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the tea entitled to damages, the courts of law | was committed on some merchandise, said to were open, and judges, appointed by the crown, belong to one of the companies, and because presided in them. The East India Company, the ministry were of opinion that such high however, did not think proper to commence political regulations were necessary to compel any suits, nor did they even demand satisfac- due subordination and obedience to their mantion, either from individuals or from the com- dates. munity in general. The ministry, it seems, Nor are these the only capital grievances officiqusly made the case their own, and the under which we labor. We might tell of disgreat council of the nation descended to inter solute, weak and wicked governors having been meddle with a dispute about private property. set over us; of legislatures being suspended for Divers papers, letters, and other unauthenticat- asserting the rights of British subjects; of ed ex parte evidence, were laid before them. needy and ignorant dependents on great men Neither the persons who destroyed. the tea, nor advanced to the seats of justice, and to other the people of Boston, were called upon to an- places of trust and importance; of hard restricswer the complaint. The ministry, incensed by tions on commerce, and a great variety of lesser being disappointed in a favorite scheme, were evils, the recollection of which is almost lost determined to recur from the little arts of fi- under the weight and pressure of greater and nesse to open force and unmanly violence. The more poignant calamities. port of Boston was blocked up by a fleet, and Now mark the progression of the ministerial an army placed in the town. Their trade was plan for enslaving us. to be suspended, and thousands reduced to the Well aware that such hardy attempts to take necessity of gaining subsistence from charity, our property from us; to deprive us of that till they should submit to pass under the yoke valuable right of trial by jury; to seize our and consent to become slaves, by confessing persons, and carry us for trial to Great Britain; the omnipotence of Parliament, and acquiescing to blockade our ports; to destroy our charters in whatever disposition they might think proper and change our forms of government; would to make of their lives and property.
occasion, and had already occasioned, great Let justice and humanity cease to be the discontent in the colonies, which might proboast of your nation! Consult your history; ! duce opposition to these measures, an act was examine your records of former transactions; passed to protect, indemnify, and screen from nay, turn to the annals of the many arbitrary punishment, such as might be guilty even of states and kingdoms that surround you, and murder, in endeavoring to carry their oppresshow us a single instance of men being con- sive edicts into execution; and by another act, demned to suffer for imputcd crimes, unheard, the dominion of Canada is to be so extended, unquestioned, and without even the specious modelled and governed, as that, by being disformality of a trial; and that, too, by laws united from us, detached from our interests, by made expressly for the purpose, and which had civil as well as religious prejudices; that by no existence at the time of the fact committed their numbers daily swelling with Catholic If it be difficult to reconcile these proceedings emigrants from Europe, and by their devotion to the genius and temper of your laws and con- to an administration so friendly to their relistitution, the task will become more arduous gion, they might become formidable to us, and when we call upon our ministerial enemies to on occasion be fit instruments, in the hands of justify, not only condemning men untried and power, to reduce the ancient free Protestant by hearsay, but involving the innocent in one colonies to the same state of slavery with themcommon punishment with the guilty, and for selves. the act of thirty or forty to bring poverty, dis- This was evidently the object of the act; and tress, and calamity on thirty thousand souls, in this view, being extremely dangerous to our and those not your enemies, but your friends, liberty and quiet, we cannot forbear complainbrethren, and fellow-subjects.
ing of it, as hostile to British America. SuperIt would be some consolation to us if the added to these considerations, we cannot help catalogue of American oppressions ended here. deploring the unhappy condition to which it It gives us pain to be reduced to the necessity has reduced the many English settlers who, of reminding you, that under the confidence re-encouraged by the royal proclamation, promisposed in the faith of government, pledged in a ing the enjoyment of all their rights, have purroyal charter from a British sovereign, the fore- chased estates in that country. They are now fathers of the present inhabitants of the Massa- the subjects of an arbitrary government, dechusetts Bay left their former habitations, and prived of trial by jury, and when imprisoned, established that great, flourishing, and loyal cannot claim the benefit of the habeas corpus colony. Without incurring or being charged act—that great bulwark and palladium of Engwith a forfeiture of their rights, without being lish liberty. Nor can we suppress our astonishheard, without being tried, without law and ment, that a British Parliament should over without justice, by an act of Parliament their consent to establish in that country, a religion charter is destroyed, their liberties violated, that has deluged your island in blood, and their constitution and form of government dispersed impiety, bigotry, persecution, murchanged; and all this upon no better pretence der and rebellion through every part of the than because in one of their towns a trespass | world.
This being a true state of facts, let us beseech shall consider your enemies as our enemies, you to consider to what end they may lead. and your interest as our own.
Admit that the ministry, by the powers of But, if you are determined that your minisBritain and the aid of our Roman Catholic ters shall wantonly sport with the rights of neighbors, should be able to carry the point of mankind—if neither the voice of justice, the taxation, and reduce us to & state of perfect dictates of the law, the principles of the Conhumiliation and slavery: such an enterprise stitution, or the suggestions of humanity, can would doubtless make some addition to your restrain your hands from shedding human national debt, which already presses down your blood, in such an impious cause, we must then liberties, and fills you with pensioners and tell you, that we will never submit to be hewplacemen. We presume, also, that your com- ers of wood or drawers of water, for any merce will somewhat be diminished. However, ministry, or nation in the world. suppose you should prove victorious, in what Place us in the same situation that we were condition will you then be? What advantages in, at the close of the last war, and our former or laurels will you reap from such a conquest ? harmony will be restored.
