No People Will Tamely Surrender Their Liberties, Where Knowledge is Shared and Virtue Preserved

Samuel Adams quote Regarding Private & Public Virtue

Samuel Adams Regarding Private & Public Virtue [Click to enlarge]

No People will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can they easily be subdued, where Knowledge is diffused and Virtue preserved.

Samuel Adams To James Warren [shared as written with no attempt to modernize spelling, language, etc.]

Philada., Nov’r. 4th, 1775

My Dear Sir, — I thank you heartily for your very acceptable Letter of the 23 of October by Fessenden. It is very afflicting to hear the universal Complaint of the Want of that most necessary Article, Gunpowder, and especially in the Camp before Boston. I hope however that this Want will soon be supplied, and God grant that a good Use may be made of it. The Congress yesterday was presented with the Colors of the seventh Regiment taken in Fort Chamblee, [Fort Chambly is a historic fort in La Vallée-du-Richelieu Regional County Municipality, Quebec.] which is surrendered to Major Brown. The Acquisition of 124 Barrils of Powder gives a happy Turn to our Affairs in that Quarter the Success of which I almost began to despair of.

The Gentlemen who have lately returned from the Camp may, perhaps all of them entertain a favorable Opinion of our Colony— I may possibly be partial in saying, not more favorable than it deserves. Be that as it may, the Congress have judged it necessary to continue the Establishment of the Men’s pay, and to enlarge that of the Captains and Lieutenants. In Addition to the Continental Army four new Batallions are to be raised, viz, three for the Defence of South Carolina and one for Georgia. These with 1000 Men before orderd for North Carolina, with the Assistance of provincial Forces, it is hoped will be sufficient to defend the three Southernmost Colonies.

It is recommended to N. Hampshire to form a Government to their own liking, during this Contest; and S. Carolina is allowd to do the same if they judge it necessary. I believe the Time is near when the most timid will see the absolute Necessity of every one of the Colonies setting up a Government within itself.

No Provisions or Produce is to be exported from any of the united Colonies to any part of the World till the first of March except for the Importation of the Unum Necessarium, and for Supplys from one Colony to another, under the Direction of Committees, and a further Exception of live Stock. Under the last Head, and Horses are allowd to be sent to the foreign West Indies. We shall by the Spring know the full Effect of our Non-exportation Agreement in the West Indies. Perhaps Alliances may then be formed with foreign Powers, and Trade opened to all the World Great Britain excepted.

You will possibly think I have set myself down to furnish a few Paragraphs for Edes and Gills paper, and what is more that I am betraying the Secrets of Congress. I confess I am giving my Friend as much Information as I dare, of things which are of such a Nature as that they cannot long be kept secret, and therefore I suppose it never was intended they should be. I mention them however in Confidence that you will not publish them. I wish I was at Liberty to tell you many of the Transactions of our body, but I am restraind by the Ties of Honor; and though it is painful to me, you know, to keep Secrets, I will not violate my Honor to relieve myself or gratify my Friend. [Nine lines are here erased, apparently after the receipt of the letter.] But why have I told you so trifling a Story, for which I cannot forgive my self till I have askd forgiveness of you. We live in a most important Age, which demands that every Moment should be improvd to some serious Purpose. It is the Age of George the Third; and to do Justice to our most gracious King, I will affirm it as my Opinion, that his Councils and Administration will necessarily produce the grandest Revolutions the World has ever yet seen. The Wheels of Providence seem to be in their swiftest Motion. Events succeed each other so rapidly that the most industrious and able Politicians can scarcely improve them to the full purposes for which they seem to be designd.

You must send your best Men here; therefore recall me from this Service. Men of moderate Abilities, especially when weakend by Age are not fit to be employed in founding Empires.

Let me talk with you a little about the Affairs of our own Colony. I persuade my self, my dear friend, that the greatest Care and Circumspection will be used to conduct its internal Police with Wisdom and Integrity. The Eyes of Mankind will be upon you, to see whether the Government, which is now more popular than it has been for many years past, will be productive of more Virtue moral and political. We may look up to Armies for our Defence, but Virtue is our best Security. It is not possible that any State should long continue free, where Virtue is not supremely honord. This is as seasonably as it is justly said by one of the most celebrated Writers of the present time. Perhaps the Form of Government now adopted may be permanent; Should it be only temporary, the golden Opportunity of recovering the Virtue and reforming the Manners of our Country should be industriously improvd.

Our Ancestors laid an excellent Foundation for the Security of Liberty, by setting up in a few years after their Arrival, a publick Seminary of Learning; and by their Laws, they obligd every Town consisting of a certain Number of Families to keep and maintain a Grammar School. I should be much grievd if it should be true as I am informd, that some of our Towns have dismissd their School masters, alledging that the extraordinary Expence of defending the Country renders them unable to support them. I hope this Inattention to the Principles of our wise forefathers does not prevail. If there should be any Danger of it, would not the leading Gentlemen do eminent Service to the Publick, by impressing upon the Minds of the People, the Necessity and Importance of encouraging that System of Education, which in my opinion, is so well calculated to diffuse among the Individuals of the Community, the Principles of Morality, so essentially necessary for the Preservation of publick Liberty. There are Virtues and Vices which are properly called political. “Corruption, Dishonesty to one’s Country, Luxury and Extravagance tend to the Ruin of States.” The opposite Virtues tend to their Establishment. But “there is a Connection between Vices as well as Virtues, and one opens the Door for the Entrance of another.” Therefore “Every able Politician will guard against other Vices” and be attentive to promote every Virtue. He who is void of Virtuous Attachment in private Life, is, or very soon will be void of all Regard to his Country. There is seldom an Instance of a Man guilty of betraying his Country, who had not before lost the feeling of moral Obligation in his private Connections. Before C[hurc]h was detected of holding a criminal Correspondence with the Enemies of his Country, his Infidelity to his Wife had been notorious. Since private and publick Vices, though not always apparently, are in Reality so nearly connected, of how much Importance, how necessary is it, that the utmost pains be taken by the Publick, to have the Principles of Virtue early inculcated on the Minds even of Children, and the moral Sense universally kept alive, and that the wise Institutions of our Ancestors for those great Purposes be encouragd by the Government. For no People will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can they easily be subdued, where Knowledge is diffusd and Virtue preservd. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own Weight, without the Aid of foreign Invaders. There are other things which, I humbly conceive, require the most serious Consideration of the Legislative. We have heretofore complaind, and I think justly, that bad Men have too often found their Way into places of publick Trust. “Nothing is more essential to the Establishment of Manners in a State, than that all Persons employd in Places of Power and Trust be Men of exemplary Characters. The Publick cannot be too curious concerning the Characters of Publick Men.” We have also complaind, that a Plurality of Places incompatible with each other have sometimes been vested in one Person. If under the former Administration there was no Danger to be apprehended from vesting the different Powers of Government in the same Persons, why did the Patriots so loudly protest against it? If Danger is always to be apprehended from it, should we not by continuing the Practice, too much imitate the degenerate Romans, who upon the Fall of Julius set up Augustus? They changd indeed their Masters, and when they had destroyd the Tyrant sufferd the Tyranny to continue. Tell me how a Judge of Probate can consistently sit at the Council Board and joyn in a Decision there upon an appeal from his own Judgment? Perhaps, being personally interested in another Appointment, I may view it with a partial Eye. But you may well remember that the Secretary of the Colony declind taking a Seat at the Council Board, to which he had been elected prior to his Appointment, until, in the House of Representatives he had publickly requested their opinion of the Propriety of it, and there heard it explicitly declared by an eminent and truly patriotick Member as his Opinion, that as the Place was not then as it formerly had been, the Gift of the Crown but of the People, there was no Impropriety in his holding it. The rest of the Members were silent. Major H[awle]y has as much of the stern Virtue and Spirit of a Roman Censor as any Gentleman I ever conversd with. The Appointment of the Secretary and his Election to a Seat at the Board were both made in the Time of his Absence from the Colony and without the Solicitation of any of his Friends that he knew of—most assuredly without his own. As he is resolvd never wittingly to disgrace himself or his Country, he still employs his Mind on the Subject, and wishes for your candid and impartial Sentiments.

 I fear I have trespassd on your Leisure, and conclude, with assuring you that I am with sincere Regards to Mrs. Warren, your very affectionate Friend

S. A.

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Early History of Boston by Josiah Quincy Jr. “The Patriot” President of Harvard University

Josiah Quincy Jr. "The Patriot" Concerning Human Happiness & Freedom

Josiah Quincy Jr. “The Patriot” Concerning Human Happiness & Freedom (Click to enlarge)

[A brief sketch of the leading events in the early history of Boston had been prepared for this little volume: but the following remarks were finally considered more appropriate, to precede views of Boston as it is in 1851. They form part of “An address to the citizens of Boston, on the 17th of September, 1830, the close of the second century from the first settlement of the city.” By Josiah Quincy, LL.D., then President of Harvard University.]

Speech given at a ceremony to celebrate the addition of Dane Law College, made possible by Nathan Dane’s contribution to the university.

Cities and empires, not leas than individuals, are chiefly indebted for their fortunes to circumstances and influences independent of the labors and wisdom of the passing generation. Is our lot cast in a happy soil, beneath a favored sky, and under the shelter of free institutions? How few of all these blessings do we owe to our own power, or our own prudence! How few, on which we cannot discern the impress of long past generations!

It is natural that reflections of this kind should awaken curiosity concerning the men of past ages. It is suitable, and characteristic of noble natures, to love to trace in venerated institutions the evidences of ancestral worth and wisdom; and to cherish that mingled sentiment of awe and admiration which takes possession of the soul in the presence of ancient, deep-laid, and massy monuments of intellectual and moral power.

Standing, after the lapse of two centuries, on the very spot selected for us by our fathers, and surrounded by social, moral, and religious blessings greater than paternal love, in its fondest visions, ever dared to fancy, we naturally turn our eyes backward, on the descending current of years; seeking the causes of that prosperity which has given this city so distinguished a name and rank among similar associations of men.

Happily its foundations were not laid in dark ages, nor is its origin to be sought among loose and obscure traditions. The age of our early ancestors was, in many respects, eminent for learning and civilization. Our ancestors themselves were deeply versed in the knowledge and attainments of their period. Not only their motives and acts appear in the general histories of their time, but they are unfolded in their own writings, with a simplicity and boldness, at once commanding admiration and not permitting mistake. If this condition of things restrict the imagination in its natural tendency to exaggerate, it assists the judgment rightly to analyze, and justly to appreciate. If it deny the power, enjoyed by ancient cities and states, to elevate our ancestors above the condition of humanity, it confers a much more precious privilege, that of estimating by unequivocal standards the intellectual and moral greatness of the early, intervening, and passing periods; and thus of judging concerning comparative attainment and progress in those qualities which constitute the dignity of our species.

Instead of looking back, as antiquity was accustomed to do, on fabling legends of giants and heroes, — of men exceeding in size, in strength, and in labor, all experience and history, and, consequently, being obliged to contemplate the races of men dwindling with time, and growing less amid increasing stimulants and advantages; we are thus enabled to view things in lights more conformed to the natural suggestions of reason, and actual results of observation;— to witness improvement in its slow but sure progress; in a general advance, constant and unquestionable; — to pay due honors to the greatness and virtues of our early ancestors, and be, at the same time, just to the not inferior greatness and virtues of succeeding generations of men, their descendents and our progenitors.

Thus we substantiate the cheering conviction, that the virtues of ancient times have not been lost, or debased, in the course of their descent, but, in many respects, have been refined and elevated; and so, standing faithful to the generations which are past, and fearless in the presence of the generations to come, we accumulate on our own times the responsibility that an inheritance, which has descended to us enlarged and improved, shall not be transmitted by us diminished or deteriorated.

What then, in conclusion of this great topic, are the elements of the liberty, prosperity, and safety, which the inhabitants of New England at this day enjoy? In what language, and concerning what comprehensive truths, does the wisdom of former times address the inexperience of the future?

Those elements are simple, obvious, and familiar.

Every civil and religious blessing of New England, all that here gives happiness to human life, or security to human virtue, is alone to be perpetuated in the forms and under the auspices of a free commonwealth. The commonwealth itself has no other strength or hope, than the intelligence and virtue of the individuals that compose it. For the intelligence and virtue of individuals, there is no other human assurance than laws providing for the education of the whole people.

These laws themselves have no strength, or efficient sanction, except in the moral and accountable nature of man, disclosed in the records of the Christian’s faith; the right to read, to construe, and to judge concerning which, belongs to no class or cast of men, but exclusively to the individual, who must stand or fall by his own acts and his own faith, and not by those of another.

The great comprehensive truths, written in letters of living light on every page of our history, — the language addressed by every past age of New England to all future ages is this; — Human happiness has no perfect security but freedom!freedom none but virtue;virtue none but knowledge; and neither freedom, nor virtue, nor knowledge has any vigor, or immortal hope, except in the principles of the Christian faith and in the sanctions of the Christian religion.

As our thoughts course along the events of past times, from the hour of the first settlement of Boston to that in which we are now assembled, they trace the strong features of its character, indelibly impressed upon its acts and in its history; — clear conceptions of duty; bold vindications of right; readiness to incur dangers and meet sacrifices, in the maintenance of liberty, civil and religious. Early selected as the place of the chief settlement of New England, it has, through every subsequent period, maintained its relative ascendancy. In the arts of peace and in the energies of war, in the virtues of prosperity and adversity, in wisdom to plan and vigor to execute, in extensiveness of enterprise, success in accumulating wealth, and liberality in its distribution, its inhabitants, if not unrivalled, have not been surpassed, by any similar society of men. Through good report and evil report, its influence has, at all times, been so distinctly seen and acknowledged in events, and been so decisive on the destinies of the region of which it was the head, that the inhabitants of the adjoining colonies of a foreign nation early gave the name of this place to the whole country; and at this day, among their descendents, the people of the whole United States are distinguished by the name of “Bostonians.’

Amidst perils and obstructions, on the bleak side of the mountain on which it was first cast, the seedling oak, self-rooted, shot upward with a determined vigor. Now slighted and now assailed; amidst alternating sunshine and storm; with the axe of a native foe at its root, and the lightning of a foreign power, at times, scathing its top, or withering its branches, it grew, it flourished, it stands, —may it forever stand! — the honor of the field.

Our ancestors have left no Corinthian temples on our hills, no Gothic cathedrals on our plains, no proud pyramid, no storied obelisk, in our cities. But mind is there. Sagacious enterprise is there. An active, vigorous, intelligent, moral population throng our cities, and predominate in our fields; men patient of labor, submissive to law, respectful to authority, regardful of right, faithful to liberty. These are the monuments of our ancestors. They stand immutable and immortal, in the social, moral, and intellectual condition of their descendants. They exist, in the spirit which their precepts instilled, and their example implanted. Let no man think that to analyze, and place in a just light, the virtues of the first settlers of New England, is a departure from the purpose of this celebration; or deem so meanly of our duties, as to conceive that merely local relations, the circumstances which have given celebrity and character to this single city, are the only, or the most appropriate topics for the occasion. It was to this spot, during twelve successive years, that the great body of those first settlers emigrated. In this place, they either fixed permanently their abode, or took their departure from it for the coast, or the interior.

Whatever honor devolves on this metropolis from the events connected with its first settlement, is not solitary or exclusive; it is shared with Massachusetts; with New England; in some sense with the whole United States. For what part of this wide empire, be it sea or shore, lake or river, mountain or valley, have the descendants of the first settlers of New England not traversed? What depth of forest not penetrated? what danger of nature or man not defied? Where is the cultivated field, in redeeming which from the wilderness, their vigor has not been displayed? Where amid unsubdued nature, by the side of the first log-hut of the settler, does the school-house stand and the church-spire rise, unless the sons of New England are there? Where does improvement advance, under the active energy of willing hearts and ready hands, prostrating the moss-covered monarchs of the wood, and from their ashes, amid their charred roots, bidding the greensward and the waving harvest to upspring, and the spirit of the fathers of New England is not seen, hovering and shedding around the benign influences of sound social, moral, and religious institutions, stronger and more enduring than knotted oak or tempered steel? The swelling tide of their descendants has spread upon our coasts; ascended our rivers; taken possession of our plains. Already it encircles our lakes. At this hour the rushing noise of the advancing wave startles the wild beast in his lair among the prairies of the West. Soon it shall be seen climbing the Rocky mountains, and, as it dashes over their cliffs, shall be hailed by the dwellers on the Pacific,[Note:*] as the harbinger of the coming blessings of safety, liberty, and truth.

Note:* This, it will be recollected, was written some years before the gold discoveries in California.

 

The glory, which belongs to the virtues of our ancestors, is seen radiating from the nature of their design; —from the spirit in which it was executed; — and from the character of their institutions.

That emigration of Englishmen, which, two centuries ago, resulted in the settlement of this metropolis, was distinguished by the comparative greatness of the means employed, and the number, rank, fortune, and intellectual endowments of those engaged in it, as leaders or associates. Twelve ships, transporting somewhat less than nine hundred souls, constituted the physical strength of the first enterprise. In the course of the twelve succeeding years, twenty-two thousand souls emigrated in one hundred and ninety-two ships, at a cost, including the private expenses of the adventurers, which cannot be estimated, in our currency, at less than one million of dollars. At that time the tide of emigration was stayed. Intelligent writers of the last century assert that more persons had subsequently gone from New England to Europe, than had come to it during the same period from that quarter of the globe. A contemporary historian represents the leaders of the first emigration as ” gentlemen of good estate and reputation, descended from, or connected by marriage with, noble families ; having large means, and great yearly revenue, sufficient in all reason to content; their tables abundant in food, their coffers in coin; possessing beautiful houses, filled with rich furniture; gainful in their business, and growing rich daily; well provided for themselves, and having a sure competence for their children; wanting nothing of a worldly nature to complete the prospects of ease and enjoyment, or which could contribute to the pleasures, the prospects, or the splendors of life.”

The question forces itself on the mind. Why did such men emigrate? Why did men of their condition exchange a pleasant and prosperous home for a repulsive and cheerless wilderness? a civilized for a barbarous vicinity? why, quitting peaceful and happy dwellings, dare the dangers of tempestuous and unexplored seas, the rigors of untried and severe climates the difficulties of a hard soil, and the inhuman warfare of a savage foe? An answer must be sought in the character of the times; and in the spirit which the condition of their native country and age had a direct tendency to excite and cherish. The general civil and religious aspect of the English nation, in the age of our ancestors, and in that immediately preceding their emigration, was singularly hateful and repulsive A foreign hierarchy contending with a domestic despotism for infallibility and supremacy in matters of faith. Confiscation, imprisonment the axe and the stake, approved and customary means of making proselytes and promoting uniformity. The fires of Smithfield, now lighted by the corrupt and selfish Zeal of Roman pontiffs; and now rekindled by the no less corrupt and selfish zeal of English sovereigns. All men clamorous for the rights of conscience, when in subjection; all actively persecuting when in authority. Everywhere religion considered as a state entity, and having apparently no real existence, except in associations in support of established power, or in opposition to it.

The moral aspect of the age was not less odious than its civil. Every benign and characteristic virtue of Christianity was publicly conjoined, in close alliance, with its most offensive opposite. Humility wearing the tiara, and brandishing the keys, in the excess of the pride of temporal and spiritual power. The Roman pontiff, under the title of “the servant of servants,” with his foot on the neck of every monarch in Christendom; and under the seal of the fisherman of Galilee, dethroning kings and giving away kingdoms. Purity, content, and self-denial preached by men who held the wealth of Europe tributary to their luxury sensuality and spiritual pride. Brotherly love in the mouth, while the hand applied the instrument of torture. Charity, mutual forbearance and forgiveness chanted in unison with clanking chains and crackling fagots.

Nor was the intellectual aspect of the ageless repulsive than its civil and moral. The native charm of the religious feeling lost or disfigured amidst forms, and ceremonies, and disciplines. By one class, piety was identified with copes, and crosiers, and tippets, and genuflexions. By another class, all these are abhorred as the tricks and conjuring garments of popery, or, at best, in the language of Calvin, as tolerable fooleries ; while they, on their part, identified piety with looks, and language, and gestures extracted or typified from Scripture, and fashioned according to the newest “pattern of the mount.” By none were the rights of private judgment acknowledged. By all, creeds, and dogmas, and confessions and catechisms, collected from Scripture with metaphysical skill, arranged with reference to temporal power and influence, and erected into standards of faith, were made the flags and rallying points of the spiritual swordsmen of the church militant. .

The first emotion which this view of that period excites, at the present day, is contempt or disgust. But the men of that age are no more responsible for the mistakes into which they fell, under the circumstances in which the intellectual eye was then placed, than we, at this day, for those optical illusions to which the natural eye is subject, before time and experience have corrected the judgment and instructed it in the true laws of nature and vision. It was their fate to live in the crepuscular state of the intellectual day, and by the law of their nature they were compelled to see things darkly, through false and shifting mediums, and in lights at once dubious and deceptive. For centuries, a night of Egyptian darkness had overspread Europe, in the “palpable obscure” of which, priests and monarchs and nobles had not only found means to enthrall the minds of the multitude, but absolutely to loose and bewilder their own.

When the light of learning began to dawn, the first rays of the rising splendor dazzled and confused, rather than directed, the mind. As the coming light penetrated the thick darkness, the ancient cumulative cloud severed into new forms. Its broken masses became tinged with an uncertain and shifting radiance. Shadows assumed the aspect of substances; the evenescent suggestions of fancy, the look of fixed realities. The wise were at a loss what to believe, or what to discredit; how to quit and where to hold. On all sides sprang up sects and parties, infinite in number, incomprehensible in doctrine; often imperceptible in difference; yet each claiming for itself infallibility, and, in the sphere it affected to influence, supremacy; each violent and hostile to the others, haughty and hating its non-adhering brother, in a spirit wholly repugnant to the humility and love inculcated by that religion, by which each pretended to be actuated; and ready to resort, when it had power, to corporeal penalties, even to death itself, as allowed modes of self-defence and proselytism.

It was the fate of the ancestors of New England to have their lot cast in a state of society thus unprecedented. They were of that class of the English nation, in whom the systematic persecutions of a concentrated civil and ecclesiastical despotism had enkindled an intense interest concerning man’s social and religious rights. Their sufferings had created in their minds a vivid and inextinguishable love of civil and religious liberty; a fixed resolve, at every peril, to assert and maintain their natural rights. Among the boldest and most intelligent of this class of men, chiefly known by the name of Puritans, were the founders of this metropolis. To a superficial view, their zeal seems directed to forms and ceremonies and disciplines which have become, at this day, obsolete or modified, and so seems mistaken or misplaced. But the wisdom of zeal for any object is not to be measured by the particular nature of that object, but by the nature of the principle which the circumstances of the times, or of society, have identified with such object.

Liberty, whether civil or religious, is among the noblest objects of human regard. Yet, to a being constituted like man, abstract liberty has no existence, and over him no practical influence. To be for him an efficient principle of action, it must be embodied in some sensible object. Thus the form of a cap, the color of a surplice, ship-money, a tax on tea, or on stamped paper, objects in themselves indifferent, have been so inseparably identified with the principle temporarily connected with them, that martyrs have died at the stake, and patriots have fallen in the field, and this wisely and nobly, for the sake of the principle, made by the circumstances of the time to inhere in them.

Now in the age of our fathers, the principle of civil and religious liberty became identified with forms, disciplines, and modes of worship. The zeal of our fathers was graduated by the importance of the inhering principle. This gave elevation to that zeal. This creates interest in their sufferings. This entitles them to rank among patriots and martyrs, who have voluntarily sacrificed themselves to the cause of conscience and their country. Indignant at being denied the enjoyment of the rights of conscience, which were in that age identified with those sensible objects, and resolute to vindicate them, they quitted country and home, crossed the Atlantic, and, without other auspices than their own strength and their confidence in Heaven, they proceeded to lay the foundation of a commonwealth, under the principles and by the stamina of which, their posterity have established an actual and uncontroverted independence, not less happy than glorious. To their enthusiastic vision, all the comforts of life and all the pleasures of society were light and worthless in comparison with the liberty they sought. The tempestuous sea was less dreadful than the troubled waves of civil discord; the quicksands, the unknown shoals, and unexplored shores of a savage coast, less fearful than the metaphysical abysses and perpetually shifting whirlpools of despotic ambition and ecclesiastical policy and intrigue; the bow and the tomahawk of the transatlantic barbarian, less terrible than the flame and faggot of the civilized European. In the calm of our present peace and prosperity, it is difficult for us to realize or appreciate their sorrows and sacrifices. They sought a new world, lying far off in space, destitute of all the attractions which make home and native land dear and venerable. Instead of cultivated fields and a civilized neighborhood, the prospect before them presented nothing but dreary wastes, cheerless climates, and repulsive wildernesses, possessed by wild beasts and savages; the intervening ocean unexplored and intersected by the fleets of a hostile nation ; its usual dangers multiplied to the fancy, and in fact, by ignorance of real hazards, and natural fears of such as the event proved to be imaginary.

“Pass on” exclaims one of these adventurers, “and attend, while these soldiers of faith ship for this western world; while they and their wives and their little ones take an eternal leave of their country and kindred. With what heart-breaking affection did they press loved friends to their bosoms, whom they were never to see again! their voices broken by grief, till tears streaming eased their hearts to recovered speech again; natural affections clamorous as they take a perpetual banishment from their native soil; their enterprise scorned; their motives derided; and they counted but madmen and fools. But time shall discover the wisdom with which they were endued, and the sequel shall show how their policy overtopped all the human policy of this world.”

Winthrop, their leader and historian, in his simple narrative of the voyage, exhibits them, when in severe sufferings, resigned; in instant expectation of battle, fearless; amid storm, sickness, and death, calm, confident, and undismayed. “Our trust,” says he, “was in the Lord of hosts.” For years, Winthrop, the leader of the first great enterprise, was the chief magistrate of the infant metropolis. His prudence guided its councils. His valor directed its strength. His life and fortune were spent in fixing its character, or in improving its destinies. A bolder spirit never dwelt, a truer heart never beat, in any bosom. Had Boston, like Rome, a consecrated calendar, there is no name better entitled than that of Winthrop to be registered as its “patron saint.”

From Salem and Charlestown, the places of their first landing, they ranged the bay of Massachusetts, to fix the head of the settlement. After much deliberation, and not without opposition, they selected this spot; known to the natives by the name of Shawmut, and to the adjoining settlers by that of Trimountain; the former indicating the abundance and sweetness of its waters; the latter the peculiar character of its hills.

Accustomed as we are to the beauties of the place and its vicinity, and in the daily perception of the charms of its almost unrivalled scenery, — in the centre of a natural amphitheatre, whose sloping descents the riches of a laborious and intellectual cultivation adorn, — where hill and vale, river and ocean, island and continent, simple nature and unobtrusive art, with contrasted and interchanging harmonies, form a rich and gorgeous landscape, we are little able to realize the almost repulsive aspect of its original state. We wonder at the blindness of those, who, at one time, constituted the majority, and had well nigh fixed elsewhere the chief seat of the settlement. Nor are we easily just to Winthrop, Johnson, and their associates, whose skill and judgment selected this spot, and whose firmness settled the wavering minds of the multitude upon it, as the place for their metropolis; a decision, which the experience of two centuries has irrevocably justified, and which there is no reason to apprehend that the events or opinions of any century to come will reverse.

To the eyes of the first emigrants, however, where now exists a dense and aggregated mass of living beings and material things, amid all the accommodations of life, the splendors of wealth, the delights of taste, and whatever can gratify the cultivated intellect, there were then only a few hills, which, when the ocean receded, were intersected by wide marshes, and when its tide returned, appeared a group of lofty islands, abruptly rising from the surrounding waters. Thick forests concealed the neighboring hills, and the deep silence of nature was broken only by the voice of the wild beast or bird, and the war whoop of the savage.

The advantages of the place were, however, clearly marked by the hand of nature; combining at once present convenience, future security, and an ample basis for permanent growth and prosperity. Towards the continent it possessed but a single avenue, and that easily fortified. Its hills then commanded, not only its own waters, but the hills of the vicinity. At the bottom of a deep bay, its harbor was capable of containing the .proudest navy of Europe; yet, locked by islands and guarded by winding channels, it presented great difficulty of access to strangers, and, to the inhabitants, great facility of protection against maritime invasion; while to those acquainted with its waters, it was both easy and accessible. To these advantages were added goodness and plenteousness of water, and the security afforded by that once commanding height, now, alas! obliterated and almost forgotten, since art and industry have levelled the predominating mountain of the place; from whose lofty and imposing top the beacon-fire was accustomed to rally the neighboring population, on any threatened danger to the metropolis. A single cottage, from which ascended the smoke of the hospitable hearth of Blackstone, who had occupied the peninsula several years, was the sole civilized mansion in the solitude; the kind master of which, at first, welcomed the coming emigrants; but soon, disliking the sternness of their manners and the severity of their discipline, abandoned the settlement. His rights as first occupant were recognized by our ancestors; and in November, 1634, Edmund Quincy, Samuel Wildbore, and others were authorized to assess a rate of thirty pounds for Mr. Blackstone, on the payment of which all local rights in the peninsula became vested in its inhabitants.

The same bold spirit which thus led our ancestors across the Atlantic, and made them prefer a wilderness where liberty might be enjoyed to civilized Europe where it was denied, will be found characterizing all their institutions. Of these the limits of the time permit me to speak only in general terms. The scope of their policy has been usually regarded as though it were restricted to the acquisition of religious liberty in the relation of colonial dependence. No man, however, can truly understand their institutions and the policy on which they were founded, without taking as the basis of all reasonings concerning them, that civil independence was as truly their object as religious liberty; in other words, that the possession of the former was, in their opinion, the essential means, indispensable to the secure enjoyment of the latter, which was their great end.

The master passion of our early ancestors was dread of the English hierarchy. To place themselves, locally, beyond the reach of its power, they resolved to emigrate. To secure themselves after their emigration, from the arm of this their ancient oppressor, they devised a plan, which, as they thought, would enable them to establish, under a nominal subjection, an actual independence. The bold and original conception, which they had the spirit to form and successfully to execute, was the attainment and perpetuation of religious liberty, under the auspices of a free commonwealth. This is the master-key to all their policy, — this the glorious spirit which breathes in all their institutions. Whatever in them is stern, exclusive, or at this day seems questionable, may be accounted for, if not justified, by its connection with this great purpose.

The question has often been raised, when and by whom the idea of independence of the parent state was first conceived, and by whose act a settled purpose to effect it was first indicated. History does not permit the people of Massachusetts to make a question of this kind. The honor of that thought, and of as efficient a declaration of it as in their circumstances was possible, belongs to Winthrop, and Dudley, and Saltonstall, and their associates, and was included in the declaration, that ” THE ONLY CONDITION ON WHICH THEY WITH THEIR FAMILIES WOULD REMOVE TO THIS COUNTRY, WAS, THAT THE PATENT AND CHARTER SHOULD REMOVE WITH THEM.”

This simple declaration and resolve included, as they had the sagacity to perceive, all the consequences of an effectual independence, under a nominal subjection. For protection against foreign powers, a charter from the parent state was necessary. Its transfer to New England vested, effectually, independence. Those wise leaders foresaw, that, among the troubles in Europe, incident to the age, and then obviously impending over their parent state, their settlement, from its distance and early insignificance, would probably escape notice. They trusted to events, and doubtless anticipated, that, with its increasing strength, even nominal subjection would be abrogated. They knew that weakness was the law of nature in the relation between parent states and their distant and detached colonies. Nothing else can be inferred, not only from their making the transfer of the charter the essential condition of their emigration, thereby saving themselves from all responsibility to persons abroad, but also from their instant and undeviating course of policy after their emigration; in boldly assuming whatever powers were necessary to their condition, or suitable to their ends, whether attributes of sovereignty or not, without regard to the nature of the consequences resulting from the exercise of those powers,

Nor was this assumption limited to powers which might be deduced from the charter, but was extended to such as no act of incorporation, like that which they possessed, could, by any possibility of legal construction, be deemed to include. By the magic of their daring, a private act of incorporation was transmuted into a civil constitution of state ; under the authority of which they made peace and declared war; erected judicatures; coined money; raised armies; built fleets; laid taxes and imposts; inflicted fines, penalties, and death; and in imitation of the British constitution, by the consent of all its own branches, without asking leave of any other, their legislature modified its own powers and relations, prescribed the qualifications of those who should conduct its authority, and enjoy or be excluded from its privileges.

The administration of the civil affairs of Massachusetts, for the sixty years next succeeding the settlement of this metropolis, was a phenomenon in the history of civil government. Under a theoretic colonial relation, an efficient and independent Commonwealth was erected, claiming and exercising attributes of sovereignty, higher and far more extensive than, at the present day, in consequence of its connection with the general government, Massachusetts pretends either to exercise or possess. Well might Chalmers asserts, as in his Political Annals of the Colonies he does, that “Massachusetts, with a peculiar dexterity, abolished her charter “; that she was always “fruitful in projects of independence, the principles of which, at all times, governed her actions.” In this point of view, it is glory enough for our early ancestors, that, under manifold disadvantages, in the midst of internal discontent and external violence and intrigue, of wars with the savages and with the neighboring colonies of France, they effected their purpose, and for two generations of men, from 1630 to 1692, enjoyed liberty of conscience, according to their view of that subject, under the auspices of a free commonwealth.

The three objects, which our ancestors proposed to attain and perpetuate by all their institutions, were the noblest within the grasp of the human mind, and those on which, more than on any other, depend human happiness and hope; — religious liberty, civil liberty, and, as essential to the attainment and maintenance of both, intellectual power.

On the subject of religious liberty, their intolerance of other sects has been reprobated as an inconsistency, and as violating the very rights of conscience for which they emigrated. The inconsistency, if it exist, is altogether constructive, and the charge proceeds on a false assumption. The necessity of the policy, considered in connection with their great design of independence, is apparent. They had abandoned house and home, had sacrificed the comforts of kindred and cultivated life, had dared the dangers of the sea, and were then braving the still more appalling terrors of the wilderness; for what? —to acquire liberty for all sorts of consciences? Not so; but to vindicate and maintain the liberty of their own consciences. They did not cross the Atlantic on a crusade in behalf of the rights of mankind in general, but in support of their own rights and liberties. Tolerate! Tolerate whom? The legate of the Roman Pontiff, or the emissary of Charles the First and Archbishop Laud? How consummate would have been their folly and madness, to have fled into the wilderness to escape the horrible persecutions of those hierarchies, and at once have admitted into the bosom of their society, men brandishing, and ready to apply, the very flames and fetters from which they had fled! Those who are disposed to condemn them on this account, neither realize the necessities of their condition, nor the prevailing character of the times. Under the stern discipline of Elizabeth and James, the stupid bigotry of the First Charles, and the spiritual pride of Archbishop Laud, the spirit of the English hierarchy was very different from that which it assumed, when, after having been tamed and humanized under the wholesome discipline of Cromwell and his Commonwealth, it yielded itself to the mild influence of the principles of 1688, and to the liberal spirit of Tillotson.

But, it is said, if they did not tolerate their ancient persecutors, they might, at least, have tolerated rival sects. That is, they ought to have tolerated sects imbued with the same principles of intolerance as the transatlantic hierarchies; sects, whose first use of power would have been to endeavor to uproot the liberty of our fathers, and persecute them, according to the known principles of sectarian action, with a virulence in the inverse ratio of their reciprocal likeness and proximity. Those who thus reason and thus condemn, have considered but very superficially the nature of the human mind and its actual condition in the time of our ancestors.

The great doctrine, now so universally recognized, that liberty of conscience is the right of the individual, — a concern between every man and his Maker, with which the civil magistrate is not authorized to interfere, — was scarcely, in their day, known, except in private theory and solitary speculation ; as a practical truth, to be acted upon by the civil power, it was absolutely and universally rejected by all men, all parties, and all sects, as totally subversive, not only of the peace of the church, but of the peace of society. That great truth, now deemed so simple and plain, was so far from being an easy discovery of the human intellect, that it may be doubted whether it would ever have been discovered by human reason at all. had it not been for the miseries in which man was involved in consequence of his ignorance of it. That truth was not evolved by the calm exertion of the human faculties, but was stricken out by the collision of the human passions. It was not the result of philosophic research, but was a hard lesson, taught under the lash of a severe discipline, provided for the gradual instruction of a being like man, not easily brought into subjection to virtue, and with natural propensities to pride, ambition, avarice, and selfishness.

Previously to that time, in all modifications of society, ancient or modern, religion had been seen only in close connection with the State. It was the universal instrument by which worldly ambition shaped and molded the multitude to its ends. To have attempted the establishment of a state on the basis of a perfect freedom of religious opinion, and the perfect right of every man to express his opinion, would then have been considered as much a solecism, and an experiment quite as wild and visionary, as it would be, at this day, to attempt the establishment of a state on the principle of a perfect liberty of individual action, and the perfect right of every man to conduct himself according to his private will. Had our early ancestors adopted the course we, at this day, are apt to deem so easy and obvious, and placed their government on the basis of liberty for all sorts of consciences, it would have been, in that age, a certain introduction of anarchy. It cannot be questioned, that all the fond hopes they had cherished from emigration would have been lost. The agents of Charles and James would have planted here the standard of the transatlantic monarchy and hierarchy. Divided and broken, without practical energy, subject to court influences and court favorites, New England at this day would have been a colony of the parent state, her character yet to be formed and her independence yet to be vindicated. Lest the consequences of an opposite policy, had it been adopted by our ancestors, may seem to be exaggerated, as here represented, it is proper to state, that upon the strength and united spirit of New England mainly depended (under Heaven) the success of our revolutionary struggle. Had New England been divided, or even less unanimous, independence would have scarcely been attempted, or, if attempted, acquired. It will give additional strength to this argument to observe, that the number of troops, regular and militia, furnished by all the States during the war of the revolution, was . . . . . . 288,134

Of these New England furnished more than half, viz. . . 147,674

And Massachusetts alone furnished nearly one third, viz. . [Note:*] 83,162

Note:* See “Collections of the New Hampshire Historical Society,” Vol. I.

The non-toleration which characterized our early ancestors, from whatever source it may have originated, had undoubtedly the effect they intended and wished. It excluded from influence in their infant settlement all the friends and adherents of the ancient monarchy and hierarchy; all who, from any motive, ecclesiastical or civil, were disposed to disturb their peace or their churches. They considered it a measure of “self-defence,” And it is unquestionable, that it was chiefly instrumental in forming the homogeneous and exclusively republican character, for which the people of New-England have, in all times, been distinguished; and, above all, that it fixed irrevocably in the country that noble security for religious liberty, the independent system of church government.

The principle of the independence of the churches, including the right of every individual to unite with what church he pleases, under whatever sectarian auspices it may have been fostered, has through the influence of time and experience, lost altogether its exclusive character. It has become the universal guaranty of religious liberty to all sects without discrimination, and is as much the protector of the Roman Catholic, the Episcopalian, and the Presbyterian, as of the Independent form of worship. The security, which results from this principle, does not depend upon charters and constitutions, but on what is stronger than either, the nature of the principle in connection with the nature of man. So long as this intellectual, moral, and religious being, man, is constituted as he is, the unrestricted liberty of associating for public worship, and the independence of those associations of external control, will necessarily lead to a most happy number and variety of them. In the principle of the independence of each, the liberty of individual conscience is safe under the panoply of the common interest of all. No other perfect security for liberty of conscience was ever devised by man, except this independence of the churches. This possessed, liberty of conscience has no danger. This denied, it has no safety. There can be no greater human security than common right, placed under the protection of common interest. It is the excellence and beauty of this simple principle, that, while it secures all, it restricts none. They, who delight in lofty and splendid monuments of ecclesiastical architecture, may raise the pyramid of church power, with its aspiring steps and gradations, until it terminate in the despotism of one, or a few; the humble dwellers at the base of the proud edifice may wonder, and admire the ingenuity of the contrivance and the splendor of its massive dimensions, but it is without envy and without fear. Safe in the principle of independence, they worship, be it in tent, or tabernacle, or in the open air, as securely as though standing on the topmost pinnacle of the loftiest fabric ambition ever devised.

The glory of discovering and putting this principle to the test, on a scale capable of trying its efficacy, belongs to the fathers of Massachusetts, who are entitled to a full share of that acknowledgment made by Hume, when he asserts, ” that for all the liberty of the English constitution, that nation is indebted to the Puritans.”

The glory of our ancestors radiates from no point more strongly than from their institutions of learning. The people of New England are the first known to history, who provided, in the original constitution of their society, for the education of the whole population out of the general fund. In other countries, provisions have been made of this character in favor of certain particular classes, or for the poor by way of charity. But here first were the children of the whole community invested with the right of being educated at the expense of the whole society; and not only this, — the obligation to take advantage of that right was enforced by severe supervision and penalties. By simple laws they founded their commonwealth on the only basis on which a republic has any hope of happiness or continuance, the general information, of the people. They denominated it barbarism not to be able “perfectly to read the English tongue and to know the general laws.” In soliciting a general contribution for the support of the neighboring University, they declare that “skill in the tongues and liberal arts is not only laudable, but necessary for the well-being of the commonwealth.” And in requiring every town having one hundred householders, to set up a Grammar School, provided with a master able to fit youth for the University, the object avowed is, “to enable men to obtain a knowledge of the Scriptures, and by acquaintance with the ancient tongues to qualify them to discern the true sense and meaning of the original, however corrupted by false glosses.” Thus liberal and thus elevated, in respect of learning, were the views of our ancestors.

To the same master passion, dread of the English hierarchy, and the same main purpose, civil independence, may be attributed in a great degree, the nature of the government which the principal civil and spiritual influences of the time established, and, notwithstanding its many objectionable features, the willing submission to it of the people.

