Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

our refusal to submit to unwarrantable acts of injustice and cruelty? If

show us a period in your history in which you have not been equaliy seditious. We are accused of aiming at independence; but how is this accusation supported ? By the allegations of your ministers--not by our actions. Abused, insulted, and contemned, what steps have we pursued to obtain redress? We have carried our dutiful petitions to the throne. We have applied to your justice for relief. We have retrenched our luxury, and withheld our trade.

The great bulwarks of our constitution we have desired to maintain by every temperate, by every peaceable means; but your ministers (equal foes to British and American freedom) have added to their former oppressions an attempt to reduce us, by the sword, to a base and abject submission. On the sword, therefore, we are compelled to rely for protection. Should victory declare in your favor, yet men trained to arms from their infancy, and animated: by the love of liberty, will afford neither a cheap nor easy conquest. Of this, at least, we are assured, that our struggle will be glorious, our success certain; since even in death we shall find that freedom which in life you forbid us to enjoy.

Let us now ask, What advantages are to attend our reduction? The trade of a ruined and desolate country is always inconsiderable, its revenue trifling; the expense of subjecting and retaining it in subjection, certain and inevitable. What then remains but the gratification of an ill-judged pride, or the hope of rendering us subservient to designs on your liberty ?

Soldiers who have sheathed their swords in the bowels of their American brethren, will not draw them with more reluctance against you. When too late, you may lament the loss of that freedom which we exhort you, while still in your power, to preserve.

On the other hand, should you prove unsuccessful; should that connection which we most ardently wish to maintain, be dissolved; should your ministers exhaust your treasures, and waste the blood of your countrymen in vain attempts on our liberty, do they not deliver you, weak and defenceless, to your natural enemies?

Since, then, your liberty must be the price of your victories, your ruin of your defeat-what blind fatality can urge you to a pursuit destructive of all that Britons hold dear?

If you have no regard to the connection which has for ages subsisted between us; if you have forgot the wounds we have received fighting by your side for the extension of the empire; if our commerce is not an object below your consideration; if justice and humanity have lost their influence on your hearts, still motives are not wanting to excite your indignation at the measures now pursued. Your wealth, your honor, your liberty are at stake.

[graphic]

"STRATFORD HOUSE," THE LEE FAMILY SEAT, WESTMORELAND (0., VA.

Notwithstanding the distress to which we are reduced, we sometimes forget our own afflictions, to anticipate and sympathize in yours. We grieve that rash and inconsiderate counsels should precipitate the destruction of an empire, which has been the envy and admiration of ages; and call God to witness! that we would part with our property, endanger our lives, and sacrifice everything but liberty, to redeem you from ruin.

A cloud hangs over your heads and ours: ere this reaches you, it may probably burst upon us; let us, then (before the remembrance of former kindness is obliterated) once more repeat those appellations which are ever grateful in our ears; let us entreat Heaven to avert our ruin, and the destruction that threatens our friends, brethren, and countrymen on the other side of the Atlantic,

Benjamin Church.

BORN in Newport, R. I., 1734. Lost at sea, 1776.

TO THE HEIRS OF THE PILGRIMS.

[The T'imes : a Poem, by an American, 1765.]

FA
AIR liberty, our soul's most darling prize,

A bleeding victim flits before our eyes :
Was it for this our great forefathers rode
O'er a vast ocean to this bleak abode !
When iberty was into contest brought,
And loss of life was but a second thought ;
By pious violence rejected thence,
To try the utmost stretch of providence ;
The deep, unconscious of the furrowing keel,
Essayed the tempest to rebuke their zeal ;
The tawny natives and inclement sky
Put on their terrors, and command to fly ;
They mock at danger ; what can those appall ?
To whom fair liberty is all in all.
See the new world their purchase, blest domain,
Where lordly tyrants never forged the chain ;
The prize of valor, and the gift of prayer,
Hear this and redden, each degenerate heir !
Is it for you their honor to betray,
And give the harvest of their blood away?
Look back with reverence, awed to just esteem,
Preserve the blessings handed down from them ;
If not, look forward, look with deep despair,
And dread the curses of your beggared heir ;
What bosom beats not, when such themes excite ?
Be men, be gods, be stubborn in the right.

John Adams.

BORN In Braintree, Mass., 1735. Dies at Quincy, Mass., 1828.

CHARACTERISTIC ENTRIES IN HIS DIARY.

[The Works of John Adams. Edited by his Grandson, Charles Francis Adams. 1858.]

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

G C

OOD-sense will make us remember that others have as good a right

to think for themselves, and to speak their own opinions, as we have; that another man's making a silly speech does not warrant my ill-nature and pride in grasping the opportunity to ridicule him and show my wit, a puffy, vain, conceited conversation never fails to bring a man into contempt, although his natural endowments be ever so great, and his application and industry ever so intense; no accomplishments, no virtues, are a sufficient atonement for vanity and a haughty overbearing temper in conversation; and such is the humor of the world, the greater a man's parts, and the nobler his virtues in other respects, the more derision and ridicule does this one vice and folly throw him into. Good-sense is generally attended with a very lively sense and delight in applause; the love of fame in such men is generally much stronger than in other people, and this passion, it must be confessed, is apt to betray men into impertinent exertions of their talents, sometimes into censorious remarks upon others, often into little meannesses to sound the opinions of others, and, oftenest of all, into a childish affectation of wit and gayety. I must own myself to have been, to a very heinous degree, guilty in this respect; when in company with persons much superior to myself in years and place, I have talked to show my learning; I have been too bold with great men, which boldness will, no doubt, be called self-conceit; I have made ill-natured remarks upon the intellectuals, manners, practice, etc., of other people; I have foolishly aimed at wit and spirit, at making a shining figure in gay company; but, instead of shining brighter, I only clouded the few rays that before rendered me visible. Such has been my unhappy fate. I now resolve, for the future, never to say an ill-natured thing concerning ministers or the ministerial profession; never to say an envious thing concerning governors, judges, ministers, clerks, sheriffs, lawyers, or any other honorable or lucrative offices or officers; never to affect wit upon laced waistcoats, or large estates, or their possessors; never to show my own importance or superiority by remarking the foibles, vices, or inferiority of others. But I now resolve, as far as lies in me, to take notice chiefly of the amiable

[merged small][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »