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us, with a truly wise generosity and charity, banish and discourage all illiberal distinctions which may arise from differences in situation, forms of government, or modes of religion. Let us consider ourselves as men -freemen-Christian freemen-separated from the rest of the world and firmly bound together by the same rights, interests and dangers. Let these keep our attention inflexibly fixed on the great objects which we must continually regard in order to preserve those rights, to promote those interests, and to avert those dangers.
Let these truths be indelibly impressed on our minds-that we cannot be happy without being free-that we cannot be free without being secure in our property-that we cannot be secure in our property, if, without our consent others may, as by right, take it away-that taxes imposed on us by parliament do thus take it away-that duties laid for the sole purpose of raising money are taxes-that attempts to lay such duties should be instantly and firmly opposed-that this opposition can never be effectual unless it is the united effort of these provinces-that therefore benev olence of temper towards each other and unanimity of counsels are essential to the welfare of the whole-and lastly, that for this reason every man amongst us who in any manner would encourage either dissension, diffidence, or indifference between these colonies, is an enemy to himself, and to his country.
OF THE RIGHT TO FREEDOM; AND OF TRAITORS.
[From the Sume.]
KINGS or parliaments could not give the rights essential to happi
ness, as you confess those invaded by the Stamp Act to be. We claim them from a higher source-from the King of kings, and Lord of all the earth. They are not annexed to us by parchments and seals. They are created in us by the decrees of Providence which establish the laws of our nature. They are born with us; exist with us; and cannot be taken from us by any human power, without taking our lives. In short, they are founded on the immutable maxims of reason and justice. It would be an insult on the divine Majesty to say, that he has given or allowed any man or body of men a right to make me miserable. If no man or body of men has such a right, I have a right to be happy. If there can be no happiness without freedom, I have a right to be free. If I cannot enjoy freedom without security of property, I have a right to be thus secured. If my property cannot be secure, in case others over whom I have no kind of influence may take it from me by taxes under pretence of the public good, and, for enforcing their demands, may subject me to arbitrary, expensive, and remote jurisdictions, I have an exclusive right
to lay taxes on my own property either by myself or those I can trust; of necessity to judge in such instances of the public good; and to be exempt from such jurisdictions.
Every man must remember, how, immediately after the tempest of the late war was laid, another storm began to gather over North America. Every wind that blew across the Atlantic brought with it additional darkness. Every act of the administration seemed calculated to produce distress and to excite terror. We were alarmed-we were afflicted.
Many of our colonies sent home petitions; others ordered their agents to make proper applications on their behalf. What was the effect? They were rejected without reading. They could not be presented, "without breaking through a rule of the house." They insisted upon a right, that, it "was previously determined should not be admitted." The language of the ministry was "that they would teach the insolent North Americans the respect due to the laws of their mother country." They moved for a resolution "that the parliament could legally tax us." It was made. For a bill; it was framed. For its despatch; it was passed. The badges of our shame were prepared, too gross, too odious-even in the opinion of that administration-to be fastened upon us by any but Americans. Strange delusion! to imagine that treachery could reconcile us to slavery. They looked around; they found Americans-O Virtue! they found Americans to whom the confidence of their country had committed the guardianship of her rights-on whom her bounty had bestowed all the wreck of her fortunes could afford-ready to rivet on their native land, the nurse of their infancy, the protectrix of their youth, the honorer of their manhood, the fatal fetters which their information had helped to forge. They were to be gratified with part of the plunder in oppressive offices for themselves and their creatures. By these, that they might reap the rewards of their corruption, were we advised-by these, that they might return masters who went out servants, were we desired—to put on the chains, and then with shackled hands to drudge in the dark, as well as we could, forgetting the light we had lost. "If I forget thee, let my right hand forget her cunning—if I do not remember thee, may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth."
A DUTY TO POSTERITY.
[From the Same.]
ONOR, justice and humanity call upon us to hold and to transmit to our posterity, that liberty, which we received from our ancestors. It is not our duty to leave wealth to our children; but it is our duty to leave liberty to them. No infamy, iniquity, or cruelty can exceed our
own if we, born and educated in a country of freedom, entitled to its blessings and knowing their value, pusillanimously deserting the post assigned us by Divine Providence, surrender succeeding generations to a condition of wretchedness from which no human efforts, in all probability, will be sufficient to extricate them; the experience of all states mournfully demonstrating to us that when arbitrary power has been established over them, even the wisest and bravest nations that ever flourished have, in a few years, degenerated into abject and wretched vassals.
THE DECLARATION OF THE REPRESENTATIVES IN 1775.