It cannot be questioned that the constitution of the State, as sketched in the first laws of our ancestors, was a skillful combination of both civil and ecclesiastical powers. Church and state were very curiously and efficiently interwoven with each other. It is usual to attribute to religious bigotry the submission of the mass of the people to a system thus stern and exclusive. It may, however, with quite as much justice, be resolved into love and independence and political sagacity.

The great body of the first emigrants doubtless coincided in general religious views with those whose influence predominated in their church and state. They had consequently no personal objection to the stern discipline their political system established. They had also the sagacity to foresee that a system which by its rigor should exclude from power all who did not concur with their religious views, would have a direct tendency to deter those in other countries from emigrating to their settlement, who did not agree with the general plan of policy they had adopted, and of consequence to increase the probability of their escape from the interference of their ancient oppressors, and the chance of success in laying the foundation of the free commonwealth they contemplated. They also doubtless perceived, that with the unqualified possession of the elective franchise, they had little reason to apprehend that they could not easily control or annihilate any ill effect upon their political system, arising from the union of church and state, should it become insupportable.

There is abundant evidence that the submission of the people to this new form of church and state combination was not owing to ignorance, or to indifference to the true principles of civil and religious liberty. Notwithstanding the strong attachment of the early emigrants to their civil, and their almost blind devotion lo their ecclesiastical leaders, when either, presuming on their influence. attempted any thing inconsistent with general liberty, a corrective is seen almost immediately applied by the spirit and intelligence of the people.

In this respect, the character of the people of Boston has been at all times distinguished. In every period of our history, they have been second to none in quickness to discern or in readiness to meet every exigency, fearlessly hazarding life and fortune in support of the liberties of the commonwealth. It would be easy to maintain these positions by a recurrence to the annals of each successive age, and particularly to facts connected with our revolutionary struggle. A few instances only will be noticed, and those selected from the earliest times.

A natural jealousy soon sprung up in the metropolis as to the intentions of their civil and ecclesiastical leaders. In 1634 the people began to fear, lest, by reelecting Winthrop, they “should make way for a Governor for life.” They accordingly gave some indications of a design to elect another person. Upon which John Cotton, their great ecclesiastical head, then at the height of his popularity, preached a discourse to the General Court, and delivered this doctrine: “that a magistrate ought not to be turned out, without just cause, no more than a magistrate might turn out a private man from his freehold, without trial.” To show their dislike of the doctrine by the most practical of evidences, our ancestors gave the political divine and his adherents a succession of lessons, for which they were probably the wiser all the rest of their lives. They turned out Winthrop at the very same election, and put in Dudley. The year after, they turned out Dudley and put in Haynes. The year after, they turned out Haynes and put in Vane. So much for the first broaching, in Boston, of the doctrine that public office is of the nature of freehold.

In 1635, an attempt was made by the General Court to elect a certain number of magistrates as councillors for life. Although Cotton was the author also of this project, and notwithstanding his influence, yet such was the spirit displayed by our ancestors on the occasion, that within three years the General Court was compelled to pass a vote, denying any such intent, and declaring that the persons so chosen should not be accounted magistrates or have any authority in consequence of such election. *

In 1636, the great Antinomian controversy divided the country. Boston was for the covenant of grace; the General Court for the covenant of works. Under pretence of the apprehension of a riot, the General Court adjourned to Newtown, and expelled the Boston deputies for daring to remonstrate. Boston, indignant at this infringement of its liberties, was about electing the same deputies a second time. At the earnest solicitation of Cotton, however, they chose others. One of these was also expelled by the Court; and a writ having issued to the town ordering a new election, they refused making any return to the warrant, – a contempt which the General Court did not think it wise to resent.

In 1639, there being vacancies in the Board of Assistants, the governor and magistrates met and nominated three persons, “not with intent,” as they said, “to lead the people’s choice of these, nor to divert them from any other, but only to propound for consideration (which any freeman may do), and so leave the people to use their liberties according to their consciences.” The result was, that the people did use their liberties according to their consciences. They chose not a man of them. So much for the first legislative caucus in our history. It probably would have been happy for their posterity, if the people had always treated like nominations with as little ceremony.

About this time also the General Court took exception at the length of the “lectures,” then the great delight of the people, and at the ill effects resulting from their frequency; whereby poor people were led greatly to neglect their affairs; to the great hazard also of their health, owing to their long continuance in the night . Boston expressed strong dislike at this interference, “fearing that the precedent might enthrall them to the civil power, and, besides, be a blemish upon them with their posterity, as though they needed to be regulated by the civil magistrate, and raise an ill-savor of their coldness, as if it were possible for the people of Boston to complain of too much preaching.”

The magistrates, fearful lest the people should break their bonds, were content to apologize, to abandon the scheme of shortening lectures or diminishing their number, and to rest satisfied with a general understanding that assemblies should break up in such season as that people, dwelling a mile or two off, might get home by daylight. Winthrop, on this occasion, passes the following eulogium on the people of Boston, which every period of their history amply confirms: — “They were generally of that understanding and moderation, as that they would be easily guided in their way by any rule from Scripture or sound reason.”

It is curious and instructive to trace the principles of our constitution, as they were successively suggested by circumstances, and gradually gained by the intelligence and daring spirit of the people. For the first four years after their emigration, the freemen, like other corporations, met and transacted business in a body. At this time the people attained a representation under the name of deputies, who sat in the same room with the magistrates, to whose negative all their proceedings were subjected. Next arose the struggle about the negative, which lasted for ten years, and eventuated in the separation of the General Court into two branches, with each a negative on the other. Then came the jealousy of the deputies concerning the magistrates, as proceeding too much by their discretion for want of positive laws, and-the demand by the deputies that persons should be appointed to frame a body of fundamental laws in resemblance of the English Magna Charta.

After this occurred the controversy relative to the powers of the magistrates, during the recess of the General Court; concerning which, when the deputies found that no compromise could be made, and the magistrates declared that, ” if occasion required, they should act according to the power and trust committed to them,” the speaker of the House in his place replied, — ” Then, Gentlemen, You Will Not Re Obeyed.”

In every period of our early history, the friends of the ancient hierarchy and monarchy were assiduous in their endeavors to introduce a form of government on the principle of an efficient colonial relation. Our ancestors were no less vigilant to avail themselves of their local situation and of the difficulties of the parent state to defeat those attempts; — or, in their language, ” to avoid and protract.” They lived, however, under a perpetual apprehension that a royal governor would be imposed upon them by the law of force. Their resolution never faltered on the point of resistance, to the extent of their power. Notwithstanding Boston would have been the scene of the struggle, and the first victim to it, yet its inhabitants never shrunk from their duty through fear of danger, and were always among the foremost to prepare for every exigency. Castle Island was fortified chiefly, and the battery at the north end of the town, and that called the ” Sconce,” wholly, by the voluntary contributions of its inhabitants. After the restoration of Charles the Second, their instructions to their representatives in the General Court breathe one uniform spirit, — “not to recede from their just rights and privileges as secured by the patent.” When, in 1662, the king’s commissioners came to Boston, the inhabitants, to show their spirit in support of their own laws, took measures to have them all. arrested for a breach of the Saturday evening law; and actually brought them before the magistrate for riotous and abusive carriage. When Randolph, in 1684, came with his quo warranto against their charter, on the question being taken in town meeting, ” whether the freemen were, minded that the General Court should make full submission and entire resignation of their charter, and of the privileges therein granted, to his Majesty’s pleasure,” — Boston resolved in the negative, without a dissentient.

In 1689, the tyranny of Andros, the governor appointed by James the Second, having become insupportable to the whole country, Boston rose, like one man; took the battery on Fort Hill by assault in open day; made prisoners of the king’s governor, and the captain of the king’s frigate, then lying in the harbor; and restored, with the concurrence of the country, the authority of the old charter leaders.

By accepting the charter of William and Mary, in 1692, the people of Massachusetts first yielded their claims of independence to the crown. It is only requisite to read the official account of the agents of the colony, to perceive both the resistance they made to that charter, and the necessity which compelled their acceptance of it. Those agents were told by the king’s ministers, that they “must take that or none “; — that ” their consent to it was not asked “; —that if “they would not submit to the king’s pleasure, they must take what would follow.” “The opinion of our lawyers,” says the agents, “was, that a passive submission to the new, was not a surrender of the old charter; and that their taking up with this did not make the people of Massachusetts, in law, uncapable of obtaining all their old privileges, whenever a favorable opportunity should present itself ” In the year 1776, nearly a century afterwards, that ” favorable opportunity did present itself,” and the people of Massachusetts, in conformity with the opinion of their learned counsel and faithful agents, did vindicate and obtain all their “old privileges” of self-government.

Under the new colonial government, thus authoritatively imposed upon them, arose new parties and new struggles;—prerogative men, earnest for a permanent salary for the king’s governor; — patriots, resisting such an establishment, and indignant at the negative exercised by that officer.

At the end of the first century after the settlement, three generations of men had passed away. For vigor, boldness, enterprise, and a self-sacrificing spirit, Massachusetts stood unrivalled. She had added wealth and extensive dominion to the English crown. She had turned a barren wilderness into a cultivated field, and instead of barbarous tribes had planted civilized communities. She had prevented France from taking possession of the whole of North America; conquered Port Royal and Acadia; and attempted the conquest of Canada with a fleet of thirty-two sail and two thousand men. At one time a fifth of her whole effective male population was in arms. When Nevis was plundered by Iberville, she voluntarily transmitted two thousand pounds sterling for the relief of the inhabitants of that island. By these exertions her resources were exhausted, her treasury was impoverished, and she stood bereft, and “alone with her glory.”

Boston shared in the embarrassments of the commonwealth. Her commerce was crippled by severe revenue laws, and by a depreciated currency. Her population did not exceed .fifteen thousand. In September, 1730, she was prevented from all notice of this anniversary by the desolations of the small-pox.

Notwithstanding the darkness of these’ clouds which overhung Massachusetts and its metropolis at the close of the first century, in other aspects the dawn of a brighter day may be discerned. The exclusive policy in matters of religion, to which the state had been subjected, began gradually to give place to a more perfect liberty. Literature was exchanging subtile metaphysics, quaint conceits, and unwieldy lore, for inartificial reasoning, simple taste, and natural thought. Dummer defended the colony in language polished in the society of Pope and of Bolingbroke. Coleman, Cooper, Chauncy, Bowdoin, and others of that constellation, were on the horizon. By their side shone the star of Franklin; its early brightness giving promise of its meridian splendors. Even now began to appear signs of revolution. Voices of complaint and murmur were heard in the air. “Spirits- finely touched and to fine issues,” — willing and fearless, — breathing unutterable things, flashed along the darkness. In the sky were seen streaming lights, indicating the approach of luminaries yet below the horizon; Adams, Hancock, Otis, Warren; leaders of a glorious host; —precursors of eventful times; “with fear of- change perplexing monarchs.”

It would be appropriate, did space permit, to speak of these luminaries, in connection. with our. revolution; to trace the principles, which dictated the first emigration of the founders of this metropolis, through the several stages of their development; and to show that the Declaration of Independence, in 1776, itself, and all the struggles which preceded it, and all the voluntary sacrifices, the self-devotion, and the sufferings to which the people of that day submitted, for the attainment of independence, were, so far as-respects Massachusetts, but the natural and inevitable consequences of the terms of that noble engagement, made by our ancestors, in August, 1629, the year before their emigration; — which may well be denominated, from its early and later results, the first and original declaration of independence by Massachusetts.

“By God’s assistance, ice will be ready in our persons, and with such of our families as are to go with us, to embark for the said plantation by the first of March next, to pass the seas (under God’s protection) to inhabit and continue in New England. Provided always, that before the last of September next, THE WHOLE GOVERNMENT, TOGETHER WITH THE PATENT, BE FIRST LEGALLY TRANSFERRED AND ESTABLISHED, TO REMAIN WITH US AND OTHERS, WHICH SHALL INHABIT THE SAID PLANTATION.” — Generous resolution! Noble foresight! Sublime self-devotion; chastened and directed by a wisdom, faithful and prospective of distant consequences! Well may we exclaim,— ” This policy overtopped all the policy of this world.”

For the advancement of the three great objects which were the scope of the policy of our ancestors, — intellectual power, religious liberty, and civil liberty, — Boston has in no period been surpassed, either in readiness to incur, or in energy to make useful, personal or pecuniary sacrifices. She provided for the education of her citizens out of the general fund, antecedently to the law of the Commonwealth making such provision imperative. Nor can it be questioned that her example and influence had a decisive effect in producing that law. An intelligent generosity has been conspicuous among her inhabitants on this subject, from the day when, in 1635, they “entreated our brother Philemon Pormont to become school master, for the teaching and nurturing children with us,” to this hour, when what is equivalent to a capital of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars is invested in school-houses, eighty schools are maintained, and seven thousand and five hundred children educated at an expense exceeding annually sixty-five thousand dollars.

No city in the world, in proportion to its means and population, ever gave more uniform and unequivocal evidences of its desire to diffuse intellectual power and moral culture through the whole mass of the community. The result is every day witnessed, at home and abroad, in private intercourse and in the public assembly; in a quiet and orderly demeanor, in the self-respect and mutual harmony prevalent among its citizens; in the general comfort which characterizes their condition; in their submission to the laws; and in that wonderful capacity for self government which postponed, for almost two centuries, a city organization;—and this, even then, was adopted more with reference to anticipated, than from experience of existing, evils. During the whole of that period, and even after its population exceeded fifty thousand, its financial, economical, and municipal interests were managed, either by general vote, or by men appointed by the whole multitude; and with a regularity, wisdom, and success, which it will be happy if future administrations shall equal, and which certainly they will find it difficult to exceed. The influence of the institutions of our fathers is also apparent in that munificence towards objects of public interest or charity, for which, in every period of its history, the citizens of Boston have been distinguished, and which, by universal consent, is recognized to be a prominent feature in their character. To no city has Boston ever been second in its spirit of liberality. From the first settlement of the country to this day, it has been a point to which have tended applications for assistance or relief, on account of suffering or misfortune; for the patronage of colleges, the endowment of schools, the erection of churches, and the spreading of learning and religion,— from almost every section of the United States. Seldom have the hopes of any worthy applicant been disappointed. The benevolent and public spirit of its inhabitants is also evidenced by its hospitals, its asylums, public libraries, alms-houses, charitable associations, — in its patronage of the neighboring University, and in its subscriptions for general charities.

It is obviously impracticable to give any just idea of the amount of these charities. They flow from virtues which seek the shade and shun record. They are silent and secret out-wellings of grateful hearts, desirous unostentatiously to acknowledge the bounty of Heaven in their prosperity and abundance. The result of inquiries, necessarily imperfect, however, authorize the statement, that, in the records of societies having for their objects either learning or some public charity, or in documents in the hands of individuals relative to contributions for the relief of suffering, or the patronage of distinguished merit or talent, there exists evidence of the liberality of the citizens of this metropolis, and that chiefly within the last thirty years, of an amount, by voluntary donation or bequest, exceeding one million and eight hundred thousand dollars. Far short as this sum falls of the real amount obtained within that period from the liberality of our citizens, it is yet enough to make evident that the best spirit of the institutions of our ancestors survives in the hearts, and is exhibited in the lives, of the citizens of Boston; inspiring love of country and duty; stimulating to the active virtues of benevolence and charity; exciting wealth and power to their best exercises; counteracting what is selfish in our nature; and elevating the moral and social virtues to wise sacrifices and noble energies.

With respect to religious liberty, where does it exist in a more perfect state than in this metropolis? Or where has it ever been enjoyed in. a purer spirit, or with happier consequences? In what city of equal population are all classes of society more distinguished for obedience to the institutions of religion, for regular attendance on its worship, for more happy intercourse with its ministers, or more uniformly honorable support of them? In all struggles connected with religious liberty, and these are inseparable from its possession, it may be said of the inhabitants of this city, as truly as of any similar association of men, that they have ever maintained the freedom of the Gospel in the spirit of Christianity. Divided into various sects, their mutual intercourse has, almost without exception, been harmonious and respectful. The labors of intemperate zealots, with which, occasionally, every age has been troubled, have seldom, in this metropolis, been attended with their natural and usual consequences. Its sects have never been made to fear or hate one another. The genius of its inhabitants, through the influence of the intellectual power which pervades their mass, has ever been quick to detect “close ambition varnished o’er with zeal.” The modes, the forms, the discipline, the opinions which our ancestors held to be essential, have, in many respects, been changed or obliterated with the progress of time, or been countervailed or superseded by rival forms and opinions.

But veneration for the sacred Scriptures and attachment to the right of free inquiry, which were the substantial motives of their emigration and of all their institutions, remain, and are maintained in a Christian spirit (judging by life and language), certainly not exceeded in the times of any of our ancestors. The right to read those Scriptures is universally recognized. The means to acquire the possession and to attain the knowledge of them are multiplied by the intelligence and liberality of the age, and extended to every class of society. All men are invited to search for themselves concerning the grounds of their hopes of future happiness and acceptance. All are permitted to hear from the lips of our Saviour himself, that “the meek,” “the merciful,” “the pure in heart,” “the persecuted for righteousness’ sake,” are those who shall receive the blessing, and be admitted to the presence, of the Eternal Father; and to be assured from those sacred records, that, ” in every nation, he who feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted of him.” Elevated by the power of these sublime assurances, as conformable to reason as to revelation, man’s intellectual principle rises “above the smoke and stir of this dim spot,” and, like an eagle soaring above the Andes, looks down on the cloudy cliffs, the narrow, separating points, and flaming craters, which divide and terrify men below.

It is scarcely necessary to speak of civil liberty, or tell of our constitutions of government; of the freedom they maintain and are calculated to preserve; of the equality they establish; the self-respect they encourage ; the private and domestic virtues they cherish; the love of country they inspire; the self-devotion and self-sacrifice they enjoin ; —all these are but the filling up of the great outline sketched by our fathers, the parts in which, through the darkness and perversity of their times, they were defective, being corrected; all are but endeavors, conformed to their great, original conception, to group together the strength of society and the religious and civil rights of the individual, in a living and breathing spirit of efficient power, by forms of civil government, adapted to our condition, and adjusted to social relations of unexampled greatness and extent, unparalleled in their results, and connected by principles elevated as the nature of man, and immortal as his destinies.

It is not, however, from local position, nor from general circumstances of life and fortune, that the peculiar felicity of this metropolis is to be deduced. Her enviable distinction is, that she is among the chiefest of that happy New England family, which claims descent from the early emigrants. If we take a survey of that family, and, excluding from our view the unnumbered multitudes of its members who have occupied the vacant wilderness of other states, we restrict our thoughts to the local sphere of New England, what scenes open upon our sight! How wild and visionary would seem our prospects, did we indulge only natural anticipations of the future! Already, on an area of seventy thousand square miles, a population of two millions; all, but comparatively a few, descendants of the early emigrants! Six independent Commonwealths, with constitutions varying in the relations and proportions of power, yet uniform in all their general principles; diverse in their political arrangements, yet each sufficient for its own necessities; all harmonious with those without, and peaceful within; embracing under the denomination, of towns, upwards of twelve hundred effective republics, with qualified powers, indeed, but possessing potent influences; subject themselves to the respective state sovereignties, yet directing all their operations, and shaping their policy by constitutional agencies ; swayed, no less than the greater republics, by passions, interests, and affections; like them, exciting competitions which rouse, into action the latent energies of mind, and infuse into the mass of each society a knowledge of the nature of its interests, and a capacity to understand and share in the defence of those of the Commonwealth. The effect of these minor republics is daily seen in the existence of practical talents, and in the readiness with which those talents can be called into the public service of the state.

If, after this general survey of the surface of New England, we cast our eyes on its cities and great towns, with what wonder should we behold, did not familiarity render the phenomenon almost unnoticed, men, combined in great multitudes, possessing freedom and the consciousness of strength, —the comparative physical power of the ruler less than that of a cobweb across a lion’s path, —yet orderly, obedient, and respectful to authority; a people, but no populace ; every class in reality existing, which the general law of society acknowledges, except one, — and this exception characterizing the whole country. The soil of New England is trodden by no slave. In our streets, in our assemblies, in the halls of election and legislation, men of every rank and condition meet, and unite or divide on other principles, and are actuated by other motives, than those growing out of such distinctions. The fears and jealousies, which in other countries separate classes of men and make them hostile to each other, have here no influence, or a very limited one. Each individual, of whatever condition, has the consciousness of living under known laws, which secure equal rights, and guarantee to each whatever portion of the goods of life, be it great or small, chance, or talent, or industry may have bestowed. All perceive that the honors and rewards of society are open equally to the fair competition of all; that the distinctions of wealth, or of power, are not fixed in families; that whatever of this nature exists to-day, may be changed to-morrow, or, in a coming generation be absolutely reversed. Common principles, interests, hopes, and affections, are the result of universal education. Such are the consequences of the equality of rights, and of the provisions for the general diffusion of knowledge and the distribution of intestate estates, established by the laws framed by the earliest emigrants to New England.

