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A spirit of equal liberty appears fast to be gaining ground every where; which must afford satisfaction to every friend of mankind.

If we mean to support the liberty and independence, which it has cost as so much blood and treasure to establish, we must drive far away the demon of party spirit and local reproach.

Should the conduct of the Americans, whilst promoting their own happiness, influence the feelings of other nations, and thereby render a service to mankind, they will receive a double pleasure.

Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of our hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary, to fortify or confirm the attachment.

None of them* will ever submit to the loss of those valuable rights and privileges, which are essential to the happiness of every free State, without which, life, liberty, and property are rendered totally insecure.

In a government as free as ours, where the people are at liberty, and will express their sentiments, (oftentimes imprudently, and, for want of information, sometimes unjustly,) allowances must be made for occa

*The Colonies.

sional effervescences; but, after the declaration which I have made of my political creed, you can run no hazard in asserting, that the Executive branch of this government never has suffered, nor will suffer while I preside, any improper conduct of its officers to escape with impunity, nor give its sanction to any disorderly proceedings of its citizens.


If historiographers should be hardy enough, to fill the page of history with the advantages that have been gained, with unequal numbers, on the part of America in the course of this contest, and attempt to relate the distressing circumstances under which they have been obtained, it is more than probable, that posterity will bestow on their labors the epithet and marks of fiction ; for it will not be believed, that such a force as Great Britain has employed, for eight years, in this country, could be baffled in their plan of subjugating it, by numbers infinitely less, composed of men oftentimes half starved, always in rags, without pay, and experiencing, at times, every species of distress which human nature is capable of undergoing.


Great Britain thought, she was only to hold up the rod, and all would be hushed.

When we consider the magnitude of the prize we contended for, the doubtful nature of the contest, and the favorable manner in which it has terminated, we shall find the greatest possible reason for gratitude and rejoicing.

This is a theme that will afford infinite delight to every benevolent and liberal mind, whether the event in contemplation be considered as the source of present enjoyment, or the parent of future happiness; and we shall have equal occasion to felicitate ourselves, on the lot which Providence has assigned us, whether we view it in a natural, a political, or a moral point of light.

The rights of mankind, the privileges of the people, and the true principles of liberty, seem to have been more generally discussed, and better understood, throughout Europe, since the American Revolution, than they were at any former period.


The value of liberty was enhanced in our estimation, by the difficulty of its attainment, and the worth of character appreciated by the trial of adversity. The tempest of war having at length been succeeded by the sunshine of peace, our citizen-soldiers impressed a useful lesson of patriotism on mankind, by nobly re

turning, with impaired constitutions and unsatisfied claims, after such long sufferings and severe disappointments, to their former occupations. Posterity, as well as the present age, will doubtless regard, with admiration and gratitude, the patience, perseverance and valor, which achieved our Revolution. They will cherish the remembrance of virtues which had but few parallels in former times, and which will add new lustre to the most splendid page of history.

I concur with the legislature in repeating, with pride and joy, what will be an everlasting honor to our country, that our Revolution was so distinguished for moderation, virtue, and humanity, as to merit the eulogium they have pronounced, of its being unsullied with a crime.


Great Britain understood herself perfectly well, in this dispute, but did not comprehend America.

She meant, as Lord Camden clearly and explicitly declared, to drive America into rebellion, that her own purposes might be more fully answered by it. But take this along with it, that this plan originated in a firm belief, founded on misinformation, that no effectual opposition would or could be made. They

* 1777.

little dreamt of what has happened, and are disappointed in their views.

Does not every act of Administration, from the Tea Act to the present session of Parliament, declare this, in plain and self-evident characters? Had the Commissioners any powers to treat with America? If they meant peace, would Lord Howe have been detained in England five months after passing the act? Would the powers of these Commissioners have been confined to mere acts of grace, upon condition of absolute submission? No! surely no! They meant to drive us into what they termed rebellion, that they might be furnished with a pretext to disarm, and then strip us of the rights and privileges of Englishmen and citizens.

If they were actuated by the principles of justice, why did they refuse, indignantly, to accede to the terms which were humbly supplicated before hostilities commenced, and this country was deluged in blood; and now make their principal officers, and even the Commissioners themselves, say, that these terms are just and reasonable; nay, that more will be granted than we have yet asked, if we will relinquish our claim to independency?

What name does such conduct as this deserve? And what punishment is there in store for the men who have distressed millions, involved thousands in ruin, and plunged numberless families in inextricable woe? Could that which is just and reasonable now, have been unjust four years ago?

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