May not a ministry, with the same armies But lest the same supineness, and the same inatenslave you? It may be said, you will cease tention to our common interest, which you have to pay them-but remember the taxes from for several years shown, should continue, we America, the wealth, and we may add the men, think it prudent to anticipate the consequences. and particularly the Roman Catholics of this By the destruction of the trade of Boston, vast continent, will then be in the power of the ministry have endeavored to induce subyour enemies; nor will you have any reason mission to their measures. The like fate may to expect that after making slaves of us, many befall us all. We will endeavor, therefore, to among us should refuse to assist in reducing live without trade, and recur for subsistence to you to the same abject state.
the fertility and bounty of our native soil, · Do not treat this as chimerical. Know that which will afford us all the necessaries, and in less than half a century, the quit rents re some of the conveniences of life. We have served to the Crown, from the numberless suspended our importation from Great Britain grants of this vast continent, will pour large and Ireland; and, in less than a year's time, streams of wealth into the royal coffers, and if unless our grievances should be redressed, shall to this be added the power of taxing America discontinue our exports to those kingdoms, and at pleasure, the Crown will be rendered inde- the West Indies. pendent of you for supplies, and will possess more It is with the utmost regret, however, that treasure than may be necessary to purchase the we find ourselves compelled, by the overruling remains of liberty in your island. In a word, principles of self-preservation, to adopt meatake care that you do not fall into the pit that sures detrimental in their consequences, to is preparing for us.
numbers of our fellow-subjects in Great Britain We believe there is yet much virtue, much and Ireland. But, we hope, that the magnajustice, and much public spirit in the English nimity and justice of the British nation will nation. To that justice we now appeal. You furnish a Parliament of such wisdom, inde have been told that we are seditious, impatient pendence, and public spirit, as may save the of government, and desirous of independency. violated rights of the whole empire, from the Be assured that these are not facts, but calum- devices of wicked ministers and evil counselnies. Permit us to be as free as yourselves, lors, whether in or out of office; and thereby and we shall ever esteem a union with you, to restore that harmony, friendship, and fraternal be our greatest glory, and our greatest happi- affection between all the inhabitants of his ness; we shall ever be ready to contribute all Majesty's kingdoms and territories, so ardently in our power to the welfare of the empire; wel wished for by every true and honest American. EDMUND RANDOLPH. Thomas RANDOLPH, the poet and cotemporary of Ben Jonson, and who, before “death put a stop to his rising genius and fame," had gained a sterling reputation among the wits of his age, was the great-uncle of Sir John, the grandfather of Edmund Randolph. The family were high Loialists, in the civil wars, and being entirely broken and dispersed, Sir John's father* determined, as many other Cavaliers did, to try his fortune in the Western world. From his earliest childhood, Sir John evinced a great propensity to letters; to improve which he was first put under the care of a Protestant clergyman, who came over among the French Refugees. But afterwards he received a more complete education at William and Mary College, in Virginia. He finished his studies in the law, in Gray's Inn and the Temple; and having put on his Barrister's gown, returned to his native country, where, from his first appearance at the bar, he was ranked among the practitioners of the first figure and distinction. At the time of the disputes in New York relative to the establishment of a new Court of Exchequer, Sir John expressed his sentiments upon the subject, which were clear and forcible, and now form a part of tho judicial history of that State. In the autumn of 1731, he went to England and “presented to his Majesty a state of the colony of Virginia, drawn up with great accuracy, which his Majesty was pleased to receive very graciously, and to confer the honor of knighthood on the said gentleman.” | After his return to Virginia, he was elected Speaker of the House of Burgesses, and on the twenty-eighth of August, 1734, delivered his inaugural before that body. “If I shall endeavor," he said, “ to make the established rules of our proceedings subservient to my own fancies and humors, or interests; or shall bring into this chair a restlessness and impatience about points that may be carried against my sentiments, or shall pretend to any authority of swaying any member in his opinion; I say, then I shall deserve to have no influence upon your proceedings, but do not doubt, nay, I hope, you will mortify me with the utmost of your contempt for the inconsistence of my theory and practice. And if I shall happen to succeed better, I will pretend to no other praise but that of not having deceived the expectations of so many worthy gentlemen who have continued to heap upon me such a series of favors, which, so long as I retain the memory of any thing, I must look upon as the chief foundation of the credit and reputation of my life.”
In March, 1737, Sir John Randolph died at the age of forty-four years, and was interred in the chapel of William and Mary College. According with his directions, he was borne to the place of interment “by six honest, industrious, poor housekeepers of Bruton parish, who were
• This was William Randolph, of Turkey Island, in Virginia Little is known of him. Tradition says that he camo over from Yorkshire poor, and made his living by building barns, and by his industry acquired large possessions of land.