If from our cities we turn to survey the wide expanse of the interior, how do the effects of the institutions and example of our early ancestors appear, in all the local comfort and accommodation which mark the general condition of the whole country ; —unobtrusive, indeed, but substantial ; in nothing splendid, but in everything sufficient and satisfactory. Indications of active talent and practical energy exist everywhere. With a soil comparatively little luxuriant, and in great proportion either rock, or hill, or sand, the skill and industry of man are seen triumphing over the obstacles of nature; making the rock the guardian of the field; molding the granite, as though it were clay; leading cultivation to the hill-top, and spreading over the arid plain, hitherto unknown and unanticipated harvests. The lofty mansion of the prosperous adjoins the lowly dwelling of the husbandman; their respective inmates are in the daily interchange of civility, sympathy, and respect. Enterprise and skill, which once held chief affinity with the ocean or the sea-board, now .begin to delight the interior, haunting our rivers, where the music of the water-, fall, with powers more attractive than those of the fabled harp of Orpheus, collects around it intellectual man and material nature. Towns and cities, civilized and happy communities, rise, like exhalations, on rocks and in forests, till the deep and far-resounding voice of the neighbouring torrent is itself lost and unheard, amid the predominating noise of successful and rejoicing labor.

What lessons has New England, in every period of her history, given to the world! What lessons do her condition and example still give! How unprecedented; yet how practical! How simple; yet how powerful! She has proved, that all the variety of Christian sects may live together in harmony, under a government which allows equal privileges to all, — exclusive preeminence to none. She has proved, that ignorance among the multitude is not necessary to order, but that the surest basis of perfect order is the information of the people. She has proved the old maxim, that “No government, except a despotism with a standing army, can subsist where the people have arms,” is false. Ever since the first settlement of the country, arms have been required to be in the hands of the whole multitude of New England; yet the use of them in a private quarrel, if it have ever happened, is so rare, that a late writer, of great intelligence, who had passed his whole life in New England, and possessed extensive means of information, declares, “I know not a single instance of it.” She has proved, that a people, of a character essentially military, may subsist without dueling. New England has, at all times, been distinguished, both on the land and on the ocean, for a daring, fearless, and enterprising spirit; yet the same writer asserts, that during the whole period of her existence, her soil has been disgraced but by five duels, and that only two of these were fought by her native inhabitants! Perhaps this assertion is not minutely correct. There can, however, be no question, that it is sufficiently near the truth to justify the position for which it is here adduced, and which the history of New England, as well as the experience of her inhabitants, abundantly confirms; that, in the present and in every past age, the spirit of our institutions has, to every important practical purpose, annihilated the spirit of dueling.

Such are the true glories of the institutions of our fathers! Such the natural fruits of that patience in toil, that frugality of disposition, that temperance of habit, that general diffusion of knowledge, and that sense of religious responsibility, inculcated by the precepts, and exhibited in the example of every generation of our ancestors!

What then, in conclusion of this great topic, are the elements of the liberty, prosperity, and safety, which the inhabitants of New England at this day enjoy? In what language, and concerning what comprehensive truths, does the wisdom of former times address the inexperience of the future?

Those elements are simple, obvious, and familiar.

Every civil and religious blessing of New England, all that here gives happiness to human life, or security to human virtue, is alone to be perpetuated in the forms and under the auspices of a free commonwealth.

The commonwealth itself has no other strength or hope, than the intelligence and virtue of the individuals that compose it.

For the intelligence and virtue of individuals, there is no other human assurance than laws providing for the education of the whole people.

These laws themselves have no strength, or efficient sanction, except in the moral and accountable nature of man, disclosed in the records of the Christian’s faith; the right to read, to construe, and to judge concerning which, belongs to no class or cast of men, but exclusively to the individual, who must stand or fall by his own acts and his own faith, and not by those of another.

The great comprehensive truths, written in letters of living light on every page of our history, — the language addressed by every past age of New England to all future ages is this; — Human happiness has no perfect security but freedom!freedom none but virtue;virtue none but knowledge; and neither freedom, nor virtue, nor knowledge has any vigor, or immortal hope, except in the principles of the Christian faith and in the sanctions of the Christian religion.

Men of Massachusetts! Citizens of Boston! Descendants of the early emigrants! Consider your blessings; consider your duties. You have an inheritance acquired by the labors and sufferings of six successive generations of ancestors. They founded the fabric of your prosperity, in a severe and masculine morality; having intelligence for its cement, and religion for its groundwork.. Continue to build on the same foundation, and by the same principles; let the extending temple of your country’s freedom rise, in the spirit of ancient times, in proportions of intellectual and moral architecture,—just, simple, and sublime.. As from the first to this day, let New England continue to be an example to the world, of the blessings of a free government, and of the means and capacity of man to maintain it. And, in all times to come, as in all times past, may Boston be among the foremost and the boldest to exemplify and uphold whatever constitutes the prosperity, the happiness, and the glory of New England.

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The Spiritual Influence in the American Way of Life: 4-H Club of America

TheEducatorGodTrust

The National Motto (Click to enlarge)

Note: Definitely worth the addition, from the 4-H Club of America; December, 1952

The Spiritual Influence in the American Way of Life

The history of the United States is rich in reminders of the important and basic part that religion has played in the life of our Nation from its very beginning. A few of these reminders follow:

The first act of the Pilgrim Fathers after landing on Plymouth Rock in 1620 was thanksgiving and prayer.

Tablets mark the pews rented and occupied by George Washington in churches in Virginia and New York.

“In God We Trust” is engraved on the coins of this Nation.

Abstracts from opinions of the Supreme Court of the United States: [Cases Adjudged in the Supreme Court at October Term, 1891. J. C. Bancroft Davis, reporter. United States Reports, vol. 143. New York and Albany. 1892. See pp. 467-471]

“The Declaration of Independence recognizes the presence of the Divine in human affairs * * *

“If we examine the constitutions of the various States we find in them a constant recognition of religious obligations. Every constitution of every one of the forty-four States contains language which either directly or by clear implication recognizes a profound reverence for religion and an assumption that its influence in all human affairs is essential to the well being of the community * * *

“There is a universal language pervading them all, having one meaning; they affirm and reaffirm that this is a religious nation.”

“If we pass beyond these matters to a view of American life as expressed by its laws, its business, its customs and its society, we find everywhere a clear recognition of the same truth. Among other matters note the following: The form of oath universally prevailing, concluding with an appeal to the Almighty; the custom of opening sessions of all deliberative bodies and most conventions with prayer; the prefatory words of all wills, ‘In the name of God, Amen’; the laws respecting the observance of the Sabbath, with the general cessation of all secular business , and the closing of courts, legislatures, and other similar public assemblies on that day; the churches and church organizations which abound in every city, town and hamlet; the multitude of charitable organizations existing everywhere under Christian auspices; the gigantic missionary associations, with general support, and aiming to establish Christian missions in every quarter of the globe. These, and many other matters which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.”

In addition, significant statements have been made by our Presidents calling attention to the importance of the spiritual development of the individual and of the community. Theodore Roosevelt referred to a churchless community where men have abandoned and scoffed at or ignored their religious needs as a community on rapid down grade. Woodrow Wilson declared that our civilization cannot survive materially unless it be redeemed spiritually. Calvin Coolidge said that a country’s strength is the strength of its religious convictions, and Herbert Hoover referred to our churches and religious institutions as indispensable stabilizing factors in our civilization. This thought was in part expressed even more strongly by Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he referred to the churches as the greatest influence in this world of ours to overcome the tendency toward greed.

Many of the great scientists of our own time are increasingly recognizing, as did Louis Pasteur, that in the Gospel virtues lie the springs of great thoughts and great actions. Only a short time ago, Dr. Robert A. Millikan and Arthur H. Compton, both Nobel prize winners echoed this feeling. The late Dr. Charles Steinmetz, a recognized scientific genius, declared that the greatest discoveries of all time will be spiritual and that when the scientists of the world turn their laboratories over to the study of God and prayer and the spiritual forces, the world will see more advancement in one generation than it has seen in the past several years.

Distinguishing Features of 4-H Club Work

To help prepare tomorrow’s citizens physically, mentally, and spiritually, 4-H Club work provides opportunities for voluntary participation in programs built on the members needs and interests. The program includes many varied projects and activities geared to these needs and interests.

Many of the distinguishing features of this broad 4-H program follow:

The National 4-H Club Pledge:

I pledge; My Head to clearer thinking, My Heart to greater loyalty, My Hands to larger service, and My Health to better living, for My club, my community and my country.

The National 4-H Citizenship Pledge:

We, individually and collectively, pledge our efforts from day to day, to fight for the ideals of this Nation.

We will never allow tyranny and injustice to become enthroned in this, our country, through indifference to our duties as citizens.

We will strive for intellectual honesty and exercise it through our power of franchise. We will obey the laws of our land and endeavor increasingly to quicken the sense of public duty among our fellow men.

We will strive for individual improvement and for social betterment.

We will devote our talents to the enrichment of our homes and our communities in relation to their material, social, and spiritual needs.

We will endeavor to transmit this Nation to posterity not merely as we found it, but freer, happier, and more beautiful than when it was transmitted to us.

The National 4-H Club Motto: To Make the Best Better.

The National 4-H Club Creed for Members

Parallel with the development of State 4-H Club creeds, the following national 4-H Club Creed has been developed:

I believe in 4-H Club work for the opportunity it will give me to become a useful citizen.

I believe in the training of my Head for the power it will give me to think, to plan, and to reason.

I believe in the training of my Heart for the nobleness it will give me to become kind, sympathetic, and true.

I believe in the training of my Hands for the ability it will give me to be helpful, useful, and skillful.

I believe in the training of my Health for the strength it will give me to enjoy life, to resist disease, and to work efficiently.

I believe in my country, my State, and my community, and in my responsibility for their development.

In all these things I believe, and I am willing to dedicate my efforts to their fulfillment.

The National 4-H Club Creed for Leaders [The national 4-H club Creed for Leaders was written by the late Dr. C. B. Smith, formerly Assistant Director of the Cooperative Extension Service]

I believe in the good earth, in the beauty and strength of its hills and valleys, its fields and forests, its orchards and gardens, its cattle on a thousand hills.

I believe in the educational, spiritual, and character-building value of work on the land, in the growing of crops, the raising of animals, the production of flowers and fruits–work with the Creator.

I believe in the country home where father, mother, and children work and strive together, grow up together, and share in each other’s joys, hopes, and faith.

I believe that out of rural homes come many of the strong, accomplishing men and women of the Nation.

And because I believe these things, I shall do my best, through 4-H Club work, to help build an efficient agriculture and homes of peace, beauty, and honor all over America and throughout the world.

The Ten 4-H Guideposts

1. Developing talents for greater usefulness.

  1. Joining with friends for work, fun, and fellowship.

3. Learning to live in a changing world.

4. Choosing a way to earn a living.

5. Producing food and fiber for home and market.

6. Creating better homes for better living.

7. Conserving nature’s resources for security and happiness.

8. Building health for a strong America.

9. Sharing responsibilities for community improvement.

10. Serving as citizens in maintaining world peace.

Ceremonials as a Significant Part of the 4-H Club Program

4-H Club ceremonials may serve a useful purpose in highlighting the ideals of 4-H Club work with dignity and beauty and in creating a closer bond among 4-H Club members throughout the country.

In this connection, Carl Schurz in an address at Faneuil Hall in Boston, a hundred years ago, is quoted as saying, ”Ideals are like stars. You will not succeed in touching them with your hands; but, like the seafaring man, you choose them as your guides, and following them, you reach your destiny.”

Throughout history, ceremonials with their ballads and sometimes with dances have played an important part in transmitting from one generation to another pride of country, faith in its ideals, and courage to fight for them. Similar importance has been attached to the ceremonials of the great religions of the world in highlighting religious beliefs and inspiring faith in Divine Power.

In 4-H Club work, considerable importance may be attached to 4-H Club ceremonials which highlight the 4-H Emblem, the Pledge, the Motto, the Creed, and often 4-H songs –all expressing the basic philosophy and idealism of the 4-H Club movement. In this connection, Dr. Mary Eva Duthie, in her study of 4-H Club work in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, states: [4-H Club Work in the Life of Rural Youth. A thesis submitted for the degree of doctor of philosophy. Mary Eva Duthie. 124 pp. University of Wisconsin]

“With all of the differences between the 4-H organizations in the three States which have been noted here, a fundamental unity was found in the idealism of the movement which could not be measured but was felt as an undercurrent in every State. The emblem, the slogan, the motto, and the pledge are the symbols of this idealism which was usually called ‘4-H spirit.’ The slogan was quoted frequently by members in informal conversations about their organization, and both leaders and members were heard to say, ‘A 4-H member does thus and so,’ or ‘4-H stands for this and that,’ the reference always being to an idealistic situation. “The rural boys and girls then have various opportunities for social experience through 4-H. In some cases they receive the values possible only in the small intimate group; in others they are a part of a large community group. Some clubs offer them wide opportunity for development of aesthetic judgments, while other club programs omit that field from their program. There are varied possibilities for recreation and also varied opportunities for contact with members of the opposite sex. The project requirements which members must meet are different; in fact, the very means by which the project is presented to them differ widely. But in spite of all of these differences, 4-H may indeed be called a national movement because of the emotional bond which exists in the idealism symbolized by the insignia, the pledge, the motto, and the slogan.” The place of ceremonials in the 4-H Club program is determined largely by club leaders and members in the development of their own programs on a local and State basis. These ceremonials vary in the States where they are being used. Some are more elaborate than others. Some are longer and involve more people. Included in this, manual are a very simple admission ceremony, a ceremony for the installation of officers, and a citizenship ceremony for prospective voters. It is the hope that these ceremonials, happily interspersed with 4-H songs, and changed to suit the occasion, may prove helpful to all 4-H Club leaders desiring to make more meaningful the idealism and philosophy of the 4-H Club program in connection with the observance of National 4-H Events.

4-H Admission Ceremony

Many a 4-H Club member has been stimulated to greater effort and achievement by the experiences and opportunities made possible through 4-H Club work. A brief summary of some of the 4-H basic principles emphasized at the time new members are admitted may aid considerably in developing an appreciation of the values of club work. Therefore, the following brief ceremony seems especially appropriate at the time new members are enrolled. On occasion, it may seem desirable to simplify it.

Suggestions:

The guide takes the candidate or candidates for 4-H Club membership to the front of the room, where the officers are standing behind a table on which an American flag and a 4-H flag have been placed.

President:

To you who are about to become a member of the 4-H Clubs of America, we, as active members of (club name), sharing responsibilities in the carrying out of our 4-H program, wish to inquire as to your earnestness in becoming a member.

Have you selected a 4-H project and handed in a 4-H enrollment card signed by your parents?

Candidate: I have.

Vice president:

Before becoming a member, we feel that you should become acquainted with the organization and purposes of the 4-H Clubs. The 4-H Clubs are a part of the national agricultural Extension Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the State colleges of agriculture and county extension organizations. 4-H Clubs are organized to help us become better citizens in a democracy by teaching us how to work and play together; by guiding us in the solving of our own problems and those of the home and community; by giving us an opportunity to learn better methods of farming and homemaking; by encouraging us to pass these better methods along to others; by giving us an understanding and appreciation of country life; and by helping us to be of service to others and to our communities in a changing world. In addition, during this critical period, each 4-H Club program provides rural young people an opportunity to do their full part in working together for a better home , community, and world understanding.

Secretary:

Our 4-H emblem is a green four-leaf clover, with a white “H” on each leaf, standing for the development of the Head, Heart, Hands, and Health.

Our 4-H motto is “To make the best better.”

The Ten 4-H Guideposts are: (Text of the 4-H)

Our 4-H Club Creed for Members is: (Text of the 4-H members)

Our 4-H Citizenship Pledge is: (Text of 4-H Citizenship Pledge)

Treasurer:

Our 4-H Club wants every person who joins it to know that he is joining a national organization that has important citizenship responsibilities. Every person should know also that the 4-H Clubs are part of a large organization in which the Extension Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, with headquarters in the Nation’s Capital, works cooperatively with the extension services of the State colleges of agriculture and the county extension services, as well as with the extension services of Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Each member should also know that 4-H Clubs are now well under way in many other countries.

President: You are now familiar with the purposes of 4-H Club work, the extent of the organization, the 4-H Emblem and what , it symbolizes, the 4-H Motto, the ten 4-H Guideposts to be used in developing 4-H programs, the 4-H Club Creed, and the 4-H Citizenship Pledge. Are you willing to try to live up to these ideals of the 4-H Club organization?

Candidate: I am.

President: Do you now wish to become a 4-H Club member?

Candidate: I do.

President: In becoming a member of our 4-HClub, we expect you to attend our meetings regularly, take an active part in our program, complete your project work, keep a record of all your 4-H activities, make an exhibit, and help other members of the club who may be in need of such help. As you sign the 4-H Club membership roll, please think of the responsibilities that you are assuming.

Candidate: Signs secretary’s book.

President: Please repeat the 4-H Club Pledge

Candidate: Repeats after president the 4-H Pledge. (Text of the pledge appears in part VI, P- 19.)

President: You are now a member of (name of club) 4-H Club. We welcome you into its membership. May you ever do your full part in carrying out the 4-H program. May you be faithful in helping to carry on your own 4-H work as a part of the general extension program of your community and county in partnership with your parents and neighbors, and in living up to its high ideals to the end that you will be among the distinguished number who are working for a better home, a better nation, and a better world.

Source: Aids for Observance of National 4-H Club Events: Program aid, Issue 214, December 1952; by United States Extension Service

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James Madison Regarding Religious Duty and Religious Liberty

James Madison Concerning Rights of Conscience or Religious Liberty

James Madison Concerning Rights of Conscience or Religious Liberty (Click to enlarge)

“The moral sense is the first excellence of a well organized man” ~Thomas Jefferson to John Adams 1823

PREFACE:

It isn’t really that hard to understand the Founders and their intent. I grew up among a people “Primitive Christians” who hold the same sentiments as the Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers were far from being Anti-Christian, atheists or deists. they were Christians and greatly promoted True Christianity in all they did and said on the subject, they were very religious and very right in their beliefs. Understanding the great depth of their religious beliefs isn’t that complicated to someone who grew up around it.

To begin with, government should never support any religion by taxes. Men who are in the ministry are or should be called by the Lord, Jesus is the Head of the Church, it is by him and only him that men should be lifted up. If the Lord is behind a man’s ministry, the Lord will lay it on peoples hearts to support that minister with their tithes and offerings. The Lord doesn’t need the governments help to support his ministers. nor his people, all the earth belongs to the Lord.

Among the people I grew up with, ministers are not voted for by the people, the people & ministry are not responsible for choosing ministers, God is. If a man feels that he is called to the ministry, he starts preaching, if the Lord has anointed him to be a pastor, teacher, etc., the gift will make room for itself and he will gain as the Holy Ghost reveals the gift to the Saints and members will be added to his church. If the man i.e. minister becomes abusive or if he becomes corrupt, just as the Holy Ghost led people to his church or ministry, again the Holy Ghost will lead them away and to where the Lord would have each individual member, (or lively stones of Christ’s Church as called in scripture), to be, under what ever minister. If the “gift” does not bear fruit, then the “gift” was obviously never a gift and therefore it doesn’t make room for the man. I’ve known a number of men who tried numerous times to start churches, who never had more than a hand-full of people, whose “churches” failed just as many times as they started them. Only the Lord can add to the ministry, and only the Lord can add to his people, or as God gives to his son Christ Jesus.

Our Founding Fathers also expected all school children to learn from the Bible, not only the history found there, but also how to be virtuous, how to act, how to reason, they expected them to be taught the principles of Christ not only at home, but in the public schools and universities. This is why so many of them put so much emphasis on society in America being moral and virtuous, they knew the more corruption, and the greater the lack of integrity among the people, the more numerous the laws and regulations needed to keep society from falling apart and turning on each other like beasts and devouring one another.

The more laws, rules and regulations you need to enforce decent behavior, the less freedom and liberty there will be, to enjoy life and pursue happiness. It’s just that simple.

Paul said in Philippians 1:12-19 “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.

Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ”

Paul is saying even though Christ is not always preached out of pure motives, nor in truth. He, Paul rejoiced in all, because just by Christ being preached it transforms men, society, etc., and works to the salvation of some who would never have been saved if they had not been exposed to the partial truth preached by others. The name of Christ Jesus ‘higher than all other names’ has the power to change hearts, lives, and destinies. Reminds me of the old hymn, “There’s power in the name of the Lord”.

The Principles of the Bible and more specifically those taught by Jesus were of great value and of great importance to the Founding Fathers. Everything they did in the founding of the United States was based on what they learned from history, what they had experienced at the time they lived and most importantly what they learned from the Bible. There was not a house in colonial America that did not have a well-worn Bible in it. Everything that had been happening in Europe in the last number of centuries led up to the Founding of this great country, the founding of America was the culmination of one of the greatest movements of God that had ever occurred in history. It was also by this education that they expected to end slavery.

Introductory quotes by some of the other Founding Fathers

“To obtain Religious, as well as Civil Liberty, I entered zealously into the Revolution. God grant that this Religious Liberty may be preserved in these States to the end of time.” ~ Charles Carroll of Carrollton (1737-1832)

John Adams said in a letter to his wife Abigail dated November 5, 1775, he discourses on the relations of religion to patriotism as follows: “Statesmen may plan and speculate for Liberty but it is Religion and Morality alone which can establish the principles upon which Freedom can securely stand. A true patriot must be a religious man. I have been led to think . . . that he who neglects his duty to his Maker may well be expected to be deficient and insincere in his duties towards the public. Even suppose him to possess a large share of what is called honor and public spirit, yet do not these men, by their bad example, by a loose immoral conduct, corrupt the minds of youth and vitiate the morals of the age and thus injure the public more than they can compensate by intrepidity, generosity and honor.”

John Adams view of the Christian religion as a factor in political education appears in one of the last entries in his diary: “One great advantage of the Christian religion is, that it brings the great principle of the law of nature and nations—Love your neighbor as yourself, and do to others as you would that others should do to you—to the knowledge, belief, and veneration of the whole people. . . No other institution for education, no kind of political discipline, could diffuse this kind of necessary information, so universally. . . . The duties and rights of the man and the citizen are thus taught from early infancy to every creature.”

“In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights, to illuminate our understandings 1 In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending Providence in our favor. To that kind Providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend? or do we imagine that we no longer need his assistance ? I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this ; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel. We shall be divided by our little partial local interests ; our projects will be confounded ; and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a by-word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter, from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing governments by human wisdom, and leave it to chance, war, and conquest.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

“Dear Friends, Your reflections on our situation, compared with that of many nations of Europe, are very sensible and just. Let me add, that only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.Benjamin Franklin When asked in France what was the secret of statesmanship, he replied: “He who shall introduce into public affairs the principles of primitive Christianity will change the face of the world.” About his religion he wrote to Dr. Stiles, President of Yale, as follows: “You desire to know something of my religion. It is the first time I have been questioned upon it. But I cannot take your curiosity amiss, and shall endeavor in a few words to gratify it. Here is my creed. I believe in one God, the Creator of the universe. That He governs it by His Providence. That He ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to Him is doing good to His other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion, and I regard them as you do in whatever sect I meet with them.—As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think His system of morals and His religion, as He left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is like to see.”

“The fundamentals of Christianity as found in the gospels are 1. Faith, 2. Repentance. That faith is every [where ?] explained to be a belief that Jesus was the Messiah who had been promised. Repentance was to be proved sincerely by good works. The advantages accruing to mankind from our Saviour’s mission are these.

  1. The knowledge of one god only.
  2. A clear knowledge of their duty, or system of morality, delivered on such authority as to give it sanction.
  3. The outward forms of religious worship wanted to be purged of that farcical pomp & nonsense with which they were loaded.
  4. An inducement to a pious life, by revealing clearly a future existence in bliss, & that it was to be the reward of the virtuous.

The Epistles were written to persons already Christians. A person might be a Christian then before they were written. Consequently the fundamentals of Christianity were to be found in the preaching of our Saviour, which is related in the gospels. ” Written by Thomas Jefferson in his ‘Notes on Religion‘ See more of Jefferson’s religious views here. And for his treatise on ‘Morality in Government’ go here.

In a Letter from John Quincy Adams to John Adams

Dated: Washington, 27th April, 1837

John Quincy Adams made the following statement: “I am encouraged to infer a widely spread attachment to the principles by which they [the Founding Fathers] were actuated, and which they maintained with the well redeemed pledge of their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. If, at one of the most trying periods of that conflict, in March, 1779, you find Mr. Adams complaining of the dangers which beset the cause, and the difficulties which it had to encounter from the weakness, the selfishness, flattery, vanity, and corruption of the times, yet confiding without the admission of a doubt in the ultimate success of the cause itself,—may we not take it, in these times when the cause has succeeded, and the nation, formed by the labors and sufferings of those days, has enjoyed such a career of prosperity as was never before by Divine Providence allotted to man; may we not take it as an admonition, that the adherence to those principles of our fathers has been among the principal causes of that prosperity? Should we not proceed a step further, and inquire whether that half-century of unexampled prosperity might not have been still more resplendent with glory, but for our own aberrations from those principles, the contemplation of which had fired the soul of the writer of the inclosed letter with visions of an approaching kingdom of the just, to result from the success of that Revolution? In reviewing its history and our own, while we remember with exultation and gratitude the triumphant issue of the cause, and the favors of heaven by which it has been followed, is there not remaining an augury, both retrospective and prospective, upon ourselves? That kingdom of the just, which had floated in the virtuous visions of John Adams, while he was toiling for his country’s independence,—that kingdom of our Father in Heaven, for which His Son taught us to approach Him in daily prayer,—has it yet come; and if not, have our advances towards it been as pure, as virtuous, as self-denying, as were those of our fathers in the days of their trial of adversity? And if we lay these questions in seriousness to our souls, are we not bound to interrogate them still further?—to cross-examine them if they answer with too confident assurance of their own righteousness, and ask them whether of late, and even now, we are not stationary, or more than stationary, moving backwards, from that progress towards the kingdom of the just, which was among the anticipated fruits of our Revolutionary warfare? The highest, the transcendent glory of the American Revolution was this—it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the precepts of Christianity. If it has never been considered in that light, it is because its compass has not been perceived.

Patrick Henry regarding Our Patriotic Duty as Christians (Click to enlarge)

Patrick Henry regarding Our Patriotic Duty as Christians (Click to enlarge)

Background:

There were two measures put before the Virginia House of Delegates to which Patrick Henry lent his support, which James Madison opposed, they were, the incorporation of the protestant Episcopal church, and what is called “a general assessment.” These measures have been frequently stated, in conversation, as proofs of a leaning on the part of Mr. Henry toward an established church, and that, too, the aristocratic church of England. To test the justness of this charge, the journals of the house of delegates have been examined, and this is the result of the evidence which they furnish: on the 17th of November, 1784, Mr. Matthews reported from the committee of the whole house, on the state of the commonwealth, the following resolution:

“Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee, that acts ought to pass for the incorporation of all societies of the Christian religion, which may apply for the same.”

The ayes and noes having been called for, on the passage of this resolution, were, ayes sixty-two, noes twenty-three; Mr. Henry being with the majority.

The principle being thus established in relation to all religious societies, which should desire a legal existence for the benefit of acquiring and holding property to the use of their respective churches, leave was given, on the same day, to bring in a bill to incorporate the clergy of the protestant Episcopal church, which had brought itself within that principle by having applied for an act of incorporation; and Mr. Henry was one, but not the chairman, [The chairman was Mr. Carter H. Harrison; the rest of the committee were Mr. Henry, Mr. Thomas Smith, Mr. William Anderson, and Mr. Tazewell] of the committee appointed to bring in that bill. How a measure which holds out to all religious societies, equally, the same benefit, can be charged with partiality, because accepted by one only, it is not very easy to discern. It would seem, to an ordinary mind, that, on the same principle, the Christian religion itself might be charged with partiality, since its offers, though made to all, are accepted but by few; and it is very certain, that if Mr. Henry is to be suspected of a bias toward an established church, on account of this vote, the charge will reach some of the foremost and best established republicans in the state, whose names stand recorded with Mr. Henry’s on this occasion, and who hold to this day the undiminished confidence of their countrymen.

The other measure, the general assessment, proceeded from a number of petitions from different counties of the commonwealth, which prayed, that as all persons enjoyed the benefits of religion, all might be required to contribute to the expense of supporting some form of worship or other. The committee, to whom these petitions were referred, reported a bill whose preamble sets forth the grounds of the proceeding, and furnishes a conclusive refutation of the charge of partiality to any particular form of religion. The bill is entitled, “A bill, establishing a provision for teachers of the Christian religion;” and its preamble is in the following words:— “Whereas the general diffusion of Christian knowledge hath a natural tendency to correct the morals of men, restrain their vices, and preserve the peace of society; which cannot be effected without a competent provision for learned teachers, who may be thereby enabled to devote their time and attention to the duty of instructing such citizens as, from their circumstances and want of education, cannot otherwise attain such knowledge; and it is judged such provision may be made by the legislature, without counteracting the liberal principle heretofore adopted and intended to be preserved, by abolishing all distinctions of pre-eminence amongst the different societies or communities of Christians.” The provisions of the bill are in the strictest conformity with the principles announced in the close of the preamble; the persons subject to taxes are required, at the time of giving in a list of their titheables, to declare to what particular religious society they choose to appropriate the sums assessed upon them, respectively; and, in the event of their failing or declining to specify any appropriation, the sums thus circumstanced are directed to be paid to the treasurer, and applied by the general assembly to the encouragement of seminaries of learning, in the counties where such sums shall arise. If there be any evidence of a leaning toward any particular religious sect in this bill, or any indication of a desire for an established church, the author of these sketches has not been able to discover them. Mr. Henry was a sincere believer in the Christian religion, and had a strong desire for the successful propagation of the gospel, but there was no tincture of bigotry or intolerance in his sentiments; nor have I been able to learn that he had a punctilious preference for any particular form of worship. His faith regarded the vital spirit of the gospel, and busied itself not at all with external ceremonies or controverted tenets.

Both these bills, “for incorporating the protestant Episcopal church,” and “establishing a provision for teachers of the Christian religion,” were reported after Mr. Henry had ceased to be a member of the house; but the resolutions on which they were founded were adopted while he continued a member, and had his warmest support. The first bill passed into a law; the last was rejected by a small majority, on the third reading.

MEMORIAL AND REMONSTRANCE AGAINST RELIGIOUS ASSESSMENTS.(fn. 1)

To The Honorable The General Assembly

OF

The Commonwealth Of Virginia.
A Memorial And Remonstrance.

Written By James Madison

1 Corinthians 10:29 Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another [man’s] conscience?

We, the subscribers, citizens of the said Commonwealth, having taken into serious consideration, a Bill printed by order of the last Session of General Assembly, entitled A Bill establishing a provision for Teachers of the Christian Religion,” and conceiving but that the same, if finally armed with the sanctions of a law, will be a dangerous abuse of power, are bound as faithful members of a free State, to remonstrate against it, and to declare the reasons by which we are determined. We remonstrate against the said Bill,

1: Because we hold it for a fundamental and undeniable truth, “that Religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the Manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, not by force or violence.”‘ The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man; and it is the right of every man to exercise it as these may dictate. This right is in its nature an unalienable right. It is unalienable; because the opinions of men, depending only on the evidence contemplated by their own minds, cannot follow the dictates of other men: It is unalienable also ; because what is here a right towards men, is a duty towards the Creator. It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage, and such only, as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society. Before any man can be considered as a member of Civil Society, he must be considered as a subject of the Governor of the Universe: And if a member of Civil Society, who enters into any subordinate Association, must always do it with a reservation of his duty to the general authority; much more must every man who becomes a member of any particular Civil Society, do it with a saving of his allegiance to the Universal Sovereign. We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man’s right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society, and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance. True it is, that no other rule exists, by which any question which may divide a Society, can be ultimately determined, but the will of the majority; but it is also true, that the majority may trespass on the rights of the minority.

2: Because if religion be exempt from the authority of the Society at large, still less can it be subject to that of the Legislative Body. The latter are but the creatures and vicegerents of the former. Their jurisdiction is both derivative and limited : it is limited with regard to the co-ordinate departments, more necessarily is it limited with regard to the constituents. The preservation of a free government requires not merely, that the metes and bounds which separate each department of power may be invariably maintained ; but more especially, that neither of them be suffered to overleap the great Barrier which defends the rights of the people. The Rulers who are guilty of such an encroachment, exceed the commission from which they derive their authority, and are Tyrants. The People who submit to it are governed by laws made neither by themselves, nor by an authority derived from them, and are slaves.

3: Because, it is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of citizens, and one of [the] noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The freemen of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much, soon to forget it. Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects? That the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute three pence only of his property for the support of any one establishment, may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever?

4: Because, the bill violates that equality which ought to be the basis of every law, and which is more indispensible, in proportion as the validity or expediency of any law is more liable to be impeached. If “all men are by nature equally free and independent,”‘ all men are to be considered as entering into Society on equal conditions; as relinquishing no more, and therefore retaining no less, one than another, of their natural rights. Above all are they to be considered as retaining an “equal title to the free exercise of Religion according to the dictates of conscience” * Whilst we assert for ourselves a freedom to embrace, to profess and to observe the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin, we cannot deny an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us. If this freedom be abused, it is an offence against God, not against man: To God, therefore, not to men, must an account of it be rendered. As the Bill violates equality by subjecting some to peculiar burdens; so it violates the same principle, by granting to others peculiar exemptions. Are the Quakers and Menonists the only sects who think a compulsive support of their religions unnecessary and unwarrantable? Can their piety alone be entrusted with the care of public worship? Ought their Religions to be endowed above all others, with extraordinary privileges, by which proselytes may be enticed from all others? We think too favorably of the justice and good sense of these denominations, to believe that they either covet pre-eminencies over their fellow citizens, or that they will be seduced by them, from the common opposition to the measure.

5: Because the bill implies either that the Civil Magistrate is a competent Judge of Religious truth ; or that he may employ Religion as an engine of Civil policy. The first is an arrogant pretension falsified by the contradictory opinions of Rulers in all ages, and throughout the world: The second an unhallowed perversion of the means of salvation.

6: Because the establishment proposed by the Bill is not requisite for the support of the Christian Religion. To say that it is, is a contradiction to the Christian Religion itself ; for every page of it disavows a dependence on the powers of this world: it is a contradiction to fact; for it is known that this Religion both existed and flourished, not only without the support of human laws, but in spite of every opposition from them ; and not only during the period of miraculous aid, but long after it had been left to its own evidence, and the ordinary care of Providence: Nay, it is a contradiction in terms; for a Religion not invented by human policy, must have pre-existed and been supported, before it was established by human policy. It is moreover to weaken in those who profess this Religion a pious confidence in its innate excellence, and the patronage of its Author ; and to foster in those who still reject it, a suspicion that its friends are too conscious of its fallacies, to trust it to its own merits.

7: Because experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries, has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution. Enquire of the Teachers of Christianity for the ages in which it appeared in its greatest luster; those of every sect, point to the ages prior to its incorporation with Civil policy. Propose a restoration of this primitive state in which its Teachers depended on the voluntary rewards of their flocks; many of them predict its downfall. On which side ought their testimony to have greatest weight, when for or when against their interest?

8: Because the establishment in question is not necessary for the support of Civil Government. If it be urged as necessary for the support of Civil Government only as it is a means of supporting Religion, and it be not necessary for the latter purpose, it cannot be necessary for the former. If Religion be not within the cognizance of Civil Government, how can its legal establishment be said to be necessary to civil Government? What influence in fact have ecclesiastical establishments had on Civil Society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of Civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been seen the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty, may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure & perpetuate it, needs them not. Such a government will be best supported by protecting every citizen in the enjoyment of his Religion with the same equal hand which protects his person and his property; by neither invading the equal rights of any Sect, nor suffering any Sect to invade those of another.

9: Because the proposed establishment is a departure from that generous policy, which, offering an asylum to the persecuted and oppressed of every Nation and Religion, promised a luster to our country, and an accession to the number of its citizens. What a melancholy mark is the Bill of sudden degeneracy? Instead of holding forth an asylum to the persecuted, it is itself a signal of persecution. It degrades from the equal rank of Citizens all those whose opinions in Religion do not bend to those of the Legislative authority. Distant as it may be, in its present form, from the Inquisition it differs from it only in degree. The one is the first step, the other the last in the career of intolerance. The magnanimous sufferer under this cruel scourge in foreign Regions, must view the Bill as a Beacon on our Coast, warning him to seek some other haven, where liberty and philanthrophy in their due extent may offer a more certain repose from his troubles.

10: Because, it will have a like tendency to banish our Citizens. The allurements presented by other situations are every day thinning their number. To superadd [add (something) to what has already been added] a fresh motive to emigration, by revoking the liberty which they now enjoy, would be the same species of folly which has dishonoured and depopulated flourishing kingdoms.

11: Because, it will destroy that moderation and harmony which the forbearance of our laws to intermeddle with Religion, has produced amongst its several sects. Torrents of blood have been spilt in the old world, by vain attempts of the secular arm to extinguish Religious discord, by proscribing all difference in Religious opinions. Time has at length revealed the true remedy. Every relaxation of narrow and rigorous policy, wherever it has been tried, has been found to assuage the disease. The American Theatre has exhibited proofs, that equal and compleat liberty, if it does not wholly eradicate it, sufficiently destroys its malignant influence on the health and prosperity of the State. If with the salutary effects of this system under our own eyes, we begin to contract the bonds of Religious freedom, we know no name that will too severely reproach our folly. At least let warning be taken at the first fruits of the threatened innovation. The very appearance of the Bill has transformed that ” Christian forbearance, ‘ love and charity,” which of late mutually prevailed, into animosities and jealousies, which may not soon be appeased. What mischiefs may not be dreaded should this enemy to the public quiet be armed with the force of a law?

12: Because, the policy of the bill is adverse to the diffusion of the light of Christianity. The first wish of those who enjoy this precious gift, ought to be that it may be imparted to the whole race of mankind. Compare the number of those who have as yet received it with the number still remaining under the dominion of false Religions; and how small is the former! Does the policy of the Bill tend to lessen the disproportion? No; it at once discourages those who are strangers to the light of revelation from coming into the Region of it; and countenances, by example the nations who continue in darkness, in shutting out those who might convey it to them. Instead of levelling as far as possible, every obstacle to the victorious progress of truth, the Bill with an ignoble and unchristian timidity would circumscribe it, with a wall of defence, against the encroachments of error.

13: Because attempts to enforce by legal sanctions, acts obnoxious to so great a proportion of Citizens, tend to enervate the laws in general, and to slacken the bands of Society. If it be difficult to execute any law which is not generally deemed necessary or salutary, what must be the case where it is deemed invalid and dangerous? and what may be the effect of so striking an example of impotency in the Government, on its general authority.

14: Because a measure of such singular magnitude and delicacy ought not to be imposed, without the clearest evidence that it is called for by a majority of citizens: and no satisfactory method is yet proposed by which the voice of the majority in this case may be determined, or its influence secured. “The people of the respective counties are indeed requested to signify their opinion respecting the adoption of the Bill to the next Session of Assembly.” But the representation must be made equal, before the voice either of the Representatives or of the Counties, will be that of the people. Our hope is that neither of the former will, after due consideration, espouse the dangerous principle of the Bill. Should the event disappoint us, it will still leave us in full confidence, that a fair appeal to the latter will reverse the sentence against our liberties.

15: Because, finally, “the equal right of every citizen to the free exercise of his Religion according to the dictates of conscience” is held by the same tenure with all our other rights. If we recur to its origin, it is equally the gift of nature; if we weigh its importance, it cannot be less dear to us; if we consult the Declaration of those rights which pertain to the good people of Virginia, as the “basis and foundation of Government,”‘ it is enumerated with equal solemnity, or rather studied emphasis. Either then, we must say, that the will of the Legislature is the only measure of their authority; and that in the plenitude of this authority, they may sweep away all our fundamental rights; or, that they are bound to leave this particular right untouched and sacred: Either we must say, that they may controul the freedom of the press, may abolish the trial by jury, may swallow up the Executive and Judiciary Powers of the State; nay that they may despoil us of our very right of suffrage, and erect themselves into an independant and hereditary assembly: or we must say, that they have no authority to enact into law the Bill under consideration. We the subscribers say, that the General Assembly of this Commonwealth have no such authority: And that no effort may be omitted on our part against so dangerous an usurpation, we oppose to it, this remonstrance; earnestly praying, as we are in duty bound, that the Supreme Lawgiver of the Universe, by illuminating those to whom it is addressed, may on the one hand, turn their councils from every act which would affront his holy prerogative, or violate the trust committed to them : and on the other, guide them into every measure which may be worthy of his blessing, may redound to their own praise, and may establish more firmly the liberties, the prosperity, and the Happiness of the Commonwealth.

James Madison concerning State Rights vs Federal (Click to enlarge)

James Madison concerning State Powers vs Federal in the Constitution (Click to enlarge)

Footnotes: (1) By a vote of ayes 48, noes 38, the third reading of the engrossed bill to establish a provision for the teachers of the Christian religion was postponed December 24, 1784, to the fourth Thursday in the next November. Among those voting against the postponement were Benjamin Harrison, Joseph Jones, John Marshall, Philip Barbour, Richard Bland Lee, Richard Henry Lee, and Henry Tazewell. Washington also favored the bill. It was printed for distribution among the voters in order that their sentiments towards it might be ascertained. Among its opponents were Wilson Cary Nicholas and George Nicholas. A copy of the bill is found among the Washington MSS. The copy of the Remonstrance used here is one of the broadsides printed by the Phenix Press of Alexandria, now in the Virginia Historical Society, with a number of signatures appended to it. It has been collated with the notes in Madison’s hand found among the Madison MSS.

