathen world.

Such is the incontrovertible decline and approaching dissolution of the sensual [inclined to, or preoccupied with the gratification of the physical senses or sexual appetites; carnal; fleshly, lacking moral restraint] and sanguinary [involving or causing much bloodshed] religion of Mahomet. Such is the general substitution of the Christian faith for the Jewish dispensationof the Levitical law. Such is the modern system of the European law of nations, founded upon the laws of Nature, which is gradually reducing the intercourse between sovereign states to an authoritative code of international law. Such is the Wider and Wider expansion of public opinion, already commensurate with the faith of Christendom; holding emperors, and kings, and pontiffs, and republics, responsible before its tribunals, and recalling them from all injustice and all oppression to the standard maxims of Christian benevolence and mercy, always animated with the community of principles promulgated by the Gospel, and armed with a two edged sword, more rapid and consuming than the thunder bolt, by the invention of printing.

But of all the events tending to the blessed accomplishment of the prophesy so often repeated in the book of Isaiah, and re-proclaimed by the multitude of the heavenly host at the birth of the Saviour, there is not one that can claim, since the propagation of the Christian faith, a tenth, nay a hundredth part of the influence of the resolution, adopted on the second day of July, 1776, and promulgated to the world, in the Declaration of Independence, on the fourth of that month, of which this is the sixty-first anniversary. And to prove this has been the theme of my discourse.

And now, friends and fellow citizens, what are the duties thence resulting to yourselves? Need I remind you of them? You feel that they are not to waste in idle festivity the hours of this day,—to your fathers, when they issued their decree, the most solemn hours of their lives. It is because this day is consecrated to the cause of human liberty, that you are here assembled; and if the connection of that cause, with the fulfillment of those clear, specific predictions of the greatest of the Hebrew prophets, re-announced and repeated by the unnumbered voices of the heavenly host, at the birth of the Saviour, has not heretofore been traced and exhibited in the celebrations of this day, may I not hope for your indulgence in presenting to you a new ray of glory in the halo that surrounds the memory of the day of your national independence? Yes; from that day forth shall the nations of the earth hereafter say, with the prophet,— “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace?” [Isaiah 52:7] “From that day forth shall they exclaim, Sing, O heavens, and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains! for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.” [Isaiah 49:13, 24, 25] “From that day forth, to the question,— Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive be delivered?”—shall be returned the answer of the prophet,— “But thus saith the Lord—Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered; for I will contend with him that contends with thee, and I will save thy children.”—“ From that day forth, shall they say, commenced the opening of the last seal of prophetic felicity to the race of man upon earth, when the Lord God shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” [Isaiah 2, 4]

My countrymen! I would anxiously desire, and with a deep sense of responsibility, bearing upon myself and upon you, to speak to the hearts of you all. Are there among you those, doubtful of the hopes or distrustful of the promises of the Gospel? Are there among you those, who disbelieve them altogether? Bear with me one moment longer. Let us admit, for a moment, that the prophesies of Isaiah have no reference to the advent of the Saviour;—let us admit that the passage in the Gospel of Luke, in which he so directly makes the application of this particular prophesy to himself, is an interpolation [interjection];—go further, and if, without losing your reverence for the God to whom your fathers, in their Declaration of Independence, made their appeal, you can shake off all belief, both of the prophesies and revelations of the Scriptures;—suppose them all to be fables of human invention; yet say with me, that thousands of years have passed away since these volumes were composed, and have been believed by the most enlightened of mankind as the oracles of truth;—say, that they contain the high and cheering promise, as from the voice of God himself, of that specific future improvement in the condition of man, which consists in the extirpation of slavery and war from the face of the earth. Sweep from the pages of history all the testimonies of the Scriptures, and believe no more in the prophesies of Isaiah, than in those of the Cumaean Sybil [a prophetess, asked Apollo for eternal life and he granted the boon]; but acknowledge that in both there is shadowed forth a future improvement in the condition of our race,—an improvement of good tidings to the meek; of comfort to the broken hearted; of deliverance to the captives; of the opening of the prison to them that are bound. Turn then your faces and raise your hands to God, and pray that, in the merciful dispensations of his providence, he would hasten that happy time. Turn to yourselves, and, in the Declaration of Independence of your fathers, read the command to you, by the unremitting exercise of your highest energies, to hasten, yourselves, its consummation!

ON the arrival of Mr. ADAMS in Newbury, on the day previous to the celebration, he was met by the Committee of Arrangements, accompanied by a large body of the citizens of Newbury and Newburyport, in behalf of whom he was addressed by Samuel T. Deford, Esq. as Chairman of the Committee of Arrangements, to the following effect:

Sir, — In behalf of the citizens of Newburyport, and at the request, also of the municipal authorities of the ancient town of Newbury, I congratulate you on your safe arrival amongst us. You see, in the glad countenances around you, a proof of the joy you confer upon your friends, who are present on this occasion, and also evidence of anticipated happiness, when they will soon behold you surrounded by numerous friends, who are impatient to greet you on your entrance into Newburyport.

To one, who, like yourself, has resided in early life amid these scenes, and those which you are now again about to witness after an absence of many years, —the recollection of incidents that may have laid their impressions too deep in your memory even now to be forgotten, — the remembrance of friends and acquaintances, who were of those days, but who now are passed away, the joys and the sorrows that may crowd upon your feelings on recurring to that period, will find response in the hearts of many, who, as I have said before, are ready to greet you.

Our friends may die, and those we love may leave us ; but still our fields are green and beautiful; and the Old Town bills will yet endure; and the Merrimack, free and fair, rolls on its wonted course, bearing its tribute of waters to the Ocean, as you may almost see but yonder, —to that Ocean, for whose rights of navigation and for whose free use your country owes you so much.

I again present to you the cordial welcome of your numerous friends, in whose behalf I act.

To which Mr Adams replied as follows: —

MR. CHAIRMAN — GENTLEMEN OF THE COMMITTEE OF ARRANGEMENTS: — When the heart is full, the power of expression is often found to fail, under the weight of feelings too intense to find utterance in words. So it is with me at. this moment: and if I am unable to express to you the sensibility with which I am affected, by the kindness with which the citizens of Newburyport, and you in their behalf, are pleased to welcome me to this place, endeared to me by the indelible impressions of [my] early youth, but from which the destinies of a long and wandering life have since kept me many years removed, I pray you to be assured that it is not the deep feeling of gratitude, but the power to express it, that is wanting.

The present season completes fifty years, since I came as a student at law, to reside for a term of three years at Newburyport. The beautiful natural scenery around me is familiar to my memory now, as it was to my frequent visitation them—The face of nature has so little changed, that, standing on this spot, I seem to fill the long interval of time since elapsed, as were it but one day;—but I look around me, and the faces are no longer the same.

Yet, this numerous assemblage of citizens, yon cavalcade of youthful horsemen, those cheerful and lively countenances of children before us, most forcibly remind me of a similar scene, of which, during my residence at Newburyport, I was on the same spot a witness, and a participator;—I mean, the reception of the first President of the United States, upon his visit, on the first year of his Presidency, to this place. As an inhabitant of Newburyport, I was one of those who then greeted him with a hearty welcome; and nothing is more deeply fixed in my memory than the procession of children of both sexes, through which he passed, upon his entrance into the town.

How naturally the question arises to my mind, where are now those children? And how affecting is the thought, surely more than a conjecture, that I see before me the representatives of many of them in their grand-children, now in my eye. Little did I then imagine that the day would come, when I should witness so delightful a repetition of the scene.

Gentlemen, I can but repeat the request, that if I am unable to express, in adequate language, my sense of the kindness of the citizens of Newburyport on the present occasion, you would attribute the deficiency, not to the emotions of the heart, but to the utterance of them in words; and if, as you have been pleased to intimate, it has been, in the course of my public life, in any station which I have occupied, my good fortune to render to the inhabitants of Newburyport, or to any one of them any acceptable service, their recollection of it is more than an adequate reward to me, and could my most earnest wishes he realized, they would be to have multiplied such services an hundred and a thousand fold.

LETTER addressed by MR ADAMS to the Chairman of the Committee of Arrangements:

Quincy, July 17th, 1837.

DEAR Sir, — I enclose herewith the manuscript of the Oration, prepared for delivery on the 4th instant, at Newburyport, in compliance with the invitation of the inhabitants of that town. The parts of it, omitted in the delivery, are pencil marked in the margin; the omissions were for the single purpose of sparing the time and patience of my respected auditory. The omitted parts are all cumulative illustrations of the double argument of the Discourse,— the principle of perpetual Union, inculcated by the Declaration of Independence, and the inseparable connection of the doctrines promulgated by that paper, with the progress and final consummation of the ancient prophesies and gospel promises of the Christian faith. The publication of the whole would be most satisfactory to me; but if the Committee of Arrangements would prefer the publication of only the parts delivered, the pencil marks will indicate them to the printer. I place the whole at your disposal.

I shall, for the remainder of my days, consider this visit to Newburyport as one of the most memorable incidents of my life. The mere circumstance of revisiting, after an interval of fifty years, the scene of my abode, at the time of life at once of the expansion of the mind, and of the deepest impressions upon the heart, was itself inexpressibly interesting. The kindness and cordiality of your reception, so congenial to that which I had ever experienced from the forefathers of the present town, linking, with a pleasing and a tender melancholy, the enjoyments of the passing day with most delightful’ associations of a departed age, will dwell upon my memory, while she holds a seat in my bosom. Circumstances in my own life have rendered the anniversary of our independence, to me, a day, not only of festive enjoyment, but of awful solemnity; for it is also the anniversary of my father’s death. Drawing, myself, so rapidly to the close of my own career, it will not be surprising that the impressions, under which the enclosed discourse was written, were of a religious character; and entertaining sincerely the opinion, that the continual appeal, in the Declaration of Independence, to a rule of right transcending all human power, and that the principles irresistibly flowing from the rule of right, or of eternal justice, must lead to the extinction of slavery and of war from the earth.

I deem it fortunate to have had the opportunity afforded by this invitation of the inhabitants of Newburyport, of disclosing to my countrymen, so shortly before I shall cease to be with them, not only my own adherence to the principles of the Declaration, but my firm belief that the hand of Providence [Almighty God] was in it, pointing to the fulfillment of the ecstatic promises of the Old Testament, and of the good tidings which shall be to all people, so solemnly promised in the New.

With the renewed expression of my warmest thanks to you, to all the members of the Committee of Arrangements, and to all the inhabitants of the town, I remain, dear Sir, your friend and servant, John Quincy Adams.
Copyright © 2014 © 2015 TeaPartyEdu Foundation Truths The Patriot Brotherhood @CaptainJDavis

Daniel Webster: The Dignity and Importance of History; A Prophetic Warning

Daniel Webster: The Dignity and Importance of History; February 23, 1852


if we and our posterity shall be true to the Christian religion, if we and they shall live always in the fear of God, and shall respect His commandments, if we and they shall maintain just moral sentiments and such conscientious convictions of duty as shall control the heart and life, we may have the highest hopes of the future fortunes of our country; and if we maintain those institutions of government and that political union, exceeding all praise as much as it exceeds all former examples of political associations, we may be sure of one thing… It will have no decline and fall. It will go on prospering and to prosper. But if we and our posterity reject religious instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity. Should that catastrophe happen, let it have no history! Let the horrible narrative never be written! Let its fate be like that of the lost books of Livy, which no human eye shall ever read, or the missing Pleiad, of which no man can ever know more than that it is lost, and lost forever!”

NOTE: This is long, I urge you to read the complete speech, however if you do not wish to, I would encourage you to scroll down to In the history of the United States there are three epochs.” and read from there.

An address delivered before the New York Historical Society. Printed from the pamphlet report: New York: Press of the Historical Society, MDCCCLII. It contains the following Dedication:

“I dedicate this address to Hon. Luther Bradish, President of the New York Historical Society, as a proof of private friendship and public regard.”

The object of your association, gentlemen, like that of others of similar character, is highly important Historical societies are auxiliary to historical compositions. They collect the materials from which the great narrative of events is, in due time, to be framed. The transactions of public bodies, local histories, memoirs of all kinds, statistics, laws, ordinances, public debates and discussions, works of periodical literature, and the public journals, whether of political events, of commerce, literature, or the arts, all find their places in the collections of historical societies. But these collections are not history; they are only elements of history. History is a higher name, and imports literary productions of the first order.

It is presumptuous in me, whose labors and studies have been so long devoted to other objects, to speak in the presence of those whom I see before me, of the dignity and importance of history, in its just sense; and yet I find pleasure in breaking in upon the course of daily pursuits, and indulging for a time in reflections upon topics of literature, and in the remembrance of the great examples of historic art.

Well written history must always be the result of genius and taste, as well as of research and study. It stands next to epic poetry, among the productions of the human mind. If it requires less of invention than that, it is not behind it in dignity and importance. The province of the epic is the poetical narrative of real or supposed events, and the representation of real, or at least natural, characters; and history, in its noblest examples, is an account of occurrences in which great events are commemorated, and distinguished men appear as agents and actors. Epic poetry and the drama are but narratives, the former partly, and the latter wholly, in the form of dialogue; but their characters and personages are usually, in part at least, the creations of the imagination.

Severe history sometimes assumes the dialogue, or dramatic form, and, without departing from truth, is embellished by supposed colloquies or speeches, as in the productions of that great master, Titus Livius, or that greater master still, Thucydides.

The drawing of characters, consistent with general truth and fidelity, is no violation of historical accuracy; it is only an illustration or an ornament.

When Livy ascribes an appropriate speech to one of his historical personages, it is only as if he had portrayed the same character in language professedly his own. Lord Clarendon’s presentation, in his own words, of the character of Lord Falkland, one of the highest and most successful efforts of personal description, is hardly different from what it would have been, if he had put into the mouth of Lord Falkland a speech exhibiting the same qualities of the mind and the heart, the same opinions, and the same attachments. Homer describes the actions of personages which, if not real, are so imagined as to be conformable to the general characteristics of men in the heroic ages. If his relation be not historically true, it is such, nevertheless, as, making due allowance for poetical embellishment, might have been true. And in Milton’s great epic, which is almost entirely made up of narratives and speeches, there is nothing repugnant to the general conception which we form of the characters of those whose sentiments and conduct he portrays.

But history, while it illustrates and adorns, confines itself to facts, and to the relation of actual events. It is not far from truth to say, that well written and classic history is the epic of real life. It places the actions of men in an attractive and interesting light. Rejecting what is improper and superfluous, it fills its picture with real, just, and well drawn images.

The dignity of history consists in reciting events with truth and accuracy, and in presenting human agents and their actions in an interesting and instructive form. The first element in history, therefore, is truthfulness; and this truthfulness must be displayed in a concrete form. Classical history is not a memoir. It is not a crude collection of acts, occurrences, and dates. It adopts nothing that is not true; but it does not embrace all minor truths and all minor transactions. It is a composition, a production, which has unity of design, like a work of statuary or of painting, and keeps constantly in view one great end or result. Its parts, therefore, are to be properly adjusted and well proportioned. The historian is an artist, as true to fact as other artists are to nature, and, though he may sometimes embellish, he never misrepresents; he may occasionally, perhaps, color too highly, but the truth is still visible through the lights and shades. This unity of design seems essential to all great productions. With all the variety of the Iliad, Homer had the wrath of Achilles, and its consequences, always before him; when he sang of the exploits of other heroes, they were silently subordinated to those of the son of Thetis. Still more remarkable is the unity in variety of the Odyssey, the character of which is much more complicated; but all the parts are artfully adapted to each other, and they have a common centre of interest and action, the great end being the restoration of Ulysses to his native Ithaca. Virgil, in the Aeneid, sang of nothing but the man, and his deeds, who brought the Trojan gods to Italy, and laid the foundation of the walls of imperial Rome; and Milton of nothing, but

“Man’s first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world and all our woes.”

And the best historical productions of ancient and of modern times have been written with equal fidelity to one leading thought or purpose.

It has been said by Lord Bolingbroke, that “History is Philosophy teaching by example;” and, before Bolingbroke,
Shakspeare has said:

“There is a history in all men’s lives,
Figuring the nature of the times deceas’d;
The which observ’d, a man may prophesy,
With a near aim, of the main chance of things
As yet not come to life, which in their seeds,
And weak beginnings, lie entreasured.
Such things become the hatch and brood of time;
And, by the necessary form of this,
King Richard might create a perfect guess,
That great Northumberland, then false to him,
Would, of that seed, grow to a greater falseness,
Which should not find a ground to root upon,
Unless on you.
Are these things, then, necessities?
Then let us meet them like necessities.”

And a wiser man than either Bolingbroke or Shakspeare, has declared:

“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”

These sayings are all just, and they proceed upon the idea that the essential characteristics of human nature are the same everywhere, and in all ages.

This, doubtless, is true; and so far as history presents the general qualities and propensities of human nature, it does teach by example. Bolingbroke adds, with remarkable power of expression, that ” the school of example is the world: and the masters of this school are history and experience.”

But the character of man varies so much, from age to age, both in his individual and collective capacity; there comes such a change of circumstances, so many new objects of desire and aversion, and so many new and powerful motives spring up in his mind, that the conduct of men, in one age, or under one state of circumstances, is no sure and precise indication of what will be their conduct, when times and circumstances alter; so that the example of the past, before it can become a useful instructor to the present, must be reduced to elementary principles in human nature, freed from the influence of conditions which were temporary and have changed, and applied to the same principles, under new relations, with a different degree of knowledge, and the impulses arising from the altered state of things. A savage has the passions of ambition, revenge, love, and glory; and ambition and love, revenge and the hope of renown, are also elements in the character of civilized life; but the development of these passions, in a state of barbarism, hardly instructs us as to the manner in which they will exhibit themselves in a cultivated period of society.

And so it is of religious sentiment and feeling. I believe man is everywhere, more or less, a religious being; that is to say, in all countries, and at all times, he feels a tie which connects him with an Invisible Power.

It is true indeed, and it is a remarkable fact in the history of mankind, that in the very lowest stage of human existence, and in the opposite extreme of high civilization, surrounded with everything luxurious in life, and with all the means of human knowledge, the idea of an unseen and supreme Governor of the Universe is most likely to be equally doubted or disregarded.

The lowest stage of human culture, that of mere savage existence, and the intellectual and refined atheism, exhibited in our own day, seem to be strangely coincident in this respect; though it is from opposite causes and influences that men, in these so different conditions, are led to doubt or deny the existence of a Supreme Power. But both these are exceptions to the general current of human thought and to the general conviction of our nature.

Man is naturally religious; but then his religion takes its character from his condition, his degree of knowledge, and his association; and thus it is true that the religious feeling, which operates in one state of society, and under one degree of light and knowledge, is not a safe example to prove its probable influence under circumstances essentially different. So that, when we regard history as our instructor, in the development of the perceptions and character of men, and in the motives which actuate them, there comes a concomitant rush of altered circumstances, which are all to be considered and regarded.

History, therefore, is an example which may teach us the general principles of human nature, but does not instruct us greatly in its various possible developments.

What Dr. Johnson said, in his comparison of Dryden and Pope, is not inapplicable to this topic, “Dryden,” said he, “knew more of man in his general nature, and Pope in his local manners.” Dryden’s sentiments, therefore, are the exemplar of human nature in general, Pope’s of human nature as modified in particular relations and circumstances; and what is true of individual man, in this respect, is true, also, of society and government.

The love of liberty, for instance, is a passion or sentiment which existed in intense force in the Grecian Republics, and in the better ages of Rome. It exists now, chiefly, and first of all, on that portion of the Western Continent in which we live. Here, it burns with heat and with splendor beyond all Grecian and all Roman example. It is not a light in the temple of Minerva, it is not the vestal flame of Rome; it is the light of the sun, it is the illumination of all the constellations. Earth, air, and ocean, and all the heavens above us, are filled with its glorious shining; and, although the passion and the sentiment are the same, yet he who would reason from Grecian liberty, or from Roman freedom, to our intelligent American liberty, would be holding a farthing candle to the orb of day.

The magnificent funeral oration of Pericles, over those who fell in the Peloponnesian War, is one of the grandest productions of antiquity. It contains sentiments and excites emotions congenial to the minds of all lovers of liberty, in all regions and at all times. It exhibits a strong and ardent attachment to country, which true patriots always feel; an undaunted courage in its defence, and willingness to pledge and hazard all, for the maintenance of liberty. I cannot deny myself the pleasure of quoting a few passages from that celebrated address, in a translation which I think much closer to the original Greek than that of Smith:

Mr. Webster here quoted at some length from the oration referred to, and then proceeded as follows:

How terse, how Doric, how well considered is the style of this unsurpassed oration! Gentlemen, does not every page, paragraph, and sentence of what I have read, go home to all our hearts, carrying a most gratified consciousness of its resemblance to what is near and dear to us in our own native land? Is it Athens, or America? Is Athens or America the theme of these immortal strains? Was Pericles speaking of his own country, as he saw it or knew it; or was he gazing upon a bright vision, then two thousand years before him, which we see in reality, as he saw it in prospect?

But the contests of Sparta  and Athens, what were they in lasting importance, and in their bearing on the destinies of the world, in comparison with that ever memorable struggle which separated the American colonies from the dominion of Europe? How different the result which betided Athens, from that which crowned the glorious efforts of our ancestors; and, therefore, this renowned oration of Pericles, what is it in comparison with an effort of historical eloquence which should justly set forth the merits of the heroes and the martyrs of the American Revolution?

The liberty of Athens, and of the other Grecian Republics, being founded in pure democracy, without any principle of representation, was fitted only for small states. The exercise of popular power in a purely democratic form cannot be spread over countries of large extent; because, in such countries, all cannot assemble in the same place to vote directly upon laws and ordinances, and other public questions. But the principle of representation is expansive; it may be enlarged, if not infinitely, yet indefinitely, to meet new occasions, and embrace new regions. While, therefore, the love of liberty was the same, and its general principle the same, in the Grecian Republics as with us, yet not only were the forms essentially different, but that also was wanting which we have been taught to consider as indispensable to its security: that is, a fixed, settled, definite, fundamental law, or constitution, imposing limitations and restraints equally on governors and governed. We may, therefore, inhale all the fulness and freshness of the Grecian spirit, but we necessarily give its development a different form, and subject it to new modifications.

But history is not only philosophy, teaching by example; its true purpose is, also, to illustrate the general progress of society in knowledge and the arts, and the changes of manners and pursuits of men.

There is an imperfection, both in ancient and modern histories, and those of the best masters, in this respect. While they recite public transactions, they omit, in a great degree, what belongs to the civil, social, and domestic progress of men and nations. There is not, so far as I know, a good civil history of Rome, nor is there an account of the manners and habits of social and domestic life, such as may inform us of the progress of her citizens, from the foundation of the city to the time of Livy and Sallust, in individual exhibitions of character.

We know, indeed, something of the private pursuits and private vices of the Roman people at the commencement of the Empire, but we obtain our knowledge of these chiefly from the severe and indignant rebukes of Sallust, and the inimitable satires of Juvenal. Wars, foreign and domestic, the achievements of arms, and national alliances fill up the recorded greatness of the Roman Empire.

It is very remarkable that, in this respect, Roman literature is far more deficient than that of Greece. Aristophanes, and other Grecian comic writers, have scenes richly filled with the delineation of the lives and manners of their own people. But the Roman imitators of the Grecian stage gave themselves up to the reproduction of foreign characters on their own stage, and presented in their dramas Grecian manners also, instead of Roman manners. How much wiser was Shakspeare, who enchained the attention of his audiences, and still enchains the attention of the whole Teutonic race, by the presentation of English manners and English history?

Falstaff, Justice Shallow, and Dogberry are not shrubs of foreign growth transplanted into the pages of Shakspeare, but genuine productions of the soil, the creations of his own homebred fancy.

Mr. Banks has written a civil history of Rome, but it seems not to have answered the great end which it proposed.

The labors of Niebuhr, Arnold, and Merivale have accomplished much towards furnishing the materials of such history, and Becker, in his Gallus, has drawn a picture, not uninteresting, of the private life of the Romans at the commencement of the Empire.

I know nothing of the fact, but I once had an intimation, that one of the most distinguished writers of our time and of our country has had his thoughts turned to this subject for several years. If this be so, and the work, said to be in contemplation, be perfected, it will be true, as I have no doubt, that the civil history of the great republic of antiquity will have been written, not only with thorough research, but also with elegance of style and chaste, classical illustration, by a citizen of the great republic of modern times. I trust that when this work shall appear, if it shall appear, we shall not only Bee the Roman consul and the Roman general, the Comitia and the Forum, but that we shall also see Roman hearths and altars, the Roman matron at the head of her household, Roman children in their schools of instruction, and the whole of Roman life fully presented to our view, so far as the materials, now existing in separate and special works, afford the means.

It is in our day only that the history and progress of the civil and social institutions and manners of England have become the subjects of particular attention.

Sharon Turner, Lingard, and, more than all, Mr. Hallam, have laid this age, and all following ages, under the heaviest obligations by their labors in this field of literary composition; nor would I separate from them the writings of a most learned and eloquent person, whose work on English history is now in progress, nor the author of the ” Pictorial History of England.” But there is still wanting a full, thorough, and domestic, social account of our English ancestors, that is, a history which shall trace the progress of social life in the intercourse of man with man; the advance of arts, the various changes in the habits and occupations of individuals; and those improvements in domestic life which have attended the condition and meliorated the circumstances of men in the lapse of ages. We still have not the means of learning, to any great extent, how our English ancestors, at their homes, and in their houses, were fed, and lodged, and clothed, and what were their daily employments. We want a history of firesides; we want to know when kings and queens exchanged beds of straw for beds of down, and ceased to breakfast on beef and beer. We wish to see more, and to know more, of the changes which took place, from age to age, in the homes of England, from the castle and the palace, down to the humblest cottage. Mr. Henry’s book, so far as it goes, is not without its utility, but it stops too soon, and, even in regard to the period which it embraces, it is not sufficiently full and satisfactory in its particulars.

The feudal ages were military and agricultural, but the splendor of arms, in the history of the times, monopolized the genius of writers; and perhaps materials are not now abundant for forming a knowledge of the essential industry of the country. He would be a public benefactor who should instruct us in the modes of cultivation and tillage prevailing in England, from the Conquest down, and in the advancement of manufactures, from their inception in the time of Henry IV., to the period of their considerable development, two centuries afterwards.

There are two sources of information on these subjects, which have never yet been fully explored, and which, nevertheless, are overflowing fountains of knowledge. I mean the statutes and the proceedings of the courts of law. At an early period of life, I recurred, with some degree of attention, to both these sources of information; not so much for professional purposes, as for the elucidation of the progress of society. I acquainted myself with the object and purposes and substance of every published statute in British legislation. These showed me what the legislature of the country was concerned in, from age to age, and from year to year. And I learned from the reports of controversies, in the courts of law, what were the pursuits and occupations of individuals, and what the objects which most earnestly engaged attention. I hardly know anything which more repays research, than studies of this kind. We learn from them what pursuits occupied men during the feudal ages. We see the efforts of society to throw off the chains of this feudal dominion. We see too, in a most interesting manner, the ingenious devices resorted to, to break the thraldom of personal slavery. We see the beginning of manufacturing interests, and at length bursts upon us the full splendor of the commercial age.

Littleton, Coke, Plowden, what are they? How their learning fades away and becomes obsolete, when Holt and Somers and Mansfield arise, catching themselves, and infusing all around them, the influences and the knowledge which commerce had shed upon the world!

Our great teachers and examples in the historical art are, doubtless, the eminent historians of the Greek and Roman ages. In their several ways, they are the masters to whom all succeeding times have looked for instruction and improvement. They are the models which have stood the test of time, and, like the glorious creations in marble of Grecian genius, have been always admired and never surpassed.

We have our favorites in literature, as well as in other things, and I confess that, among the Grecian writers, my estimate of Herodotus is great. His evident truthfulness, his singular simplicity of style, and his constant respect and veneration for sacred and divine things, win my regard. It is true that he sometimes appears credulous, which caused Aristotle to say of him, that he was a story-teller. But, in respect to this, two things are to be remarked; the one is, that he never avers as a fact that which rests on the accounts of others; the other, that all subsequent travels and discoveries have tended to confirm his fidelity. From his great qualities as a writer, as well as from the age in which he lived, he is justly denominated the “Father of History.” Herodotus was a conscientious narrator of what he saw and heard. In his manner there is much of the old epic style; indeed, his work may be considered as the connecting link between the epic legend and political history; truthful, on the one hand, since it was a genuine history; but, on the other, conceived and executed in the spirit of poetry, and not the profounder spirit of political philosophy. It breathes a reverential submission to the divine will, and recognizes distinctly the governing hand of Providence in the affairs of men. But, upon the whole, I am compelled to regard Thucydides as the greater writer.

Thucydides was equally truthful, but more conversant with the motives and character of men in their political relations. He took infinite pains to make himself thoroughly acquainted with the transactions that occurred in his own day, and which became the subject of his own narrative.

It is said, even, that persons were employed by him to obtain information from both the belligerent powers, for his use, while writing the history of the Peloponnesian War.

He was one of the most eminent citizens of the Athenian Republic, educated under the institutions of Solon, and trained in all the political wisdom which these institutions had developed in the two centuries since their establishment. A more profound intellect never applied itself to historical investigation; a more clear-sighted and impartial judge of human conduct never dealt with the fortunes and acts of political communities.

The work of Herodotus is graphic, fluent, dramatic, and ethical in the highest degree; but it is not the work of the citizen of a free republic, personally experienced in the conduct of its affairs. The history of the Peloponnesian War, on the other hand, could only have been produced by a man of large experience, and who added to vast genius deep personal insight into the workings of various public institutions. As Thucydides himself says, his history was written not for the entertainment of the moment, but to be “a possession forever.”

There can, it seems to me, be no reasonable doubt that the first works by which man expressed his thoughts and feelings in an orderly composition, were essentially poetical. In the earliest writings of which we know anything with distinctness, we have an union or mingling of poetry and fact, embodying the traditions and history of the people among which they arose.

Like other intellectual culture, this form of history appeared first in the East, and, from the days of Moses and Joshua down to our own times, it has there retained substantially the same character. I mean, it has been a remarkable mixture of the spirit of history and of epic poetry. In Greece, we may observe originally the same state of things; but the two forms of composition at length became separated, though the Greek historical art, when highest, never loses all its relations to the epic. The earliest Greek poets were religious and historical poets, dealing in the traditions and mythology of their country, and so continued down through Homer. Herodotus was by birth an Asiatic Greek, and was quite imbued with the oriental spirit. In his time, of public records there were none, or, at the most, there were only local registers of public events, and their dates, such, for instance, as those kept by the priesthood in the temples at Delphi and Argos, or the registers of particular families. He travelled, therefore, to collect the materials for his history. But he made of them one whole, and laid one idea at the bottom, with as much epic simplicity as Homer did in the Iliad. His subject was the contest of Greece with the Persians, and the triumph of Grecian liberty, or, more strictly, the great Grecian victory over the barbarians who had conquered the world, as then known. The relations between Herodotus and Homer are not to be mistaken; he not only has episodes, like the long one about Egypt, and formal speeches, which were common in historical works till the sixteenth century of our era, and have not been unknown since,[They are adopted, for instance, by Botta] but he has dialogues. One of his series of speeches, which partakes of the character of a dialogue, shows a remarkable advancement in political knowledge for that age; I mean that in which the conspirators against the Magi of Persia, previously to the elevation of Darius, discuss the different forms of government, almost in the spirit of Montesquieu. But all these things are kept in their proper places by Herodotus. He feels the connection of his subject all the way through; how one event proceeds from another, and how, in the spirit of epic unity, everything tends to the principal result, or contributes to it directly.

In Thucydides, the art of history is further advanced, though he lived very little later than Herodotus. He probably had read or heard his history, though that is doubted.

Thucydides did not, indeed, make one whole of his work, for he did not survive the war whose history he undertook to relate; but he is less credulous than Herodotus; he has no proper dialogue; he is more compact; he indulges very little in episodes; he draws characters, and his speeches are more like formal, stately discussions. And he says of them, they are such as he either heard himself, or received from those who did hear them, and he states that he gives them in their true substance.

There is nothing to create a doubt that personally he heard the oration of Pericles; and it is remarkable that, throughout the most flourishing period of Greek literature, both poetical and historical, productions were composed to be heard, rather than to be read; and the practice of listening to their rehearsals led the Greek people to attain great accuracy, as well as retentiveness, of memory.

In short, Herodotus’ work seems a natural, fresh production of the soil; that of Thucydides belongs to a more advanced state of culture. Quintilian says of the former, “In Herodoto omnia leniter fluunt;of the latter, “Densus et brevis et semper instans sibi.”

Xenophon, in his Hellenica, continues Thucydides. He was a military leader, and familiar with the affairs of state, and though not so deep a thinker, was a more graceful and easy writer. Polybius, living in a much later period, is defective in style, but is a wise and sensible author. His object is not merely to show what has been, but to attempt the instruction of the future, making his work what he calls a demonstrative history, fitted ‘for the use of statesmen. He is the last of the really good Greek historians.

The Romans had the great Greek masters, in prose and poetry, all before them, and imitated them in everything, but approached their models nearly only in eloquence and history. Like the Greeks too, they had early poetical histories, historical legends, and songs. Ennius wrote a sort of epic history of Rome. Caesar, one of the most distinguished of all great men, wrote accounts of what he had done, or what related directly to himself. The clearness, purity, and precision of his style are as characteristic of him as any of his great achievemente.

Sallust followed more closely the Greek models. Each of his two remaining histories is an epic whole, — short, indeed, but complete, fashioned with the greatest exactness, and remarkable for a dignity and stateliness of style which Caesar did not seek, and which would not have been fitting for his personal memoirs.