UR forefathers, inhabitants of the island of Great Britain, left their native land, to seek on these shores a residence for civil and religious freedom. At the expense of their blood, at the hazard of their fortunes, without the least charge to the country from which they removed, by unceasing labor and an unconquerable spirit they effected settlements in the distant and inhospitable wilds of America, then filled with numerous and warlike nations of barbarians. Societies or governments vested with perfect legislatures were formed under charters from the crown, and an harmonious intercourse was established between the colonies and the kingdom from which they derived their origin. The mutual benefits of this union became in a short time so extraordinary, as to excite astonishment. It is universally confessed, that the amazing increase of the wealth, strength, and navigation of the realm, arose from this source; and the minister who so wisely and successfully directed the measures of Great Britain in the late war, publicly declared that these colonies enabled her to triumph over her enemies. Towards the conclusion of that war, it pleased our sovereign to make a change in his counsels. From that fatal moment the affairs of the British Empire began to fall into confusion, and gradually sliding from the summit of glorious prosperity to which they had been advanced by the virtues and abilities of one man, are at length distracted by the convulsions that now shake it to its deepest foundations. The new ministry, finding the brave foes of Britain though frequently defeated yet still contending, took up the unfortunate idea of granting them a hasty peace, and of then subduing her faithful friends.
These devoted colonies were judged to be in such a state, as to present victories without bloodshed, and all the easy emoluments of statutable plunder. The uninterrupted tenor of their peaceable and respectful behavior from the beginning of colonization, their dutiful, zealous, and
useful services during the war, though so recently and amply acknowledged in the most honorable manner by his majesty, by the late king, and by parliament, could not save them from the meditated innovations. Parliament was influenced to adopt the pernicious project, and assuming a new power over them, have in the course of eleven years given such decisive specimens of the spirit and consequences attending this power, as to leave no doubt concerning the effects of acquiescence under it. They have undertaken to give and grant our money without our consent, though we have ever exercised an exclusive right to dispose of our own property; statutes have been passed for extending the jurisdiction of courts of admiralty and vice admiralty beyond their ancient limits; for depriving us of the accustomed and inestimable privilege of trial by jury in cases affecting both life and property; for suspending the legislature of one of the colonies; for interdicting all commerce to the capital of another; and for altering fundamentally the form of government established by charter, and secured by acts of its own legislature solemnly confirmed by the crown; for exempting the murderers of colonists from legal trial, and in effect, from punishment; for erecting in a neighboring province, acquired by the joint arms of Great Britain and America, a despotism dangerous to our very existence; and for quartering soldiers upon the colonists in time of profound peace. It has also been resolved in parliament, that colonists charged with committing certain offences, shall be transported to England to be tried.
But why should we enumerate our injuries in detail? By one statute it is declared, that parliament can "of right make laws to bind us in all cases whatsoever." What is to defend us against so enormous, so unlimited a power? Not a single man of those who assume it is chosen by us; or is subject to our control or influence; but on the contrary, they are all of them exempt from the operation of such laws, and an American revenue, if not diverted from the ostensible purposes for which it is raised, would actually lighten their own burdens in proportion as they increase ours. We saw the misery to which such despotism would reduce us. We for ten years incessantly and ineffectually besieged the throne. as supplicants; we reasoned, we remonstrated with parliament in the most mild and decent language.
Administration, sensible that we should regard these oppressive measures as freemen ought to do, sent over fleets and armies to enforce them. The indignation of the Americans was roused, it is true; but it was the indignation of a virtuous, loyal, and affectionate people. A Congress of delegates from the United Colonies was assembled at Philadelphia, on the fifth day of last September. We resolved again to offer an humble and dutiful petition to the king, and also addressed our fellow-subjects of Great Britain. We have pursued every temperate, every respectful
measure; we have even proceeded to break off cur commercial intercourse with our fellow-subjects as the last peaceable admonition that our attachment to no nation upon earth should supplant our attachment to liberty. This, we flattered ourselves, was the ultimate step of the controversy: but subsequent events have shown how vain was this hope of finding moderation in our enemies.
In brief, a part of these colonies now feel, and all of them are sure of feeling, as far as the vengeance of administration can inflict them, the complicated calamities of fire, sword and famine. We are reduced to the alternative of choosing an unconditional submission to the tyranny of irritated ministers, or resistance by force.-The latter is our choice. We have counted the cost of this contest, and find nothing so dreadful as voluntary slavery. Honor, justice and humanity forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them, if we basely entail hereditary bondage upon them. Our cause is just. Our union is perfect. Our internal resources are great, and, if necessary, foreign assistance is undoubtedly attainable. We gratefully acknowledge, as signal instances of the Divine favor toward us, that his providence would not permit us to be called into this severe controversy until we were grown up to our present strength, had been previously exercised in warlike operations, and possessed the means of defending ourselves. With hearts fortified by these animating reflections, we most solemnly, before God and the world, declare that, exerting the utmost energy of those powers which our beneficent Creator hath graciously be stowed upon us, the arms we have been compelled by our enemies to assume, we will in defiance of every hazard, with unabating firmness and perseverance, employ for the preservation of our liberties; being with one mind resolved to die freemen rather than to live slaves.
BORN in England, 1750. DIED in New York, N. Y., 1809.
[The Loyal Verses of Joseph Stansbury and Doctor Jonathan Odell. Now first edited by Winthrop Sargent. 1860.]
I'VE heard in old times that a sage used to say
The seasons were nothing-December or May
The heat or the cold never entered his plan;