“My brother informs me that he conversed with you on the propriety of remonstrating against certain measures of the last session of Assembly and that you seemed to think it would be best that the counties opposed to the measure should be silent. I fear this would be construed into an assent especially to the law for establishing a certain provision for the clergy : for as the Assembly only postponed the passing of it that they might know whether it was disagreeable to the people I think they may justly conclude that all are for it who do not say to the contrary. A majority of the counties are in favor of the measure undecipherable] a great majority of the people against it, but if this majority should not appear by petition the fact will be denied. Another reason why all should petition is that some will certainly do it and those who support the bills will insist that those who petition are all the opposition. Would it not add greatly to the weight of the petition if they all hold the same language? by discovering an exact uniformity of sentiment in a majority of the country it would certainly deter the majority of the assembly from proceeding. All my expectations are from their fears, and not their justice. … If you think with me that it will be proper to say something to the Assembly, will you commit it to paper. I risk this because I know you are most capable of doing it properly and because it will be most likely to be generally adopted. I can get it sent to Amherst Buckingham Albemarle, Fluvanna, Augusta, Botetourt, Rock Bridge and Rockingham and have no doubt that Bedford and the counties Southward of it will readily join in the measure. I will also send it to Frederick and Berkeley and if it goes from your county to P’arquieur Culpeper and Loudoun it will be adopted by the most populous part of the country.”— George Nicholas to Madison, Charlottesville, April 22″d 1785, Mad. MSS.

“I found that no alteration could be made to the remonstrance without injury and immediately had it copied and sent to the counties I mentioned in a former letter.”—Nicholas to Madison, Sweet Springs, July 24, 1785, Mad. MSS. ‘Decl. Rights, Art: 16. [Note in the original.]

Sources: The Writings of James Madison: 1783-1787 By James Madison
The life of Patrick Henry By William Wirt

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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.

CANDIDUS

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REVIEW OF CUSTANCE ON THE CONSTITUTION

The Magna Carta (Click to enlarge)

The Magna Carta (Click to enlarge)

Sharing this article by Rev. Robert Hall mainly for the quote in the first paragraph.

REVIEW OF CUSTANCE ON THE CONSTITUTION

 

A Concise View of the Constitution of England. By George Custance. Dedicated, by permission, to William Wilberforce, Esq., M.P.for the County of York. Kidderminster: Gower; London: Longman and Co.; Hatchard. 1808.

It were surely to be wished that every man had a competent acquaintance with the laws and constitution of the country to which he belongs. Patriotism is a blind and irrational impulse, unless it is founded on a knowledge of the blessings we are called to secure, and the privileges we propose to defend. In a tyrannical state it is natural for the ruling power to cherish political ignorance, which can alone reconcile men to the tame surrender of their natural rights. The diffusion of light and knowledge is very unfavourable to ill-founded pretensions of every sort, but to none more than the encroachments of arbitrary power and lawless violence. The more we explore the recesses of a dungeon, the less likely are we to be reconciled to take up our residence in it. But the venerable fabric of the British constitution, our hereditary mansion, whether it be tried by the criterion of convenience or of beauty, of ancient prescription or of practical utility, will bear the most rigid examination; and the more it is contemplated will be the more admired.

The Romans were so conscious of the importance of imparting to the rising generation an early knowledge of their laws and constitution, that the contents of the twelve tables were committed to memory, and formed one of the first elements of public instruction. They were sensible that what lays hold of the mind at so early a period is not only likely to be long remembered, but is almost sure to command veneration and respect. We are not aware that similar attempts have been made to render the British youth acquainted with the principles of our admirable constitution, not inferior surely to that of the Roman republic; a defect in the system of education which the circumstances of the present crisis loudly call upon us to supply. When our existence as an independent nation is threatened, when unexampled sacrifices must be made, and, perhaps, the utmost efforts of patience and of persevering courage exerted for our preservation, an attachment to that constitution which is the basis of all our prosperity, cannot be too zealously promoted or too deeply felt. It is a just and enlightened estimate of the invaluable blessings that constitution secures, which alone can make us sustain our present burdens without repining, as well as prepare us for greater privations and severer struggles. For this reason we cannot but look upon the performance before us as a most seasonable publication. One cause of the attention of youth being so little directed to our national laws and constitution, in schools, is probably the want of suitable books. We have an abundance of learned and able writers on these subjects; but few, if any, that are quite adapted to the purpose we are now speaking of. Millar’s is a very profound and original work; but it supposes a great deal of previous knowledge, without which it can be scarcely understood, and is in every view better adapted to aid the researches of an antiquary, or the speculations of a philosopher, than to answer the end of an elementary treatise. De Lolme’s performance may be deemed more suitable; yet, able and ingenious as it is, it labours under some essential deficiencies, considered in the light of an elementary work. There is in it a spirit of refined speculation, an eagerness to detect and display latent, unthought-of excellences, in the frame of government, which is very remote from the simplicity requisite in the lessons of youth. Of Blackstone’s Commentaries it would be presumptuous in us to attempt an eulogium, after Sir William Jones has pronounced it to be the most beautiful outline that was ever given of any science. Nothing can exceed the luminous arrangement, the vast comprehension, and, we may venture to add from the best authorities, the legal accuracy of this wonderful performance, which, in style and composition, is distinguished by an unaffected grace, a majestic simplicity, which can only be eclipsed by the splendour of its higher qualities. Admirable, however, as these commentaries are, it is obvious that they are much too voluminous and elaborate to answer the purpose of an introduction to the study of the English constitution. We do, therefore, most sincerely congratulate the public on the appearance of a work which we can safely recommend as ‘well fitted to supply a chasm in our system of public instruction. The book before us is, in ever}’ view, well adapted for the instruction of youth: the clear and accurate information h conveys upon a most important subject, and the truly Christian tincture of its maxims and principles, are well calculated to enlarge the understanding and improve the heart. We beg leave particularly to recommend it to the attention of schools, in which, we conceive, a general acquaintance with the laws and constitution of the country might be cultivated with much advantage, as forming a proper preparation for the active scenes of life. Legal provisions for the security of the best temporal interests of mankind are the result of so much collective wisdom and experience, and are so continually conversant with human affairs, that we know no study more adapted to invigorate the understanding, and at the same time to give a practical turn to its speculations. The close cohesion of its parts tends to make the mind severely argumentative, while its continual relation to the state of society and its successive revolutions fences it in on the side of metaphysical abstraction and useless theories. What we look upon (for the reasons already mentioned) to be a most useful and interesting study at all times, we would earnestly recommend as an indispensable duty at the present crisis.

Of the merits of the work before us, the public may form some judgment, when we inform them that it contains whatever is most interesting to the general reader in Blackstone, together with much useful information derived from Professor Christian, De Lolme, and various other eminent authors. Some will be ready to accuse the writer of having carried his partiality toward whatever is established too far; nor dare we say the charge is entirely unfounded. We are not disposed, however, to be severe upon him on this account. We wish to see the minds of our youth preoccupied with a strong bias in favour of our national institutions. We would wish to see them animated by a warm and generous enthusiasm, and to defer the business of detecting faults and exposing imperfections to a future period. Let us only be allowed to remark, that this policy should be temperately employed; lest the mind should suffer a revulsion, and pass, perhaps abruptly, from implicit admiration to the lest, indignant at having been misled, it censure for undistinguishing applause.

We wish our author had, in common with Blackstone, expressed his disapprobation of the severity of our criminal code. The multiplicity of capital punishments we shall always consider as a reproach to the English nation; though, numerous as they are, they bear no proportion to what they ‘would be were the law permitted to take its course. The offences deemed capital by the common law are few; the sanguinary complexion of the criminal law, as it now stands, has arisen from the injudicious tampering of the legislature. To us it appears evident, that the certainty of punishment will restrain offenders more than its severity.; and that, when men are tempted to transgress, they do not weigh the emolument they had in view against the penalty awarded by law, but simply the probability of detection and punishment against that of impunity. Let the punishments be moderate, and this will be the most effectual means of rendering them certain. While nothing can exceed the trial by jury, and the dignified impartiality with which justice is administered, we are compelled to look upon the criminal code with very different emotions, and earnestly to wish it were carefully revised, and made more humane, simple, and precise.

As little can we concur with the author before us in the defence he sets up of the donation of pensions and where there are no pretensions of personal merit or honorable services. Standing quite aloof from party politic must affirm, that to whatever extent such a practice exactly in the same proportion is it a source of public calamity and disgrace. To look at it, as our author does, only in a pecuniary view, is to neglect the principal consideration. It is not merely or chiefly as a waste of public money that the granting of sinecures and pensions to the undeserving ought to be condemned; the venality and corruption it indicates and produces is its worst feature, and an infallible symptom of a declining state. With these exceptions, we have accompanied the author with almost uninterrupted pleasure, and have been highly gratified with the good sense, the extensive information, and the unaffected piety he displays throughout the work. Though a firm and steady churchman himself, be manifests a truly Christian spirit toward the Protestant dissenters; and is so far from looking with an evil eye on the large toleration they enjoy, that he contemplates with evident satisfaction the laws on which that toleration is founded.

Of the style of this work, it is but justice to say that, without aspiring to any high degree of ornament, it is pure, perspicuous, and correct, well suited to the subject on which it is employed.

As a fair specimen of Mr. C.’s manner of thinking, we beg leave to lay before our readers the following just and appropriate remarks on dueling:—

“Deliberate dueling falls under the head of express malice; and the law of England has justly fixed the crime and punishment of murder upon both the principal and accessaries of this most unchristian practice. Nothing more is necessary with us, to check this daring violation of all law, than the same firmness and integrity in the trial of duellists which so eminently distinguish an English jury on all other “occasions.

“Perhaps it will be asked, what are men of honour to do, if they must not appeal to the pistol and sword? The answer is obvious: if one gentleman has offended another, he cannot give a more indisputable proof of genuine courage, than by making a frank acknowledgment of his fault, and asking forgiveness of the injured party. On the other hand, if he have received an affront, he ought freely to forgive, as he hopes to be forgiven of God. And if either of the parties aggravate the matter by sending a challenge to fight, the other must not be a partaker of sin, if he would obey God rather than man.

“Still it will be said that a military or naval man, at least, must not decline a challenge, if he would maintain the character of a man of courage. But is it not insulting the loyalty and good sense of the brave defenders of our laws, to imagine that they of all men must violate them to preserve their honour; since the king has expressly forbidden any military man to send a challenge to fight a duel, upon pain of being cashiered, if an officer; and of suffering corporal punishment, if a non-commissioned officer or private soldier? Nor ought any officer or soldier to upbraid another for refusing a challenge, whom his Majesty positively declares he considers as having only acted in obedience to his (fn. 1) royal orders; and fully acquits of any disgrace that may be attached to his conduct. Besides, what necessary connection is there between the fool-hardiness of one who risks the eternal perdition of his neighbour and of himself in an unlawful combat, and the patriotic bravery of him who, when duty calls, boldly engages the enemy of his king and country? None will dispute the courage of the excellent Colonel Gardiner, who was slain at the battle of Preston Pans, in the rebellion of 1745. Yet he once refused a challenge, with this dignified remark: ‘I fear sinning, though I do not fear fighting.’ (Fn.2) The fact is, that fighting a duel is so far from being a proof of a man’s possessing true courage, that it is an infallible mark of his cowardice. For he is influenced by ‘the fear of man,’ whose praise he loveth more than the praise of God.”

Fn.1  See ‘ Articles of War,’ sec. 7.”

Fn.2 See Doddridge’s ‘Life of Colonel Gardiner,’ an interesting piece of biography, worthy the perusal of every officer in the army and navy.

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CHRISTIANITY PROMOTES A LOVE OF FREEDOM

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

CHRISTIANITY PROMOTES A LOVE OF FREEDOM

ORIGINALLY TITLED: CHRISTIANITY CONSISTENT WITH A LOVE OF FREEDOM:

BEING

AN ANSWER BY REV. ROBERT HALL

TO

A SERMON,

LATELY PUBLISHED, BY THE REV. JOHN CLAYTON.

[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.

Cambridge.

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.’

NOTE BY THE EDITOR.

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.

CHRISTIANITY CONSISTENT WITH A LOVE OF FREEDOM,
&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.

Copyright © 2010 – 2015 TeaPartyEdu http://teapartyedu.net Foundation Truths http://captainjamesdavis.net The Patriot Brotherhood @CaptainJDavis ™

Samuel Adams Concerning Big Government Loving Liberal Democrats

Samuel Adams concerning the Loss of Religious Liberty (Click to enlarge)

Samuel Adams concerning the Loss of Religious Liberty (Click to enlarge)

Words written September 16, 1771 by Samuel Adams; signed “Candidus”  Reworked by the editor to fit what is happening in the United States today. The same as it was in his time by enemies of the American people who with similar motives, worked against groups of Patriots then fighting to save the liberties of the people to pass onto their posterity.

When the Constitution of the United States was framed their were the Anti-Federalists (TeaParty), the Federalists (GOP) and the British Loyalists (Democrats).

“Let us ascribe Glory to God who has graciously vouchsafed to favor the Cause of America and of Mankind” ~ Samuel Adams to James Warren 1777

It has always been their [Big Government Loving Liberal Democrats] constant endeavor by all manner of arts to destroy [American Liberty]. Against this, they have discovered a unanimity, zeal and perseverance, worthy to be imitated by those who are embarked in the cause of American freedom.—It is by united councils, a steady zeal, and a manly fortitude, that the Citizens of the United States must expect to recover its violated rights and liberties. They have been actuated by a conscientious and a clear and determined sense of duty to God, their King, their country, and their latest posterity.

The evils which threaten this injured country, arise from the machinations of a few, very few discontented men false patriots who are sacrificing their country to the gratification of their own profit and ideology. It seems of late to have been the policy of these enemies of America to point their weapons against these groups only [Tea Party Patriots, Social Conservatives and Christians]; and artfully to draw off the attention of other citizens, and if possible to render those groups odious [extremely unpleasant; repulsive] to them, while it is suffering governmental vengeance for the sake of the common cause. But it is hoped that the citizens will be aware of this artifice [trickery, deceit].

At this juncture an attempt to subdue these groups to despotic power, is justly to be considered as an attempt to enslave the whole. The citizens “form one political body, of which each is a member.”—The liberties of the whole are invaded— It is therefore the interest of the whole to support each individual with all their weight and influence. Whoever seriously considers the matter, must perceive, that a dreadful stroke is aimed at the liberty of Americans: For the cause of one is the cause of all. If the IRS, EPA, DHS, HHS and other government agencies may lawfully deprive Christians, social conservatives and Tea Party Patriots of any of their Rights, it may deprive any or all the other citizens of their Rights; and nothing can so much encourage such attempts, as a mutual inattention to the interests of each other. To divide and thus to destroy, is the first political maxim in attacking those who are powerful by their association And when the slightest point touching the freedom of a single Citizen is agitated, I earnestly wish, that all the rest may with equal ardor support their brother or sister.

These are the generous sentiments of that celebrated writer, whom several have made feeble attempts to answer, but no one has yet done it.—May the American Citizens be upon their guard; and take care lest by a mutual inattention to the interest of each other, they at length become supine and careless of the grand cause of American Liberty, and finally fall a prey to the Merciless Hand Of Tyranny.

Copyright © 2010 – 2015 TeaPartyEdu http://teapartyedu.net Foundation Truths http://captainjamesdavis.net The Patriot Brotherhood @CaptainJDavis ™

Religion in Politics

Former First Lady Abigail Adams Regarding Patriots & Religion (Click to enlarge)

Former First Lady Abigail Adams Regarding Patriots & Religion (Click to enlarge)

“So long as there is politics in religion, we will oppose it with religion in politics.”

Christian Register 1920

WILL YOU PLEASE TELL your readers why you deal with political subjects? I agree heartily with your policy, and I should like to have you define it.” We are pleased to reply to this inquiry. Of course, there is a reason for everything we do, and in this important case we are certain it is right and necessary. We put the whole thing in a sentence. It is a principle: So long as there is politics in religion, we will oppose it with religion in politics.

Thomas Jefferson concerning the 1st Amendment Religious Freedom (Click to enlarge)

Thomas Jefferson concerning the 1st Amendment Religious Freedom (Click to enlarge)

We mean to apply a searching and unyielding test not so much to the politicians as to the members of our churches of every name who still live in the inconsistent and indefensible position where they consider the government of their country an unreligious and unmoral concern. They say it is politics, the place forbidden, where they shut out God, Church, conscience, and duty. In short, by making politics, or the affairs of state, unmoral and unreligious, they really are responsible for politics being immoral and irreligious. There can be no neutrality. These people do keep religion out .of their politics, but they do not keep politics out of their religion. That is what we mean by the abomination of politics in religion. It is doing more harm to the spiritual integrity and the moral rectitude of church members than any other factor in modern life; and that is certainly not to blink the other gross evils of our time.

We have a great mission to perform as a religious journal. We call men and women to repentance and conversion. They need it; we need it. The people of God treat the sanctities of their Nation with indifference and nonchalance; or they go their selfish and sheepish way as mere partisans, caught by the vicious sophistries of men the most corrupt and self-seeking in the land. How politicians laugh at church members! That is how far politics has got into religion. That is why we say the only salvation is in stirring deep the spirit of religion in politics. We are prophesying for the good time ‘when a man’s religion in his politics will be as 0bviously on the side of intelligent righteousness as, his religion now is on the side of faithfulness to his wife and family [or should be]; of honest and fair conduct in his business; of the spirit of fellowship among his c0churchmen in the sanctuary.

Thomas Jefferson Concerning Morality & Religion (Click to enlarge)

Thomas Jefferson Concerning Pure Morality & Religion of Jesus (Click to enlarge)

Why have we been so long a time under the sinful blight of politics in our religion? Why do we trim and deceive our minds with all sorts of devices to satisfy our politics? Why do we let vile men prostitute our bodies and souls? Why can we not be men and women approved of God, faithful to religion in our politics? The answer is plain. Politics in our religion has polluted our beings until we are stupid and indolent. There are in the churches of every faith in the land men and women of nobility and virtue in most things in life, who are guilty of a shameless taint in the high calling of their Christian citizenship. And some of them have the temerity to say to their ministers, with a gesture of monetary penalty if their ministers tell them the truth of God, that religion and politics must be kept apart! These saintly ones can see a city in the filthy hands of plunderers; a commonwealth playing to the fortunes of rotten financiers; a nation in danger of repudiating its promise of fellowship among the peoples of the world, and give it all no heed whatever, yet counting themselves good. They are so dumb to spiritual truth they cannot see as they ought to see with ethical rigor that the debasement of the moral factors, honesty, public service, and co-operation in public life, goes on because the power of politics in their religion for evil is greater than the power of religion in their politics for good. We shall not cease the imperial command of Almighty God until the end comes of politics in religion and the reign begins of religion in politics, especially in the lives of those who profess and call themselves Christians.

Copyright © 2014 © 2015 TeaPartyEdu http://teapartyedu.net Foundation Truths http://captainjamesdavis.net The Patriot Brotherhood @CaptainJDavis

Thomas Jefferson Notes on Religion October 1776

ThomasJeffersonQuotesReligiousGrowth

Thomas Jefferson Concerning the Growth of Religious Societies (Click to enlarge)

“To preserve the peace of our fellow citizens, promote their prosperity and happiness, reunite opinion, cultivate a spirit of candor, moderation, charity and forbearance toward one another, are objects calling for the efforts and sacrifices of every good man and patriot. Our religion enjoins it; our happiness demands it: and no sacrifice is requisite but of passions hostile to both.”—Thomas Jefferson to The Rhode Island Assembly; 1801

See also:
Thomas Jefferson Biography
RELIGIOUS VIEWS OF THOMAS JEFFERSON; source: The Jefferson Bible
Jefferson Foresaw and Prophesied about This Time in American History

JEFFERSON’S NOTES ON RELIGION. [These are endorsed by Jefferson: “scraps early in the revolution.” They were probably materials and notes for his speeches in the House of Delegates on the petitions for the disestablishment of the Episcopal church. Owing to the rebinding it is practically impossible to say if any order was intended.]

  1. Mss.

[Oct. 1776?]

Sabellians Christian heretics. That there is but one person in the Godhead. That the ‘ Word’ & holy spirit are only virtues, emanations or functions of the deity.

Sorcinians. Christian heretics. That the Father is the one only god. That the Word is no more than an expression of ye godhead & had not existed from all eternity; that Jesus Christ was god no otherwise than by his superiority above all creatures who were put in subjection to him by the father. That he was not a mediator, but sent to be a pattern of conduct to men. That the punishments of hell are not eternal.

Arminians. They think with the Romish church (against the Calvinists) that there is an universal grace given to all men, & that man is always free & at liberty to receive or reject grace. That God creates men free, that his justice would not permit him to punish men for crimes they are predestinated to commit. They admit the presence of god, but distinguish between fore-knowing & predestinating. All the fathers before St. Austin were of this opinion. The church of England founded her article of predestination on his authority.