Livy had another purpose; there is an epic completeness in his great work, though it has come down to us in a mutilated state. “Majestas populi Romaniwas his subject, and he sacrifices much to it, even, not unfrequently, the rigor of truth. His style is rich and flowing. Quintilian speaks of Livii lactea ubertas” the creamy richness of Livy. His descriptions are excellent; indeed, there is a nobleness and grandeur about the whole work well fitted to his magnificent purpose in writing it.

Tacitus comes later, when he could no longer feel so proud of his country as Livy had done. He had much of the spirit and the power of Thucydides. Both were great, upright men, dissatisfied with their times; the one, because of the ascendancy of demagogues among the people, the other, with the imperial vices and the growing demoralization of his age. Tacitus is, however, free from passion, and is a wise, statesmanlike, and profound writer, throughout. Of both his History and Annals considerable portions are lost. We cannot, therefore, tell how much of completeness and proportion there may have been in either. But the nature of the period he discusses in each, — a period, as he says, ” opimum casibus, atrox prceliis, discors seditionibus, ipsa etiam pace scevum” not less than the severity of his own nature, forbade poetical ornament. In character-drawing, he is hardly excelled by any one. By a single dash of his pencil, he sometimes throws out a likeness, which all feel and acknowledge; and yet it has been thought that some degree of falling off in the purity and elegance of the Latin language is discernible in his pages.

Of the Roman historians my preference is strongly for Sallust. I admire his reach of thought, his clearness of style, as well as his accuracy of narration. He is sufficiently concise; he is sententious, without being meager or obscure, and his power of personal and individual description is remarkable. There are, indeed, in his style, some roughness belonging to the Roman tongue at an earlier age, but they seem to strengthen the structure of his sentences, without especially injuring their beauty. No character-drawing can well exceed his delineation of Catiline, his account of Jugurtha, or his parallel between Caesar and Cato. I have thought, sometimes, that I saw resemblances between his terse and powerful periods, and the remarks and sayings of Dr. Johnson, as they appear, not in his stately performances, but in the record of his conversations by Boswell.

In turning to peruse once more the pages of Sallust, to refresh myself . for the preparation of this address, I was struck by the coincidence of a transaction narrated by him, with one which we have seen very recently in our own country.

When Jugurtha had put to death Hiempsal, and expelled Adherbal from his rightful throne, the latter (who was born in Numidia, and not in Hungary) came to Rome to invoke what we should call, the intervention of the Roman people. His speech, delivered on that occasion, in the Senate, as Sallust has given it, is one of the most touching ever made by a man in misfortune and suffering from injury, to those having the power of granting relief or redress. His supplication to the Senate is founded on the broad and general idea that the Roman people were just themselves, and as they had the power, so it was their duty, to prevent or punish high-handed injustice, threatened or inflicted by others.

While I confess myself not competent to sit in judgment on the great masters of Roman story, still it has always struck me that in the style of Livy there is so much fulness, so much accumulation of circumstances, as occasionally tends to turgidity. I speak this, however, with the greatest diffidence. Livy seems to me like the rivers under the influence of copious spring floods, when not only is the main channel full, but all the tributary streams are also tending to overflow; while Sallust, I think, takes care only that there shall be one deep, clear, strong, and rapid current, to convey him and his thoughts to their destined end.

I do not mean to say that the skilful use of circumstance, either in the hand of a historian or a poet, is not a great power, — I think it is. What we call graphic description, is but the presentation of the principal idea, with a discreet accompaniment of interesting concomitants.

The introduction of a single auxiliary thought or expression sometimes gives a new glow to the historical or poetical picture. Particularity, well set forth, enchains attention. In our language, no writer has understood this better than Milton. His poetical images and descriptions are sure to omit nothing which can make those images and those descriptions striking, distinct, and certain, while all else is industriously repelled.

Witness the fall of Vulcan, which is stated with such beautiful detail, so much step by step, and terminated by such a phrase and comparison at the end, as greatly to enhance the idea, both of its length and its rapidity.

“Men call’d him Mulciber; and how he fell
From Heaven, they fabled, thrown by angry Jove
Sheer o’er the crystal battlements; from morn
To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve,
A summer’s day; and with the setting sun
Dropp’d from the Zenith like a falling star,
On Lemnos the Aegean isle.”

His description of vocal music in the “Allegro” is another instance of the same kind:

And ever against eating cares,
Lap me in soft Lydian airs,
Married to immortal verse,
Such as the meeting soul may pierce
In notes, with many a winding bout
Of linked sweetness long drawn out,
With wanton heed, and giddy cunning,
The melting voice through mazes running,
Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of harmony.
That Orpheus’ self may heave his head
From golden slumber on a bed
Of heap’d Elysian flowers, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto, to have quite set free
His half-regain’d Eurydice.”

I hardly know anything which surpasses these exquisite lines, so poetical, and, at the same time, so thoroughly and absolutely English, and so free from all foreign idiom.

Several stanzas of Gray’s “Elegy in a Country Churchyard ” are also remarkable for the power and accuracy with which rural scenery is presented, by grouping together many interesting objects in one picture.

Another poetical instance of the same beauty is the ” Burial of Sir John Moore.”

There are remarkable instances of the same skill in writing in some of the English prose writers, and especially in the productions of Daniel De Foe. No boy doubts that everything told of Robinson Crusoe is exactly true, because all is so circumstantially told; I believe I was about ten years of age when I first read Robinson Crusoe, and I remember still the distress and perspiration which I was thrown into by his dangerous condition in his boat. “There was a current on both sides, a strong eddy under the shore. The sea was making a great breach upon that point. It was not safe to keep the shore, for the breach, nor leave it for the stream. He could do nothing with his paddles, and there was not a breath of wind. A great depth of water, running like the sluice of a mill, carried him farther and farther from the eddy, which was on the left hand, so that he could not keep his boat on the edge of it, and as the current on the north side and the current on the south side would both join at a few leagues distant, he thought himself irrecoverably gone.” And I thought so too. No man doubts, until he is informed of the contrary, that the historian of the plague of London actually saw all that he described, although De Foe was not born till a subsequent year.

It is a well known saying that the lie with circumstance is exceedingly calculated to deceive: and that is true, and it is equally true, not only that fictitious history gains credit and belief by the skilful use of circumstance, but that true history also may derive much additional interest from the same source.

In general, however, historical facts are to be related with rather a close and exclusive regard to such and such only as are important.

The art of historical composition owes its origin to the institutions of political freedom. Under the despotism of the Ganges and the Indus, poetry flourished with oriental luxuriance from the earliest times; but in the immense compass of that rich, primeval literature, there is no history, in the high sense of that term. The banks of the Nile were crowded with historical monuments and memorials, stretching back into the remotest antiquity; and recent researches have discovered historical records of the Pharaohs in the scrolls of papyrus, some of them as ancient as the books of Moses. But in all these, there is no history composed according to the principles of art. In Greece, the epic song, founded on traditionary legends, long preceded historical composition. I remember when I thought it the greatest wonder in the world that the poems of Homer should have been written at a period so remote that the earliest Grecian history should have given no probable account of their author. I did not then know, or had not then considered, that poetical writings, hymns, songs, accounts of personal adventures like those of Hercules and Jason, were, in the nature of things, earlier than regular historical narratives. Herodotus informs us that Homer lived four hundred years before his time. There is, nevertheless, something very wonderful in the poems of the old Ionian.

In general, it is true of the languages of nations that in their earlier ages they contain the substantial bone and sinew characteristic of their idiom, yet that they are rough, imperfect, and without polish. Thus Chaucer wrote English; but it is what we call old English, and, though always vigorous and often incomparably sweet, far remote from the smoothness and fluency belonging to the style of Pope and Addison. And Spenser wrote English, but, though rich, sonorous, and gorgeous, it has not the precision and accuracy of those later writers. It would seem that many books must be written and read, and a great many tongues and pens employed, before the language of a country reaches its highest polish and perfection. Now the wonder is, how a language should become so perfect, as was the Greek of Homer, at the time when that language could have been very little written. Doubtless, in succeeding ages, the compass of the Greek tongue was enlarged, as knowledge became more extended, and new things called for new words; but, within the sphere of Grecian knowledge, as it existed in the time of Homer, it can scarce be questioned that his style is quite as perfect and polished as that of any of his successors, and perhaps more picturesque. The cause of this apparent anomaly is, that the language had not only been spoken for many centuries, by a people of great ingenuity and extraordinary good taste, but had been carefully cultivated by the recitation of poetical compositions on a great variety of religious and festive occasions.

It was not until the legislation of Solon had laid the foundation of free political institutions, and these institutions had unfolded a free and powerful and active political life in the Athenian Republic; until the discussion of public affairs in the Senate and the popular Assembly had created deliberative eloquence, and the open administration of justice in the courts, and under the laws established by Solon, had applied to the transactions between the citizens all the resources of refined logic, and drawn into the sphere of civil rights and obligations the power of high forensic oratory: it was not until these results of the legislative wisdom of Solon had been attained, that the art of history rose and nourished in Greece. With the decline of Grecian liberty began the decline in the art of historical composition. Histories were written under the Grecian Kings of Egypt; and a long line of writers nourished under the Byzantine Emperors; but the high art of historical composition, as perfected in the master-works of Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon, had perished in the death of political freedom.

The origin, progress and decline of history, as an art, were nearly the same in Rome. Sallust and Livy flourished at the close of the Republic and the commencement of the Empire. The great works of Tacitus himself are thought by many to betray the beginning of decline in the art, and later writers exhibit its fall.

The art of history again revived with the rise of the Italian Republics; and since the revival of literature, at the close of the middle ages, it will probably be found that three things naturally rise into importance together; that is to say, civil liberty, eloquence, and the art of historical writing.

Other foundation is not to be laid for authentic history than well authenticated facts; but, on this foundation, structures may be raised of different characteristics, historical, biographical, and philosophical. One writer may confine himself to exact and minute narration; another, true to the general story, may embellish that story with more or less of external ornament, or of eloquence in description; a third, with a deeper philosophical spirit, may look into the causes of events and transactions, trace them with more profound research to their sources in the elements of human nature, or consider and solve, with more or less success, the most important question, how far the character of individuals has produced public events, or how far on the other hand public events have produced and formed the character of individuals.

Therefore one history of the same period, in human affairs, no more renders another history of the same period useless, or unadvisable, than the structure of one temple forbids the erection of another, or one statue of Apollo, Hercules, or Pericles should suppress all other attempts to produce statues of the same persons.

But, gentlemen, I must not dwell upon these general topics. We are Americans. We have a country all our own; we are all linked to its fates and its fortunes; it is already not without renown; it has been the theatre of some of the most important human transactions, and it may well become us to reflect on the topics and the means furnished for historical composition in our own land. I have abstained, on this occasion, gentlemen, from much comment on histories composed by European writers of modern times; and, for obvious reasons, I abstain altogether from remarks upon the writers of our own country.

Works have been written upon the history of the United States, other works upon the same subject are in progress, and, no doubt, new works are contemplated, and will be accomplished.

It need not be doubted, that what has been achieved by the great men who have preceded our generation, will be properly recorded by their successors. A country in which highly interesting events occur, is not likely to be destitute of scholars and authors fit to transmit those events to posterity. For the present, I content myself with a few general remarks on the subject.

In the history of the United States there are three epochs. The first extends from the origin and settlement of the Colonies, respectively, to the year 1774. During this, much the longest period, the history of the country is the history of separate communities and governments, with different laws and institutions, though all were of a common origin; not identical indeed, yet having a strong family resemblance, and all more or less reference to the Constitution, and common law of the parent country.

In all these Governments the principle of popular representation more or less prevailed. It existed in the State Governments, in counties, in large districts, and in townships and parishes. And it is not irrelevant to remark, that, by the exercise of the rights enjoyed under these popular principles, the whole people came to be prepared, beyond the example of all others, for the observance of the same principles in the establishment of national institutions, and the administration of sovereign powers.

The second period extends from 1774, through the great event of the Declaration of Independence, in which the Colonies were called States, and, through the existence of the Confederation, down to the period of the adoption of the present Constitution. The third embraces the period from 1789 to the present time.

To avoid dealing with events too recent, it might be well to consider the third era, or epoch, as terminating with the close of President Washington’s administration, and going back into the second, so far as to trace the events and occurrences which showed the necessity of a general government, different from that framed by the Articles of Confederation, and which prepared the minds of the people for the adoption of the present Constitution. No doubt, the assembly of the first Continental Congress may be regarded as the era at which the union of these States commenced. This took place in Philadelphia, the city distinguished by the great civil events of our early history, on the 5th of September, 1774, on which day the first Continental Congress assembled. Delegates were present from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.

Let this day be ever remembered! It saw assembled from the several Colonies those great men whose names have come down to us, and will descend to all posterity. Their proceedings are remarkable for simplicity, dignity, and unequalled ability. At that day, probably, there could have been convened on no part of this globe an equal number of men, possessing greater talents and ability, or animated by a higher and more patriotic motive. They were men full of the spirit of the occasion, imbued deeply with the general sentiment of the country, of large comprehension, of long foresight, and of few words. They made no speeches for ostentation, they sat with closed doors, and their great maxim was “faire sans dire.” It is true, they only wrote; but the issuing of such writings, on authority, and at such a crisis, was action, high, decisive, national action. They knew the history of the past, they were alive to all the difficulties and all the duties of the present, and they acted from the first, as if the future were all open before them. Peyton Randolph was unanimously chosen President, and Charles Thomson was appointed Secretary. In such a constellation, it would be invidious to point out the bright particular stars. Let me only say, what none can consider injustice to others, that George Washington was one of the number.

The proceedings of the assembly were introduced by religious observances, and devout supplications to the Throne of Grace for the inspirations of wisdom and the spirit of good counsels.

On the second day of the session it was ordered that a committee should be appointed to state the rights of the Colonies, the instances in which those rights had been violated, and the means proper to be pursued for their restoration; and another committee to examine and report upon the several statutes of the English Parliament which had been passed, affecting the trade and manufactures of the Colonies. The members of these committees were chosen on the following day. Immediately afterwards Congress took up, as the foundation of their proceedings, certain resolutions adopted, just before the time of their assembling, by delegates from towns in the county of Suffolk, and especially the town of Boston.

Boston, the early victim of the infliction of wrong by the mother country, the early champion of American liberty; Boston, though in this vast country she may be now surpassed by other cities in numbers, in commerce and wealth, can never be surpassed in the renown of her revolutionary history. She will stand acknowledged, while the world doth stand, as the early promoter and champion of the rights of the Colonies. The English crown frowned upon her with severity and indignation; it only made her stand more erect and put on a face of greater boldness and defiance. The Parliament poured upon her all its indignation; it only held her up with greater illumination, and drew towards her a more enthusiastic attachment and veneration from the country. Boston, as she was in heart, in principle and conduct in 1774, so may she remain till her three hills shall sink into the sea and be no more remembered among men.

Gentlemen, these early proceedings of the citizens of Boston and other inhabitants of the county of Suffolk deserve to be written where all posterity may read them. They were carried to the representative of royalty by the first distinguished martyr in the cause of liberty, Joseph Warren. How fit that he who was not long afterwards to fall in the defence of this liberty, and to seal his love of country with his blood, full of its spirit and its principles, should be charged with its remonstrances to the throne of England! No encomium, no eulogy upon the State of which I have the honor to be a citizen, can exceed that which is expressed in the unanimous resolution of the first American Congress of the 8th of October, 1774, in these words:

“Resolved, That this Congress approve the opposition of the Massachusetts Bay to the execution of the late acts of Parliament; and if the same shall be attempted to be carried into execution by force, in such case all America ought to support them in their opposition.”

Gentlemen, I will not believe that the ancient Commonwealth of Massachusetts can ever depart from her true character or cease to deserve this immortal honor; I think it impossible. But should she be left to such forgetfulness of herself and all that belongs to her, should she temporarily or permanently stray away from the paths of her ancient patriotism, should she, which Heaven avert, be willing to throw off her original and all-American mantle and to disrobe herself, in the presence of the world, of all her nationality of character, there are others who would eagerly seize that mantle, and who would show themselves capable of wearing it with grace, dignity, and power. I need not say here where those others are to be found. I am in the city in which Washington first took upon himself the administration of the Government, I am near the spot on which all hearts and all hopes were concentrated in 1789. I bring the whole scene, with all its deep interests, before me. I see the crowds that fill and throng the streets, I see the ten thousand faces anxious to look on him to whose wisdom, prudence, and patriotism the destinies of the country are now committed. I see the august form, I behold the serene face of Washington; I observe his reverent manner when he rises in the presence of countless multitudes, and, looking up with religious awe to heaven, solemnly swears before those multitudes and before Him that sitteth on the circle of those heavens, that he will support the Constitution of his country, so help him God!

And I can hear the shouts and acclamations that rend the air, I see outpouring tears of joy and hope, I see men clasping each other’s hands, and I hear them exclaim: “We have at last a country; we have a Union; and in that Union is strength. We have a government able to keep us together, and we have a chief magistrate, an object of confidence, attachment, and love to us all.”

