« FöregåendeFortsätt »
My lords, this awful subject, so important to our honor, our constitution, and our religion, demands the most solemn and effectual inquiry. And I again call upon your lordships, and the united powers of the state, to examine it thoroughly and decisively, and to stamp upon it an indelible stigma of the public abhorrence. And I again implore those holy prelates of our religion, to do away these iniquities from among us. Let them perform a lustration ; let them purify the house, and the country, from this deadly sin.
My lords, I am old and weak, and at present unable to say more; but my feelings and indignation were too strong to have said less. I could not have slept this night in my bed, nor reposed my head on my pillow, without giving this vent to my eternal abhorrence of such preposterous and enormous principles.
EXTRACT FROM GEN. WASHINGTON'S ADDRESS TO THE
AMERICAN ARMY, ON AN INSIDIOUS ATTEMPT TO SEDUCE THEM FROM THEIR ALLEGIANCE TO THEIR COUNTRY, IN 1783.
Gentlemen-If my conduct heretofore has not evinced to you that I have been a faithful friend to the army, my declaration of it at this time would be equally unavailing and improper. But as I was among the first who embarked in the cause of our common country, as I have never left your side one moment but when called from you on public duty; as I have been the constant companion and witness of your distresses, and not among the last to feel and acknowledge your merits ; as I have ever considered my own military reputation as inseparably connected with that of the army; and my heart has ever expanded with joy, when I heard its praises, and my indignation has risen, when the mouth of detraction has been opened against it--it can scarcely be supposed, at this last stage of the war, that I am indifferent to its interests.
With respect to the advice given by the author, to suspect the man who shall recommend moderation and longer forbearance, I SPURN it, as every man, who regards that liberty, and reveres the justice for which we contend, undoubtedly must; for, if a man is to be precluded from offering his sentiments on a matter which may involve the destiny of our country, reason is of no use to us. I cannot, in justice to my own belief, conclude this address, without giving it as my decided opinion, that Congress entertain exalted sentiments of the services of the army, and, from a full conviction of its merits and sufferings, will do it complete justice : that their endeavors to discover and establish funds, have been unwearied, and that they will never cease till they have succeeded.
Why should we distrust them? And why, in consequence of that distrust, adopt measures which will cast a shade over that glory which has been so justly acquired, and tarnish the reputation of an army which has been celebrated throughout all Europe, for its fortitude and patriotism? While I pledge myself in the most unequivocal manner to exert whatever ability I am possessed of in your favor, let me intreat you, gentlemen, on your part, not to take any measures, which, viewed in the calm light of reason, will lesson the dignity and sully the glory you have hitherto maintained. Let me request you to rely on the plighted faith of your country,—to place a full confidence in the purity of the intentions of Congress
—and to assure yourselves that they will adopt the most effectual measures in their power to render ample justice to you, for your faithful and meritorious services. By thus determining, and thus acting, you will pursue the plain and direct road to the attainment of your wishes : you will give one more proof of unexampled patriotism and patient virtue, rising superior to the pressure of the most complicated sufferings; and you will, by the dignity
of your conduct, afford occasion for posterity to say, when speaking of the glorious example you have exhibited to mankind, “ had this day been wanting, the world had never seen the last stage of perfection to which human nature is capable of attaining.”
SPEECH OF MR. JAMES otis. ENGLAND may as well dam up the waters of the Nile with bulrushes, as to fetter the step of freedom, more proud and firm in this youthful land, than where she treads the sequestered glens of Scotland, or couches herself among the magnificent mountains of Switzerland. Arbitrary principles, like those against which we now contend, have cost one king of England his life, another his crown—and they may yet cost a third his most fourishing colonies.
We are two millions—one fifth fighting men. We are bold and vigorous—and we call no man master. To the nation, from whom we are proud to derive our origin, we ever were, and we ever will be, ready to yield unforced assistance; but it must not, and it never can be extorted.
Some have sneeringly asked, “ Are the Americans too poor to pay a few pounds on stamped paper ?” No! America, thanks to God and herself, is rich. But the right to take ten pounds, implies the right to take a thousand ; and what must be the wealth, that avarice, aided by power, cannot exhaust? True the spectre is now small; but the shadow he casts before him, is huge enough to darken all this fair land. Others, in sentimental style, talk of the immense debt of gratitude, which we owe to England. And what is the amount of this debt? Why, truly, it is the same that the young lion owes to the dam, which has brought it forth on the solitude of the mountain, or left it amid the winds and storms of the desert. We plunged into the wave, with the great charter of freedom in our teeth, because the faggot and torch were behind us. We have waked this new world from its savage lethargy; forests have been prostrated in our path ; towns and cities have grown up suddenly as the flowers of the tropics, and the fires in our autumnal woods are scarcely more rapid, than the increase of our wealth and population. “And do we owe all this to the kind succor of the mother country? No! we owe it to the tyranny that drove us from her—to the pelting storms, which invigorated our helpless infancy.
But perhaps others will say “ We ask no money from your gratitude-we only demand that you should pay your own expenses.” And who I pray, is to judge of their necessity? Why, the King-(and with all due reverence to his sacred majesty, he understands the real wants of his distant subjects, as little as he does the language of the Choctaws.) Who is to judge concerning the frequency of these demands? The ministry. Who is to judge whether the money is properly expended ? The cabinet behind the throne. In every instance, those who take, are to judge for those who pay; if this system is suffered to go into operation, we shall have reason to esteem it a great privilege, that rain and dew do not depend upon parliament; otherwise they would soon be taxed and dried.
But thanks to God, there is freedom enough left upon earth to resist such monstrous injustice. The flame of liberty is extinguished in Greece and Rome, but the light of its glowing embers is still bright and strong on the shores of America. Actuated by its sacred influence, we will resist unto death. But we will not countenance anarchy and misrule. The wrongs, that a desperate community have heaped upon their enemies, shall be amply and speedily repaired. Still, it may be well for some proud men to remember, that a fire is lighted in these colonies, which one breath of their king may kindle into such fury that the blood of all England cannot exLinguish it.
EXTRACT FROM AN APPEAL TO THE IRISH PARLIAMENT
TO EMANCIPATE THE PEOPLE FROM A DEPENDENCE ON ENGLAND.-Grattan,
I have intreated an attendance of the house on this day, to protest against the usurpations of the parliament of Great Britain, and to join with me in lifting up their hands and voices against such usurpations. Two millions of people out of doors were to be satisfied, and had I a son, I would, (like the father of Hannibal,) bring him to the altar to swear the sacred maintenance of the people's rights. I would move them to as full and ample a declaration as could be done without shaking the pillars of the state. It is impossible to stop the voice of millions -the public mind was not at ease-enough was not done.—You are the guardians of the public liberty, you owe your country that liberty, and she calls upon you to restore it-she calls upon you to make Great Britain revoke the injustice of her laws, and to restore your political as she has your commercial freedom.
In passing the bills for liberating your trade, the British minister has made use of the words, that it was expedient to allow Ireland to export her own products. ExPEDIENT is a word of great reserve. EXPEDIENT is a word fatal to Great Britain. By such a word she lost America, and plunged her country in scenes of blood. By this reservation your trade is in the power of England, whenever she may think proper to take it away. We have been allowed a moment of satisfaction, but not a relief from slavery. God has now afforded you an opportunity to emancipate yourselves and your posterity ; wait not the issue of a general peace, when the direction of her power on this fated island may again lay you in bondage. For the honor of your country—for the honor of human nature—by the memory of your sufferingsby the sense you feel of your wrongs—by the love you owe your posterity—by the dignity and generous feelings