Arians. Christian heretics. They avow there was a time when the Son was not, that he was created in time mutable in nature, & like the angels liable to sin; they deny the three persons in the trinity to be of the same essence. Erasmus and Grotius were Arians.

Apollinarians. Christian heretics. They affirm there was but one nature in Christ, that his body as well as soul was impassive & immortal, & that his birth, death, & resurrection was only in appearance.

Macedonians. Christian heretics. They teach that the Holy ghost was a mere creature, but superior in excellence to the Angels. See Broughton, verbo ‘ Heretics,’ an enumeration of 48. sects of Christians pronounced Heretics.

Thomas Jefferson Concerning those who Misinterpreted his Religious views (Click to enlarge)

Thomas Jefferson Concerning those who Misinterpreted his Religious views (Click to enlarge)

Locke’s system of Christianity is this: Adam was created happy & immortal; but his happiness was to have been Earthly & Earthly immortality. By sin he lost this—so that he became subject to total death (like that of brutes) to the crosses & unhappiness of this life. At the intercession however of the son of god this sentence was in part remitted. A life conformable to the law was to restore them again to immortality. And moreover to them who believed their faith was to be counted for righteousness. Not that faith without works was to save them; St. James, chapter 2. says expressly the contrary; & all make the fundamental pillars of Christianity to be faith & repentance. So that a reformation of life (included under repentance) was essential, & defects in this would be made up by their faith; i. e. their faith should be counted for righteousness. As to that part of mankind who never had the gospel preached to them, they are 1. Jews.—2. Pagans, or Gentiles. The Jews had the law of works revealed to them. By this therefore they were to be saved: & a lively faith in god’s promises to send the Messiah would supply small defects. 2. The Gentiles. St. Pa. says—Rom. 2. 13. ‘the Gentiles have the law written in their hearts, i. e. the law of nature: to which adding a faith in God & his attributes that on their repentance he would pardon them, they also would be justified. This then explains the text ‘there is no other name under heaven by which a man may be saved,’ i.e. the defects in good works shall not be supplied by a faith in Mahomet Foe, [?] or any other except Christ.

Thomas Jefferson Concerning Rights of Conscience (Click to enlarge)

Thomas Jefferson Concerning Rights of Conscience (Click to enlarge)

The fundamentals of Christianity as found in the gospels are 1. Faith, 2. Repentance. That faith is every [where ?] explained to be a belief that Jesus was the Messiah who had been promised. Repentance was to be proved sincerely by good works. The advantages accruing to mankind from our Saviour’s mission are these.

  1. The knowledge of one god only.

2. A clear knowledge of their duty, or system of morality, delivered on such authority as to give it sanction.

  1. The outward forms of religious worship wanted to be purged of that farcical pomp & nonsense with which they were loaded.

4. An inducement to a pious life, by revealing clearly a future existence in bliss, & that it was to be the reward of the virtuous.

The Epistles were written to persons already Christians. A person might be a Christian then before they were written. Consequently the fundamentals of Christianity were to be found in the preaching of our Saviour, which is related in the gospels. These fundamentals are to be found in the epistles dropped here & there, & promiscuously mixed with other truths. But these other truths are not to be made fundamentals. They serve for edification indeed & explaining to us matters in worship & morality, but being written occasionally it will readily be seen that their explanations are adapted to the notions & customs of the people they were written to. But yet every sentence in them (tho the writers were inspired) must not be taken up & made a fundamental, without assent to which a man is not to be admitted a member of the Christian church here, or to his kingdom hereafter. The Apostles creed was by them taken to contain all things necessary to salvation, & consequently to a communion.

Contrary to what Liberals, Democrats, popular culture & other would have you believe Jefferson, Washington, Franklin and others were far from deists or atheists (Click to enlarge)

Contrary to what Liberals, Democrats, popular culture & others would have you believe Jefferson, Washington, Franklin and others were far from deists or atheists (Click to enlarge)

Shaftesbury Character. As the Ancients tolerated visionaries & enthusiasts of all kinds so they permitted a free scope to philosophy as a balance. As the Pythagoreans & latter Platonists joined with the superstition of their times the Epicureans & Academics were allowed all the use of wit & raillery against it. Thus matters were balanced; reason had play & science flourished. These contrarieties produced harmony. Superstition & enthusiasm thus let alone never raged to bloodshed, persecution &c. But now a new sort of policy, which considers the future lives & happiness of men rather than the present, has taught to distress one another, & raised an antipathy which if temporal interest could ever do now uniformity of opinion, a hopeful project! is looked on as the only remedy agt. this evil & is made the very object of government itself. If magistracy had vouchsafed to interpose thus in other sciences, we should have as bad logic, mathematics & philosophy as we have divinity in countries where the law settles orthodoxy.

Suppose the state should take into head that there should be an uniformity of countenance. Men would be obliged to put an artificial bump or swelling here, a patch there &c. but this would be merely hypocritical, or if the alternative was given of wearing a mask, 99% must immediately mask. Would this add to the beauty of nature? Why otherwise in opinions? In the middle ages of Christianity opposition to the State opinions was hushed. The consequence was, Christianity became loaded with all the Romish follies. Nothing but free argument, raillery & even ridicule will preserve the purity of religion. 2 Cor. 1. 24. the apostles declare they had no dominion over the faith.

A heretic is an impugner of fundamentals. What are fundamentals? The protestants will say those doctrines which are clearly & precisely delivered in the holy Scriptures. Dr. Vaterland would say the Trinity. But how far this character of being clearly delivered will suit the doctrine of the trinity I leave others to determine. It is nowhere expressly declared by any of the earliest fathers, & was never affirmed or taught by the Church before the Council of Nice (Chillingas Pre/. § 18. 33.) Iranaeus says “who are the clean? those who go on firmly, believing in the Father & in the Son.” The fundamental doctrine or the firmness of the Christian faith in this early age then was to believe in the Father & Son. Constantine wrote to Arius & Alexander treating the question “as vain foolish & impertinent as a dispute of words without sense which none could explain nor any comprehend &c.’ This line is commended by Eusebius (Vit. Constant 1. r. c. 64 &c.) and Socrates (Hist. Eccles. 1. i. c. 7) as excellent admirable & full of wisdom. 2 Middleton. 115. remarks on the story of St. John & [illegible] ” Le saint concil (de Niece anno 630) ayant defini que le fils de dieu est de meme substance que son pere & qu’il est eternel comme lui, composa une Simbole (the Nicene creed) ou il explique la divinite du pere et du fils et qu’il finit par ces paroles ‘dont le regne n’aura point de fin.’car la doctrine que regarde le Saint Esprit ne fut ajoutee que dans la seconde concile tenu contre les erreurs de Macedoniens, ou ces questions furent agitees.” Zonaras par Coussin. Ann. 330. The second council meant by Zonaras was that of Constantinople ann. 381. D’hist. Prim. Christianity. pref. xxxvm. 2d app. to pref. 49. The Council of Antioch ann [ ] expressly affirms of our Saviour οὐϰ ἐστιν ὁμουσιοϛ that he was not consubstantial to the father. The Council of Nice affirmed the direct contrary. Dhist. Prim. Xty. Pref. cxxv.

Episcopy. Gr. ‘πρεσβύτης, presbítes. Lat. Episcopus. Ital. Vescovo. Fr. Evesque. Saxon, Byscop. Bishop (overseer). The epistles of Paul to Timothy & Titus are relied on (together with Tradition) for the Apostolic institution of bishops.

As to tradition, if we are protestants we reject all tradition, & rely on the scripture alone, for that is the essence & common principle of all the protestant churches.

As to Scripture. 1.Tim.3.2. ‘a bishop must be blameless &c. Eπιςκoπoς.’ v. 8. ‘likewise must the deacons be grave &c. Διακονος’ (ministros) c.5.v.6. he calls Timothy a ‘minister’ Διακονος’ c.4.v.14. ‘neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy with the laying on the hands of the presbytery, πρεςβυτεριον.’ c.5. ‘rebuke not an elder πρεςβντερω.’

5.17. ‘let the elders that rule well &c. πρεςβντεροι.’

[5.] 19. ‘against an elder (πρεςβντερον) receive nt. an accusan.’

5.22. ‘lay hands suddenly on no man χειρας επιτιΘει’

6.11. he calls Timothy ‘man of god ανΘρωπε τον Θεον.’

2.Tim.1.6. ‘stir up the gift of god which is in thee by the putting on of my hands επιΘεςεως των χειρων μον.’ but ante c.4. v.14. he said it was by the hands of the presbytery. This imposition of hands then was some ceremony or custom frequently repeated, & certainly is as good a proof that Timothy was ordained by the elders (& consequently that they might ordain) as that it was by Paul.

1.11. Paul calls himself ‘a preacher’ ‘an apostle’ ‘a teacher.’ ‘κηρνξ και αποςτολος και διδαςκαλος.’ here he designates himself by several synonims as he had before done Timothy. does this prove that every synonim authorizes a different order of ecclesiastics. 4.5. ‘do the work of an Evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry εργον ποιηςον εναγγελιςτον, την διακονιαν ςον πληροϕορηςον.’ Timothy then is called ‘επιςκοπος, διακονος, εναγγελιςτος. ανΘρωπος Θεον.’

4.11. he tells Tim. to bring Mark with him for ‘he is profitable to me for the ministry Διακονια’

Epistle to Titus 1.1. he calls himself ‘a servant of god δονλος Θεον.’ 1.5. ‘for this cause left I thee in Crete that thou shouldst set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain (καταςτηςης) elders in every city, as I had appointed thee. if any be blameless the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not accused of riot or unruly for a bishop must be blameless as the steward of god &c.’ here then it appears that as the elders appointed the bishops, so the bishops appointed the elders. i.e. they are synonims. again when telling Titus to appoint elders in every city he tells him what kind of men they must be, for said he a bishop must be &c. so that in the same sentence he calls elders bishops.

3.10: ‘a man that is an heretic after the first & second admonition, reject. αιρετικον.’

James.5.14. ‘is any sick among you? let him call for the elders (π ρεςβντερονς) of the church, & let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the lord.’

Another plea for Episcopal government in Religion in England is it’s similarity to the political government by a king. No bishop, no king. This then with us is a plea for government by a presbytery which resembles republican government.

The clergy have ever seen this. The bishops were always mere tools of the crown.

The Presbyterian spirit is known to be so congenial with friendly liberty, that the patriots after the restoration finding that the humour of people was running too strongly to exalt the prerogative of the crown promoted the dissenting interest as a check and balance, & thus was produced the Toleration Act.

St. Peter gave the title of clergy to all god’s people till Pope Higinus & ye succeeding prelates took it from them & appropriated it to priests only, 1 Milt. 230.

Origen, being yet a layman, expounded the scriptures publickly & was therein defended by Alexander of Jerusalem & Theoctistus of Caesarea producing in his behalf divers examples that the privilege of teaching was anciently permitted to laymen. the first Nicene council called on the assistance of many learned lay brethren. ib.230.

Bishops were elected by the hands of the whole church. Ignatius (the most ant’ of the extant fathers) writing to the Philadelphians says ‘ that it belongs to them as to the church of god to choose a bishop.’ Camden in his description of Scotland says ‘that over all the world bps had no certain diocese till pope Dionysius about the year 268 did cut them out, & that the bps of Scotland extended their function in what place soever they came, indifferently till temp Malcolm 3. 1070.’

Cyprian, epistle. 68. says ‘ the people chiefly hath power either of choosing worthy or refusing unworthy bps the council of Nice contrary to the African churches exhorts them to choose orthodox bishops in the place of the dead.’ 1 Milt. 254.

Nicephorus Phocas the Greek emperor Ann. 1000 first enacted that no bps should be chosen without his will. Ignatius in his epistle to those of Tra [mutilated] confesseth that the presbyters are his fellow-sellers & fellow henchers & Cyprian in the 6. 4. 52. epst. calls the presbyters, ‘his com-presbyters’ yet he was a bps.—A modern bps to be molded into a primitive one must be elected by the people, undiocest, unrevenued, unlorded. 1 Milt. 255. From the dissensions among sects themselves arises necessarily a right of choosing & necessity of deliberating to which we will conform, but if we choose for ourselves, we must allow others to choose also, & to reciprocally. This establishes religious liberty.

Why require those things in order to eccliastical communion which Christ does not require in order to life eternal? How can that be the church of Christ which excludes such persons from its communion as he will one day receive into the kingdom of heaven.

The arms of a religious society or church are exhortations, admonitions & advice, & ultimately expulsion or excommunication. This last is the utmost limit of power.

How far does the duty of toleration extend?

  1. No church is bound by the duty of toleration to retain within her bosom obstinate offenders against her laws.

2. We have no right to prejudice another in his civil enjoyments because he is of another church. If any man err from the right way, it is his own misfortune, no injury to thee; nor therefore art thou to punish him in the things of this life because thou supposeth he will be miserable in that which is to come—on the contrary according to the spirit of the gospel, charity, bounty, liberality is due to him.

Each church being free, no one can have jurisdiction over another one, not even when the civil magistrate joins it. It neither acquires the right of the sword by the magistrate’s coming to it, nor does it lose the rights of instruction or excommunication by his going from it. It cannot by the accession of any new member acquire jurisdiction over those who do not accede. He brings only himself, having no power to bring others. Suppose for instance two churches, one of Arminians another of Calvinists in Constantinople, has either any right over the other? Will it be said the orthodox one has? Every church is to itself orthodox ; to others erroneous or heretical.

No man complains of his neighbor for ill management of his affairs, for an error in sowing his land, or marrying his daughter, for consuming his substance in taverns, pulling down building &c in all these he has his liberty: but if he do not frequent the church, or there conform to ceremonies, there is an immediate uproar.

The care of every man’s soul belongs to himself. But what if he neglect the care of it? Well what if he neglect the care of his health or estate, which more nearly relate to the state. Will the magistrate make a law that he shall not be poor or sick? Laws provide against injury from others; but not from ourselves. God himself will not save men against their wills.

If I be marching on with my utmost vigour in that way which according to the sacred geography leads to Jerusalem straight, why am I beaten & ill used by others because my hair is not of the right cut; because I have not been dresseth right, because I eat flesh on the road, because I avoid certain by-ways which seem to lead into briars, because among several paths I take that which seems shortest & cleanest, because I avoid travellers less grave & keep company with others who are more sour & austere, or because I follow a guide crowned with a mitre & cloathed in white, yet these are the frivolous things which keep Christianity at war.

If the magistrate command me to bring my commodity to a publick store house I bring it because he can indemnify me if he erred & I thereby lose it; but what indemnification can he give one for the kingdom of heaven?

I cannot give up my guidance to the magistrates, because he knows no more of the way to heaven than I do, & is less concerned to direct me right than I am to go right. If the Jews had followed their Kings, among so many, what number would have led them to idolatry? Consider the vicissitudes among the Emperors, Arians, Athana &c. or among our princes. H. 8. E. 6. Mary. Elizabeth. Locke’s Works 2d vol.

Why persecute for difference in religious opinion?

1. For love to the person.

  1. Because of tendency of these opinions to dis[illegible].

1. When I see them persecute their nearest connection & acquaintance for gross vices, I shall believe it may proceed from love. Till they do this I appeal to their own consciences if they will examine, wh. ye do not find some other principle.

  1. Because of tendency. Why not then level persecution at the crimes you fear will be introduced? Burn or hang the adulterer, cheat &c. Or exclude them from offices. Strange should be so zealous against things which tend to produce immorality & yet so indulgent to the immorality when produced. These moral vices all men acknowledge to be diametrically against Christianity & obstructive of salvation of souls, but the fantastical points for which we generally persecute are often very questionable; as we may be assured by the very different conclusions of people. Our Savior chose not to propagate his religion by temporal punishments or civil incapacitation, if he had, it was in his almighty power. But he chose to extend it by its influence on reason, there by showing to others how they should proceed.

The commonwealth is ‘a Society of men constituted for protecting their civil interests.’

Civil interests are ‘ life, health, indolency of body, liberty and property.’ That the magistrate’s jurisdiction extends only to civil rights appears from these considerations.

  1. The magistrate has no power but what ye people gave.

The people have not given him the care of souls because ye could not, ye could not, because no man has right to abandon the care of his salvation to another.

No man has power to let another prescribe his faith. Faith is not faith without believing. No man can conform his faith to the dictates of another. The life & essence of religion consists in the internal persuasion or belief of the mind. External forms of worship, when against our belief are hypocrisy & impiety. Rom. 14. 23. “he that doubteth is damned, if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith, is sin?”

  1. If it be said the magistrate may make use of arguments & so draw the heterodox to truth, I answer, every man has a commission to admonish, exhort, convince another of error.

12. A church is ‘a voluntary society of men, joining themselves together of their own accord, in order to the public worshipping of god in such a manner as they judge acceptable to him & effectual to the salvation of their souls.’ It is voluntary because no man is by nature bound to any church. The hope of salvation is the cause of his entering into it. If he find anything wrong in it, he should be as free to go out as he was to come in.

13. What is the power of that church. As it is a society it must have some laws for its regulation. Time & place of meeting. Admitting & excluding members &c Must be regulated but as it was a spontaneous joining of members, it follows that it’s laws extend to its own members only, not to those of any other voluntary society, for then by the same rule some other voluntary society might usurp power over them. Christ has said ‘wheresoever 2 or 3 are gathered together in his name he will be in the midst of them.’ This is his definition of a society. He does not make it essential that a bishop or presbyter govern them. Without them it suffices for the salvation of souls.

Compulsion in religion is distinguished peculiarly from compulsion in every other thing. I may grow rich by art I am compelled to follow, I may recover health by medicines I am compelled to take against my own judgment, but I cannot be saved by a worship I disbelieve & abhor.

Whatsoever is lawful in the Commonwealth, or permitted to the subject in the ordinary way, cannot be forbidden to him for religious uses: & whatsoever is prejudicial to the Commonwealth in their ordinary uses & therefore prohibited by the laws, ought not to be permitted to churches in their sacred rites. For instance it is unlawful in the ordinary course of things or in a private house to murder a child. It should not be permitted any sect then to sacrifice children: it is ordinarily lawful (or temporarily lawful) to kill calves or lambs. They may therefore be religiously sacrificed, but if the good of the state required a temporary suspension of killing lambs, as during a siege, sacrifices of them may then be rightfully suspended also. This is the true extent of toleration.

Truth will do well enough if left to shift for herself. She seldom has received much aid from the power of great men to whom she is rarely known & seldom welcome. She has no need of force to procure entrance into the minds of men. Error indeed has often prevailed by the assistance of power or force. Truth is the proper & sufficient antagonist to error. If anything pass in a religious meeting seditiously and contrary to the public peace, let it be punished in the same manner & no otherwise than as if it had happened in a fair or market. These meetings ought not to be sanctuaries for faction & flagitiousness.

Locke denies toleration to those who entertain opinions contrary to those moral rules necessary for the preservation of society; as for instance, that faith is not to be kept with those of another persuasion, that Kings excommunicated forfeit their crowns, that dominion is founded in grace, or that obedience is due to some foreign prince, or who will not own & teach the duty of tolerating all men in matters of religion, or who deny the existence of a god (it was a great thing to go so far—as he himself says of the parliament, who framed the act of toleration but where he stopped short we may go on.) [A footnote by TJ follows, reading: “will not his own excellent rule be sufficient here too; to punish these as civil offences. e. gr. to assert that a foreign prince has power within this commonwealth is a misdemeanor. the other opinions. may be despised. Perhaps the single thing which may be required to others before toleration to them would be an oath that they would allow toleration to others.”]

He says ‘neither Pagan nor Mahomedan nor Jew ought to be excluded from the civil rights of the Commonwealth because of his religion.’ Shall we suffer a Pagan to deal with us and not suffer him to pray to his god? Why have Christians been distinguished above all people who have ever lived, for persecutions? Is it because it is the genius of their religion? No, it’s genius is the reverse. It is the refusing toleration to those of a different opinion which has produced all the bustles and wars on account of religion. It was the misfortune of mankind that during the darker centuries the Christian priests following their ambition and avarice combining with the magistrate to divide the spoils of the people, could establish the notion that schismatics might be ousted of their possessions & destroyed. This notion we have not yet cleared ourselves from. In this case no wonder the oppressed should rebel, & they will continue to rebel & raise disturbance until their civil rights are fully restored to them & all partial distinctions, exclusions & incapacitations removed.