Citizens of New York, men of this generation, is there anything which warms your hearts more than these recollections? Or can you contemplate the unparalleled growth of your city, in population and all human blessings, without feeling that the spot is hallowed and the hour consecrated, where and when your career of prosperity and happiness began?

But, gentlemen, my heart would sink within me, and voice and speech would depart from me, if I were compelled to believe that your fidelity to the Constitution of the country, signal and unquestioned as it is, could ever exceed that of the State whose soil was moistened by the blood of the first heroes in the cause of liberty, and whose history has been characterized from the beginning by zealous and uniform support of the principles of Washington.

This first Congress sat from the 5th day of September until the 26th of October, and it then dissolved. Its whole proceedings are embraced in forty-nine pages; but these few pages contain the substance and the original form and pressure of our American liberty, before a government of checks and balances and departments, with separate and well defined powers, was established. Its principal papers are: an address to the people of Great Britain, written by John Jay; a memorial to the inhabitants of the British colonies, written by Richard Henry Lee; a petition to the King and an address to the inhabitants of Quebec, written by John Dickinson. Note*

There is one resolution of the old Congress, adopted on the 14th of March, 1776, which has never received so much attention as it deserves.

It is in these words:

“Resolved, That it be recommended to the several assemblies, conventions, councils, or committees of safety, immediately to cause all persons to be disarmed within their respective Colonies, who are notoriously disaffected to the cause of America, or who have not associated and refuse to associate to defend by arms the United Colonies against the hostile attempts of the British fleets and armies.”

Extract from the minutes. Charles Thomson,


Note* In a copy of the printed journal of the proceedings of the Provincial Congress of 1774, which belonged to Caesar Rodney, and which contains interlineations, probably in his handwriting, the petition to the King is stated to have been written by John Adams, and corrected by John Dickinson. Its authorship is claimed also for Richard Henry Lee, by his biographer, probably on the ground that he was the chairman of the committee, and may have prepared the original draft of the petition which was recommitted, Mr. Dickinson being at the same time added to the committee; and it is included in the edition of Mr. Dickinson’s writings published at Wilmington during his lifetime, and superintended by himself. Mr. Rodney’s copy of the journal ascribes the memorial to the inhabitants of the British colonies, to William Livingston. But there is the best proof that it was written by Richard Henry Lee.

Several of the governors of the States, conventions, councils, or committees of safety took immediate measures for carrying this resolution into effect. The proceedings in consequence of it have been preserved, however, only in a few States. The fullest returns which can be found are believed to be from New Hampshire and New York. The form adopted was a recital of the resolution of Congress, and then the promise, or pledge, in the following words:

“In consequence of the above resolution of the Continental Congress, and to show our determination in joining our American brethren in defending the lives, liberties, and properties of the inhabitants of the United Colonies: We, the subscribers, do hereby solemnly engage and promise that we will, to the utmost of our power, at the risk of our lives and fortunes, with arms, oppose the hostile proceedings of the British fleets and armies against the United American Colonies.”

In the mountainous State of New Hampshire and among the highest of its mountains, then containing only a few scattered settlements, was the township of Salisbury. The Merrimac River, forming its eastern boundary, now so pleasant in scenery, and with so much richness and industry on its banks, was then a roaring and foaming stream seeking its way, amidst immense forests on either side, from the White Mountains to the sea. The settlers in this township were collected, and the promise or pledge proposed by the Continental Congress, of life and fortune, presented to them. “All,” as the record says, “freely signed except two.”

In looking to this record, thus connected with the men of my own birthplace, I confess I was gratified to find who were the signers and who were the dissentients. Among the former was he from whom I am immediately descended, with all his brothers, and his whole kith and kin. This is sufficient emblazonry for my arms, enough of heraldry for me.

Are there young men before me who wish to learn and to imitate the spirit of their ancestors, who wish to live and breathe in that spirit, who desire that every pulsation of their hearts and every aspiration of their ambition shall be American and nothing but American? Let them master the contents of the immortal papers of the first Congress, and fully imbue themselves with their sentiments.

The great Lord Chatham spoke of this assembly in terms which have caused my heart to thrill, and my eyes to be moistened, whenever I recollect them, from my first reading of them to this present hour:

“When your Lordships look at the papers transmitted us from America, when you consider their decency, firmness, and wisdom, you cannot but respect their cause and wish to make it your own. For myself, I must declare and avow that in all my reading and observation, and it has been my favorite study (I have read Thucydides and have studied and admired the master-states of the world), that for solidity of reasoning, force of sagacity, and wisdom of conclusion under such a complication of difficult circumstances, no nation or body of men can stand in preference to the general Congress at Philadelphia. I trust it is obvious to your Lordships that all attempts to impose servitude upon such men, to establish despotism over such a mighty continental nation, must be vain, must be fatal. We shall be forced ultimately to retract; let us retract while we can, not when we must.”

This first Congress, for the ability which it manifested, the principles which it proclaimed, and the characters of those who composed it, makes an illustrious chapter in our American history. Its members should be regarded not only individually, but as in a group; they should be viewed as living pictures exhibiting young America as it then was, and when the seeds of its public destiny were beginning to start into life, well described by our early motto as being full of energy and prospered by Heaven:

“Non sine Dis, animosus infans.” [Not without God is the infant courageous]

Some of the members of this Congress have lived to my time, and I have had the honor of seeing and knowing them; and there are those in this assembly, doubtless, who have beheld the stately form of Washington, and looked upon the mild and intelligent face, and heard the voice of John Jay.

For myself, I love to travel back in imagination, to place myself in the midst of this assembly, this Union of greatness and patriotism, and to contemplate as if I had witnessed its profound deliberations and its masterly exhibitions, both of the rights and of the wrongs of the country.

I may not dwell longer on this animating and enchanting picture. Another grand event succeeds it, and that is, the convention which framed the Constitution, the spirited debates in the States by the ablest men of those States, upon its adoption, and finally the first Congress, filled by the gray-haired men of the Revolution, and younger and vigorous patriots and lovers of liberty, and Washington himself in the principal chair of state, surrounded by his heads of department, selected from those who enjoyed the greatest portion of his own regard, and stood highest in the esteem of their country.

Neither Thucydides nor Xenophon, neither Sallust nor Livy, presents any picture of an assembly of public men, or any scene of history which, in its proper grandeur, or its large and lasting influence upon the happiness of mankind, equals this.

Its importance, indeed, did not at the moment strike the minds of ordinary men. But Burke saw it with an intuition clear as the light of heaven. Charles Fox saw it; and sagacious and deep thinking minds over all Europe perceived it.

England, England, how would thy destinies have been altered if the advice of Chatham, Burke, and Fox had been followed!

Shall I say altered for the better ? — certainly not. England is stronger and richer at this moment than if she had listened to the unheeded words of her great statesmen. Neither nations nor individuals always foresee that which their own interest and happiness require.

Our greatest blessings often arise from the disappointment of our most anxious hopes and our most fervent wishes:

                               ————“Let us know,
Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well,
When our deep plots do fail; and that should teach us,
There’s a divinity that shapes our ends,
Bough hew them how we will.”

Instead of subject colonies, England now beholds on these shores a mighty rival, rich, powerful, intelligent like herself.

And may these countries be forever friendly rivals. May their power and greatness, sustaining themselves, be always directed to the promotion of the peace, the prosperity, the enlightenment, and the liberty of mankind; and if it be their united destiny, in the course of human events, that they be called upon, in the cause of humanity and in the cause of freedom, to stand against a world in arms, they are of a race and of a blood to meet that crisis without shrinking from danger and without quailing in the presence of earthly power.

Gentlemen, I must bring these desultory remarks to a close. I terminate them where perhaps I ought to have begun,— namely, with a few words on the present state and condition of our country, and the prospects which are before her.

Unborn ages and visions of glory crowd upon my soul, the realization of all which, however, is in the hands and good pleasure of Almighty God, but, under His divine blessing, it will be dependent on the character and the virtues of ourselves and of our posterity.

If classical history has been found to be, is now, and shall continue to be, the concomitant of free institutions and of popular eloquence, what a field is opening to us for another Herodotus, another Thucydides, and another Livy! And let me say, gentlemen, that if we and our posterity shall be true to the Christian religion, if we and they shall live always in the fear of God, and shall respect His commandments, if we and they shall maintain just moral sentiments and such conscientious convictions of duty as shall control the heart and life, we may have the highest hopes of the future fortunes of our country; and if we maintain those institutions of government and that political union, exceeding all praise as much as it exceeds all former examples of political associations, we may be sure of one thing, that while our country furnishes materials for a thousand masters of the historic art, it will afford no topic for a Gibbon. It will have no decline and fall. It will go on prospering and to prosper. But if we and our posterity reject religious instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality, and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity. Should that catastrophe happen, let it have no history! Let the horrible narrative never be written! Let its fate be like that of the lost books of Livy, which no human eye shall ever read, or the missing Pleiad, of which no man can ever know more than that it is lost, and lost forever!