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THOMAS JEFFERSON: VIRGINIA BILL FOR ESTABLISHING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

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Section I. Well aware that the opinions and belief of men depend not on their own will, but follow involuntarily the evidence proposed to their minds; that Almighty God hath created the mind free, and manifested His supreme will that free it shall remain by making it altogether insusceptible of restraint: that all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens, or by civil incapacitations, tend only to beget habits of hypocrisy and meanness, and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion, who being Lord both of body and mind, yet chose not to propagate it by coercions on either, as was in his Almighty power to do, but to exalt it by its influence on reason alone: that the impious presumption of legislature and ruler, civil as well as ecclesiastical, who, being themselves but fallible and uninspired men. have assumed dominion over the faith of others, setting up their own opinions and modes of thinking as the only true and infallible, and as such endeavoring to impose them on others, hath established and maintained false religions over the greatest part of the world, and through all time: That to compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical; that even the forcing him to support this or that teacher of his own religious persuasion, is depriving him of the comfortable liberty of giving his contributions to the particular pastor whose morals he would make his pattern, and whose powers he feels most persuasive to righteousness; and is withdrawing from the ministry those temporary rewards, which, proceeding from an approbation of their personal conduct, are an additional incitement to earnest and unremitting labors for the instruction of mankind, that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry; and therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to office of trust or emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injudiciously of those privileges and advantages to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right; that it tends also to corrupt the principles of that very religion it is meant to encourage, by bribing with a monopoly of worldly honors and emoluments, those who will externally profess and conform to it; that though indeed these are criminals who do not withstand such temptation, yet neither are those innocent who lay the bait in their way; that 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; that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order; and finally, that truth is great and will prevail if left to herself; that she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict unless, by human interposition, disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate; errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted freely to contradict them:

Sect, 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, or 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.

Sect. III. And though we well know that this Assembly, elected by the people for the ordinary purposes of legislation only, have no power to restrain the acts of succeeding Assemblies, constituted with powers equal to our own, and that, therefore, to declare this act to be irrevocable would be of no effect in law; yet we are free to declare, and do declare, that the rights hereby asserted are of the natural rights of mankind, and that if any act shall be hereafter parsed to repeal the present or to narrow its operations, such act will be an infringement of natural right.—Writings of Jefferson: Paul Ford Ed., ii, 237. (1786.)

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

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

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

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

DanielWebsterQuotesHistory

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,

Secretary.

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.”

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

Thomas_PaineQuoteIndependence

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

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

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

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

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

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

II. OF MONARCHY AND HEREDITARY SUCCESSION.

III. THOUGHTS ON THE PRESENT STATE OF AMERICAN AFFAIRS.

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

TO WHICH IS ADDED AN APPENDIX.

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

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

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

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

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

Thomas_PaineQuoteCommonSense1

COMMON SENSE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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OF MONARCHY AND HEREDITARY SUCCESSION.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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THOUGHTS ON THE PRESENT STATE OF THE AMERICAN AFFAIRS.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BritishShip1757

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

END OF COMMON SENSE.
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The Wonderful Love of the Father

FatherSonI recently joined a Bible Discussion group and someone asked a very profound question today in it, I must share, along with my response to it, because I think it would be of benefit to others.

Brother Pete (last name withheld so he doesn’t suffer the abuse I sometimes get for my beliefs and being public with them); he asked the following question:

“I’ve prayed many prayers and shed many tears. I’ve read some of these books in the bible until I thought the words were gonna fall off. Am I really willing to go where he leads? What if he wants to humble me, bruise me, crush me or rearrange my life? What if he chooses to tear down everything I thought I was?”

He added the following scripture as reference:

Isaiah 57:15 KJV
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

My response follows:

Speaking personally; the Lord Jesus spent at least four years deconstructing my life and showing me I wasn’t the person I thought I was. Since that time, He has spent it building me into the person He wants me to be. It can be rough at times, even with as much as I love Him, I do not always feel the love, I should always have for Him. In these times I stand on His promises and resolute in the fact, He is indeed making me into that vessel He wishes to use, and trust in His inestimable mercy and grace to continue to work in me, and through me to bring out that which is best, for I know He indeed knows what is best and knows how best to make me into that which pleases Him. For indeed! It pleases me to please Him, and I want to be the best me I can be!

The Lord can be a hard taskmaster, many times I see (in me) hate, rebellion, and many other completely undesirable qualities, rising up in me when He is working on me. Indeed, many times, my will gets in the way and I suffer for it. I would however, expect nothing less. God is my father, I expect Him to chastise me, correct me, and show me when I am wrong. It’s never pleasant in the sense that I like it. However as I said on my Facebook TL and Twitter TL just within the last week. “Even though the Lord chastises me and corrects me when I am wrong or I have done wrong, I rejoice, for I know He does so in righteousness

I rejoice because not only does it prove to me His righteousness, it also proves that everything else in His word is true, and there is nothing as Paul said; that can separate us from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus. Not how I feel, not how I think, not what I do. Even though I do not always have the right attitude or spirit when He is dealing with me. I know He does so, because He loves me and He knows I love Him and want my life to be what He chooses (again He knows best) and I do not believe that He expects me to always have the right spirit. Indeed; we are all born with that adamic spirit and nature. So I rest assured in the fact if I endure to the end, I will be saved.

Many times I see Him doing something or making me face something unpleasant to bring out those things that are undesirable in me, in order for me to see them and work on them. As David requested to be shown in him what was evil, so do I! I don’t ask for it to be easy, I ask for it to be complete, for I want to be completely saved.

So not only if I endure to the end of this life, and keep the faith, I also know that if I endure to the end His correction and chastisement when I am wrong, do wrong, or have something in me that is wrong, keeping that same faith. I know that He in the same spirit of a loving Father will comfort me, lift me up and help me when that correction and chastisement is finished. It is not just a matter of enduring through life, but enduring through each test, trial, and persecution.

That being said. The Lord is the most loving, complete, tender, merciful, gracious and beautiful love. He is unimaginably kind, good and uncondemning. He is beautiful in all His make-up. All I have to do to see His mercy is look at life and nature. To look at the things He created, and not see His love, is next to impossible for me. He is everything I have ever desired, He is everything I have ever needed, and He put up with many years of me denying Him, refusing Him, and persecuting Him. I cannot complain, for He has shown me more unwarranted love, mercy and kindness, than I have ever known in my life. He is indeed good and would never hurt us, it is only our disobedience and wills, that cause us not to be able to see, and feel that love at all times in our lives. As the song says, if we never had a problem, we wouldn’t know He can solve them.

He has taught me even to be careful of my words, for I will answer for every one of them. Even when joking around I must always be mindful of Him. That being said though, He is never too hard, He is never unkind, He is always loving, gentle, and conscious of our faults, infirmities, and weaknesses, and mindful of them when He corrects us, in anyway or anything. Indeed; His loving kindness has no end, and understanding this is key to being able to stand in the day of judgement. Jesus did not come into the world to condemn, but to save. We must be ever mindful of this, it says the way of the transgressor is hard therefore if I am suffering, it is because I am transgressing, and it is up to me to correct that, with His help, loving tenderness and kindness.

I must add that when the Lord is finished chastising me, and, I do not get it near as much as I deserve. Most of the time the Lord is overwhelming me with His love, which by the way I tend to see in everything. I see His love in His correction, in History, in every flower, creature, each one of His creations, in all things I see His love, tenderness and guiding hand. So do not think He is in anyway hard, it can just be hard on us at times, because of how we take it. Most of the time when I take it hard and fight against it, it is because my own misunderstanding of the work He is trying to do. Thus the statement I make that I want nothing more than to get me out of the way of the work, He is trying to do. The Lord never ceases to overwhelm me with His love in every aspect of my life!

Indeed! I see that love in our own nations founding documents:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold 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 new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Those words and that spirit were born and nourished in England and our fathers carried them to the ends of the earth. They’re our inheritance from the past, our legacy to the future! That’s why we’re here, to defend them, to the Glorification of He who inspired them, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

“What the ark was to Israel the ballot should be to the American people, and their love of liberty should act like a divine presence to palsy the hand that profanes it.” ~ Rev. R. A. Holland

The Bible can inspire you, lift you up, empower you, make you feel on top of the world. Yet, it can also condemn you, shame you, chastise you, reprove you, and correct you.

Thus Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Prophetic: Religion the only Basis of Society by William Ellery Channing

WilliamElleryChanningReligion the only Basis of Society by William E. Channing (1780–1842); grandson of William Ellery, (1727-1827) a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence

1. Religion is a social concern; for it operates powerfully on society, contributing, in various ways, to its stability and prosperity. Religion is not merely a private affair; the community is deeply interested in its diffusion;” for it is the best support of the virtues and principles, on which the social order rests. Pure and undefiled religion is, to do good; and it follows very plainly, that if God be the Author and Friend of society, then the recognition of him must enforce all social duty, and enlightened piety must give its whole strength to public order.

2. Few men suspect —perhaps no man comprehends —the extent of the support given by religion to every virtue. No man perhaps is aware, how much our moral and social sentiments are fed from this fountain,—how powerless conscience would become, without the belief of a God,—how palsied would be human benevolence, were there not the sense of a higher benevolence to quicken and sustain it,—how suddenly the whole social fabric would quake, and with what a fearful crash it would sink into hopeless ruin,—were the ideas of a supreme Being, of accountableness, and of a future life, to be utterly erased’ from every mind.

3. And, let men thoroughly believe that they are the work and sport of chance,—that no superior intelligence concerns itself with human affairs,—that the weak have no guardian and the injured no avenger,—that there is no recompense for sacrifices to uprightness and the public good,—that an oath is unheard in heaven,—that secret crimes have no witness but the perpetrator,”—that human existence has no purpose, and human virtue no unfailing friend,—that this brief life is everything to us, and death is total, everlasting extinction,— once let them thoroughly abandon religion,—and who can conceive or describe the extent of the desolation which would follow.

4. We hope, perhaps, that human laws and natural sympathy would hold society together. As reasonably might we believe, that were the sun quenched in the heavens, cur torches would illuminate, and our fires quicken and fertilize the creation. What is there in human nature to awaken respect and tenderness, if man is the unprotected insect of a day?— And what is he more if atheism be true?

5. Erase all thought and fear of God from a community, and selfishness and sensuality would absorb the whole man. Appetite, knowing no restraint, and suffering, having no solace or hope, would trample in scorn on the restraints of human laws. Virtue, duty, principle, would be mocked and spurned as unmeaning sounds. A sordid self-interest would supplant every other feeling ; and man would become in fact, what the theory of atheism declares him to be,—a companion for brutes.

Gain a Greater Understanding of History by Joseph Stevens Buckminster

JosephStevensBuckminster GilbertStuart

As I have said “History is not simply a record of man’s accomplishments. Even more, History is the story / record of God’s interaction with man. It is indeed His Story” ~ CJD

Gain a Greater Understanding of History; Value of Religious Faith by Joseph Stevens Buckminster (1784 – 1812)

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Having considered the objects, and the reasonableness of religious faith, it now remains to say something of its Importance. The value of religious faith principally results from two circumstances—from the fears it excites, and from the consolations it affords.

In the ordinary conduct of government, and to the well-being of society, some kind of faith is essential. Belief in the superintendence of invisible powers is not peculiar to religion. It is found in every man, who conscientiously submits to the government under which he lives; for how few of the subjects of any extensive empire have ever seen their rulers? Their authority, their edicts, their measures, nay, their very existence, are almost exclusively objects of faith. Suppose the assassin were to fear nothing but the instrument of punishment, or the thief were permitted to demand a strict demonstration of the authority of the officer who arrested him, think you society would long sustain the consequences of so great incredulity? Every man would become his own avenger, and we should revert to the barbarous independence of universal democracy. If, too, the sober part only of the community should require, that every law should be promulgated in their hearing, or that their rulers should constantly live under their ocular inspection, it is easy to foresee, that the affairs of human society would fall into the utmost confusion. We must, therefore, in the ordinary state of society, live, as seeing those that are invisible.

The fear, which faith awakens, is the foundation of the most necessary prudence. It is faith, which warns us of the invisible and approaching misfortunes, to which we are daily exposed; it is faith, which keeps up a continual, and sometimes painful interest in the dangers, which threaten the community. Without this we should rush as inconsiderately into the abode of foreign pestilence, as we now walk the streets of our own city; and be as unprepared for an approaching war, as for an impending earthquake. If we were to wait, till we could satisfy our own personal experience, in regard to some of the most common evils of life, we should find, that our ruin was accomplished, [before] the remedy was provided. The life of children is a continual exercise of faith. The prudence of parents is employed in foreseeing dangers, which the short-sightedness of the child must believe upon authority. Without filial confidence, which is only another name for faith, not one of the generations of men could hardly have reached the maturity of manhood; each successive race would profit nothing from the experience of its predecessors; and even if it were possible to continue the human species without a principle of faith, the world would have remained, to the present day, in a state of infantile ignorance, exposure and imbecility. What then! is it of so much importance, that the years of minority should be so carefully provided with this principle to secure it against the evils of present inexperience; and is it of none, that the full-grown understanding should be admonished of the alarming disclosures, which another world will make of a retributive power? Is it of no importance, that the conscience of the wicked should be awakened, before his senses tell him, that he is in anguish? Shall the narrow policy of civil government, and the feebleness of temporal punishments, be left to maintain, unsupported, the order of society? Is it of so much consequence, that, while he lives here, man should be aware of his mortality, and be provided against death, the inevitable and universal lot of mortal creatures; and of none, that he should suspect his immortality, and extend his views to the tribunal of his Judge? Shall man tremble so much at the thought of dying; and know nothing of the dread of punishment? Is it of no importance for the selfish man to know, that, by the interested pleasures in which he is absorbed, he is surely defeating his own aims, however successful they may have been? Shall the indolent, the luxurious, the dead in sensuality, the avaricious, the hard-hearted, go on accumulating wrath, and hardening their consciences by unbelief? Because we cannot be transported to the regions of future suffering, and witness the intensity of the torment, shall we rush, with all our sins upon our head, into that community of woe, and learn first by experience what we would not receive upon credit? Thank God! that such is the want, which individuals and society feel of a principle like this, that the imagination supplies it, where the reason cannot attain to undoubting conviction. Legislators have always invented something, like what revelation discloses; and the barbarous faith of the early ages has supplied, in almost every country, something, which has served the purposes of providence, till the cultivated mind was ready for the fullness of God’s communications.

In the second place, the value of faith may be estimated from the consolations it affords.

Who would look back upon the history of the world with the eye of incredulity, after having once read it with the eye of faith? To the man of faith it is the story of God’s operations. To the unbeliever it is only the record of the strange sports of a race of agents as uncontrolled as they are unaccountable. To the man of faith every portion of history is part of a vast plan, conceived ages ago in the mind of Omnipotence, which has been fitted precisely to the period it was intended to occupy. The whole series of events forms a magnificent and symmetrical fabric to the eye of pious contemplation; and, though the dome be in the clouds, and the top, from its loftiness, be indiscernible to mortal vision, yet the foundations are so deep and solid, that we are sure they are intended to support something permanent and grand. To the skeptic, all the events of all the ages of the world are but a scattered crowd of useless and indigested materials. In his mind all is darkness, all is incomprehensible. The light of prophecy illuminates not to him the obscurity of ancient annals. He sees in them neither design nor operation, neither tendencies nor conclusions. To him the wonderful knowledge of one people is just as interesting as the desperate ignorance of another. In the deliverance which God has sometimes wrought for the oppressed, he sees nothing but the fact; and in the oppression and decline of haughty empires, nothing but the common accidents of national fortune. Going about to account for events according to what he calls general laws, he never for a moment considers, that all laws, whether physical, political or moral, imply a legislator, and are contrived to serve some purpose. Because he cannot always, by his short-sighted vision, discover the tendencies of the mighty events of which this earth has been the theatre, he looks on the drama of existence around him as proceeding without a plan. Is that principle, then, of no importance, which raises man above what his eyes see or his ears hear at present, and show him the vast chain of human events, fastened eternally to the throne of God, and returning, after embracing the universe, again to link itself to the footstool of Omnipotence?

Would you know the value of this principle of faith to the bereaved? Go, and follow a corpse to the grave. See the body deposited there, and hear the earth thrown in upon all that remains of your friend. Return now, if you will, and brood over the lesson which your senses have given you, and derive from it what consolation you can. You have learned nothing but an unconsoling fact. No voice of comfort issues from the tomb. All is still there, and blank, and lifeless, and has been so for ages. You see nothing but bodies dissolving and successively mingling with the clods which cover them, the grass growing over the spot, and the trees waving in sullen majesty over this region of eternal silence. And what is there more? Nothing,—Come, Faith, and people these deserts! Come, and reanimate these regions of forgetfulness! Mothers! take again your children to your arms, for they are living. Sons! your aged parents are coming forth in the vigor of regenerated years. Friends! behold, your dearest connections are waiting to embrace you. The tombs are burst. Generations long since in slumbers are awakening. They are coming from the east and the west, from the north and from the south, to constitute the community of the blessed.

But it is not in the loss of friends alone, that faith furnishes consolations which are inestimable. With a man of faith not an affliction is lost, not a change is unimproved. He studies even his own history with pleasure, and finds it full of instruction. The dark passages of his life are illuminated with hope; and he sees, that although he has passed through many dreary defiles, yet they have opened at last into brighter regions of existence. He recalls, with a species of wondering gratitude, periods of his life, when all its events seemed to conspire against him. Hemmed in by straitened circumstances, wearied with repeated blows of unexpected misfortunes, and exhausted with the painful anticipation of more, he recollects years, when the ordinary love of life could not have retained him in the world. Many a time he might have wished to lay down his being in disgust, had not something more than the senses provide us with, kept up the elasticity of his mind. He yet lives, and has found that light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart. The man of faith discovers some gracious purpose in every combination of circumstances. Wherever he finds himself, he knows that he has a destination—he has, therefore, a duty. Every event has, in his eye, a tendency and an aim. Nothing is accidental, nothing without purpose, nothing unattended with benevolent consequences. Everything on earth is probationary, nothing ultimate. He is poor—perhaps his plans have been defeated—he finds it difficult to provide for the exigencies of life—sickness is permitted to invade the quiet of his household—long confinement imprisons his activity, and cuts short the exertions on which so many depend—something apparently unlucky mars his best plans —new failures and embarrassments among his friends present themselves, and throw additional obstruction in his way—the world looks on and says, all these things are against him. Some wait coolly for the hour when he shall sink under the complicated embarrassments of his cruel fortune. Others, of a kinder spirit, regard him with compassion, and wonder how he can sustain such a variety of woe. A few there are, a very few, I fear, who can understand something of the serenity of his mind, and comprehend something of the nature of his fortitude. There are those, whose sympathetic piety can read and interpret the characters of resignation on his brow. There are those, in fine, who have felt the influence of faith.

In this influence there is nothing mysterious, nothing romantic, nothing of which the highest reason may be ashamed. It shows the Christian his God, in all the mild majesty of his parental character. It shows you God, disposing in still and benevolent wisdom the events of every individual’s life, pressing the pious spirit with the weight of calamity to increase the elasticity of the mind, producing characters of unexpected worth by unexpected misfortune, invigorating certain virtues by peculiar probations, thus breaking the fetters which bind us to temporal things, and

“From seeming evil still educing good,
And better thence again, and better still,
In infinite progression.”

When the sun of the believer’s hopes, according to common calculations, is set, to the eye of faith it is still visible. When much of the rest of the world is in darkness, the high ground of faith is illuminated with the brightness of religious consolation.

Come now, my incredulous friends, and follow me to the bed of the dying believer. Would you see in what peace a Christian can die? Watch the last gleams of thought which stream from his dying eyes. Do you see anything like apprehension? The world, it is true, begins to shut in. The shadows of evening collect around his senses. A dark mist thickens, and rests upon the objects which have hitherto engaged his observation. The countenances of his friends become more and more indistinct. The sweet expressions of love and friendship are no longer intelligible. His ear wakes no more at the well-known voice of his children, and the soothing accents of tender affection die away unheard, upon his decaying senses. To him the spectacle of human life is drawing to its close, and the curtain is descending, which shuts out this earth, its actors, and its scenes. He is no longer interested in all that is done under the sun. O! that I could now open to you the recesses of his soul; that I could reveal to you the light, which darts into the chambers of his understanding. He approaches that world which he has so long seen in faith. The imagination now collects its diminished strength, and the eye of faith opens wide. Friends! do not stand, thus fixed in sorrow, around this bed of death. Why are you so still and silent? Fear not to move—you cannot disturb the last visions which enchant this holy spirit. Your lamentations break not in upon the songs of seraphs, which enwrap his hearing in ecstasy. Crowd, if you choose, around his couch—he heeds you not—already he sees the spirits of the just advancing together to receive a kindred soul. Press him not with importunities; urge him not with alleviations. Think you he wants now these tones of mortal voices—these material, these gross consolations’ No! He is going to add another to the myriads of the just, that are every moment crowding into the portals of heaven! He is entering on a nobler life. He leaves you—he leaves you, weeping children of mortality, to grope about a little longer among the miseries and sensualities of a worldly life. Already he cries to you from the regions of bliss. Will you not join him there? Will you not taste the sublime joys of faith? There are your predecessors in virtue; there, too, are places left for your contemporaries. There are seats for you in the assembly of the just made perfect, in the innumerable company of angels, where is Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant, and God, the judge of all.

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

RichardPriceAmerica

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

G E N. 18: 32.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perhaps we are, in general, too much disposed always to think the present times the worst. I am, probably, my