But, gentlemen, I will not take my leave of you in a tone of despondency. We may trust that Heaven will not forsake us, nor permit us to forsake ourselves. We must strengthen ourselves and gird up our loins with new resolution; we must counsel each other, and, determined to sustain each other in the support of the Constitution, prepare to meet manfully and united whatever of difficulty or of danger, whatever of effort or of sacrifice the Providence of God may call upon us to meet. Are we of this generation so derelict, have we so little of the blood of our revolutionary fathers coursing through our veins, that we cannot preserve what they achieved? The world will cry out ” shame” upon us if we show ourselves unworthy to be the descendants of those great and illustrious men who fought for their liberty and secured it to their posterity by the Constitution of the United States.

Gentlemen, exigencies arise in the history of nations when competition and rivalry, disputes and contentions are powerful. Exigencies arise in which good men of all parties and all shades of political sentiment are required to reconsider their opinions and differences, to readjust their positions, and to bring themselves together, if they can, in the spirit of harmony. Such a state of things, in my judgment, has happened in our day. An exigency has arisen, the duties and the dangers of which should sink deep within all our hearts. We have a great and wise Constitution. We have grown, flourished, and prospered under it with a degree of rapidity unequalled in the history of the world. Founded on the basis of equal civil rights, its provisions secure perfect equality and freedom; those who live under it are equal and enjoy the same privileges. It is to be presumed that all wise and good men of the nation have the same end in view, though they may take different means to obtain that great end, — the preservation and protection of the Constitution and Government. If, then, they have one and the same object, they must unite in the means and be willing each to surrender something to the opinions of others, to secure the harmony of the whole. Unity of purpose should produce harmony of action. This general object then, being the preservation of the Constitution, the only efficient means to accomplish this end is the union of all its friends. The Constitution has enemies, secret and professed, but they cannot disguise the fact that it secures us many benefits. These enemies are unlike in character, but they all act for the same purpose. Some of them are enthusiasts, self-sufficient and headstrong. They fancy that they can strike out for themselves a better path than that laid down for them, as the son of Apollo thought he could find a better course across the heavens for the sun.

“Thus Phaeton once, amidst the Ethereal plains,
Leaped on his father’s car, and seized the reins,
Far from his course impelled the glowing sun,
Till nature’s laws to wild disorder run.”

Heat, in the intellectual constitution of these enthusiasts, is distributed just exactly as it should not be; they have hot heads and cold hearts. They are rash, reckless, and fierce for change, and with no affection for the existing institutions of their country.

Other enemies there are, more cool and with more calculation. These have a deeper and more fixed and dangerous purpose; they formerly spoke of a forcible resistance to the provisions of the Constitution; they now speak of secession. Let me say, gentlemen, that secession from us is accession elsewhere. He who renounces the protection of the “stars and stripes,” will assuredly shelter himself under another flag; that will happen from inevitable necessity.

These malcontents find it not difficult to inflame men’s passions; they attribute all the misfortunes of individual men of different States, sections, and communities, all want of prosperity — to the Union. There is a strange co-operation of what are called antagonistic opinions. Extremes meet and act together.

There are those in the country who profess, in their own words, even to hate the Constitution because it tolerates in the Southern States the institutions existing therein; and there are others who profess to hate it, and do hate it, because it does not better sustain these institutions. These opposite classes meet and shake hands together, and say: “Let us see what we can do to accomplish our common end. Give us dissolution, revolution, secession, anarchy, and then let us have a general scramble for our separate objects.” Now the friends of the Constitution must rally and unite. They must forget the things which are behind, and act with immovable firmness, like a band of brothers, with moderation and conciliation, forgetting past disagreements and looking only to the great object set before them,—the preservation of the Constitution bequeathed to them by their ancestors. They must gird up their loins for the work. It is a duty which they owe to these ancestors and to the generations which are to succeed them.

Gentlemen, I give my confidence, my countenance, my heart and hand, my entire co-operation to all good men, without reference to the past, or pledge for the future, who are willing to stand by the Constitution.

I will quarrel with no man about past differences, I will reproach no one, but only say that we stand together here in a most interesting period of our history, with the same general love of country, the same veneration for ancestry, and the same regard for posterity; and let us act in that spirit of union which actuated our ancestors when they framed the institutions which it is ours to preserve. But I will not carry my toleration so far as to justify, in the slightest degree, any defection from that great and absolutely essential point, the preservation of the Union ; and I think every man should make his sentiments known on this point. For myself I have no hesitation, and cannot act with those who have. Other questions, questions of policy, are subordinate. This is paramount . Every man who is for the Union should come out boldly and say so, without condition or hypothesis, without ifs, ands and buts. What Cicero says on another occasion is fully applicable to this: “denique inscription sit, patres conscripti, in fronte unius cujusque civis, quod de republica sentia.” Let every man bear inscribed on his forehead what are his sentiments concerning the republic. There are persons weak enough, foolish enough, to think and to say that if the Constitution which holds these States together should be broken up, there would be found some other and some better chain of connection. This is rash! This is rash! I no more believe it possible that if this Union be dissolved, held together as it now is by the Constitution, especially as I look on these thirty-one States, with their various institutions, spreading over so vast a country, with such varieties of climate, — I say, I no more believe it possible that this Union, should it once be dissolved, could ever again be re-formed, and all the States re-associated, than I believe it possible that, if, by the fiat of Almighty power, the law of gravitation should be abolished, and the orbs which compose the Universe should rush into illimitable space, jostling against each other, they could be brought back and re-adjusted into harmony by any new principle of attraction. I hardly know whether the manner of our political death would be an aggravation, or an alleviation of our fate. We shall die no lingering death. We shall fall victims to neither war, pestilence, nor famine. An earthquake would shake the foundations of the globe, pull down the pillars of heaven, and bury us at once in endless darkness. Such may be the fate of this country and its institutions. May I never live to see that day! May I not survive to hear any apocalyptic angel crying through the heavens, with such a voice as announced the fall of Babylon, ‘Ἔπεσεν, ἔπεσεν, Αμερικη ἡ μεγάλη, καὶ ἐγένετο κατοικητήριον δαιμονίων, καὶ φυλακὴ παντὸς πνεύματος ἀκαθάρτου.” [Translation; Greek: ‘Is fallen, is fallen, America the Great has become a habitation of demons and a hold for every unclean spirit.’]

Gentlemen, inspiring auspices, this day, surround us and cheer us. It is the anniversary of the birth of Washington. We should know this, even if we had lost our calendars, for we should be reminded of it by the shouts of joy and gladness. The whole atmosphere is redolent of his name; hills and forests, rocks and rivers, echo and re-echo his praises. All the good, whether learned or unlearned, high or low, rich or poor, feel this day that there is one treasure common to them all, and that is the fame and character of Washington. They recount his deeds, ponder over his principles and teachings, and resolve to be more and more guided by them in the future. To the old and the young, to all born in the land, and to all whose love of liberty has brought them from foreign shores to make this the home of their adoption, the name of Washington is this day an exhilarating theme. Americans by birth are proud of his character, and exiles from foreign shores are eager to participate in admiration of him; and it is true that he is, this day, here, every where, all the world over, more an object of love and regard than on any day since his birth.

Gentlemen, on Washington’s principles, and under the guidance of his example, will we and our children uphold the Constitution. Under his military leadership, our fathers conquered; and under the outspread banner of his political and constitutional principles will we also conquer. To that standard, we shall adhere, and uphold it, through evil report and through good report. We will meet danger, we will meet death, if they come, in its protection; and we will struggle on, in daylight and in darkness, aye, in the thickest darkness, with all the storms which it may bring with it, till,

“Danger’s troubled night is o’er,
And the star of Peace return.”

Copyright © 2014 © 2015 TeaPartyEdu Foundation Truths The Patriot Brotherhood @CaptainJDavis

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


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

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

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

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







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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Put us, say some, on the footing we were in the year 1763: to which I answer, the request is not now in the power of Britain to comply with, neither will she propose it; but if it were, and even should it be granted, I ask, as a reasonable question, by what means is such a corrupt and faithless court to be kept to its engagements? Another parliament, nay, even the present, may hereafter repeal the obligation, on the pretence of its being violently obtained, or unwisely granted; and, in that case, where i