Sir John's letter on this subject, is published in the appendix of Smith's History of New York. Ed. 1830. VOL 1, page 874. New York Historical Society's Collections.
Bradford's American Weekly Mercury, Jan. 80th-Feb. 6th, 1782-8. The editor of this paper, after noticing these facts, concludes: "The public is impatient to soo the contents of those papers, which are said to be designed for public good."
A fall report of this speech is published in the American Weekly Mercury, Sept. 19-26, 1734.
to have twenty pounds divided among them, and attended by a numerous assembly of gentlemen and others, who paid the last honors to him with great solemnity, decency and respect."*
Edmund Randolph was born on the tenth of August, 1753. His father early adhered to the cause of Great Britain, joined the fortunes of Lord Dunmore, and finally disinherited his son for refusing to follow in the same course. Of the youth and early education of Edmund Ran. dolph we have no particulars. At the age of twenty-two years, in August, 1775, he joined the American army at Cambridge, and was taken into the military family of General Washington as an aid-de-camp. He remained here but a short time, being recalled to Virginia in the following November, by the death of his uncle, Peyton Randolph. In 1776 he was delegated to the Virginia Convention as the alternate of George Wythe, and before the termination of the year was elected Mayor of Williamsburg, the city he represented in the Convention. Subsequently he was appointed Attorney-General of the State of Virginia, under the new constitution, and at a future session of the House of Delegates he was elected its clerk.
In the practice of his profession, which was the law, his success was eminent and extraordinary. Clients filled his office, and beset him on his way from the office to the court-house, "with their papers in one hand and their guineas in the other." | He was a member of the Continental Congress from 1779 until 1782, and in 1786 was elected Governor of Virginia, succeeding in that office Patrick Henry. The same year he was chosen a delegate to the Annapolis Convention, and subsequently to the Convention which met at Philadelphia in 1787, to revise the articles of confederation. His career in that assembly was marked and effective. He afterward was a member of the Virginia Convention, summoned to ratify the Federal Constitution. President Washington appointed him the first Attorney-General under the federal system, and in 1795 he was elevated to the office of Secretary of State, as successor of Mr. Jefferson. He remained in this position but a short time, resuming the practice of the law at Richmond in the autumn of the following year. At the celebrated trial of Aaron Burr, on the charge of treason, in May, 1807, Mr. Randolph was associated with Luther Martin and other distinguished lawyers, in the defence of that unfortunate man.
He died on the twelfth of September, 1813, in Frederic (now Page) county, Virginia, in the sixtieth year of his age, leaving an extremely valuable manuscript history of Virginia, in which he occupies a prominent position. This never appeared in print, and finally was destroyed.
• Obituary notice of Sir John Randolph, published in the Virginia Gazette, of March 11th, 1787, and reproduced in the Virginia Historical Register, VOL. 4, page 188.
† John Randolph, the father of Edmund, was attorney-general of Virginia, under the royal government. He was a brother of Peyton Randolph, president of the Continental Congress.
# Virginia Convention of 1776, by Hugh Blair Grigsby, page 76, et seq.
$ As chief magistrate of Virginia, it became the duty of Mr. Randolph to secure the attendance of Washington upon the Federal Convention. This matter he managed with great tact and delicacy; and, by the aid of other friends, he succeeded in overcoming the scruples of the illustrious patriot, then reposing in the retirement of Mount Vernon. Governor Randolph's conduct with regard to the constitution might seem to be marked by inconsistency, if we were not able to explain it by the motive of disinterested patriotism from which he evidently acted. He brought to the convention the most serious apprehensions for the fate of the Union. But he thought that the dangers with which it was surrounded might be averted, by correcting and enlarging the Articles of Confederation. When, at length, the government, which was actually framed, was found to be a system containing far greater restraints upon the powers of the states than he believed to be either expedient or safe, he endeavored to procure a vote authorizing amendments to be submitted by the State conventions, and to bo finally decided on by another goneral convention. This proposition was rejected, and he declined to sign the constitution desiring to be free to oppose or advocate its adoption, when it should come before his own State, as his judgment might dictate.-Curtis's Iristory of the Constitution, Vol. 1, page 481: Madison Papers.
| While Mr. Wirt was preparing his eloquent Life of Patrick Henry, he saw and consulted this manuscript. Bomo years after, it was destroyed by a fire at New Orleans, while in the possession of a grandson of Edmund Randolph.-Preface of Wirta Patrick Henry, pago 11. Grigsby's Virginia Conoention of 1776, page 78.
THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION.
Mr. Randolph delivered the following speech | itors wearied with the tedious procrastination in the Convention of Virginia, on the sixth of of your legal processa process obscured by
legislative mists? Cast your eyes to your seaJune, 1788—the first and second sections of the
ports, see how commerce languishes: this counfirst article of the Constitution being under try, so blessed by nature with every advantage consideration.*
that can render commerce profitable, through
defective legislation, is deprived of all the benMB. CHAIRMAN: I am a child of the Revolu-efits and emoluments she might otherwise reap tion. My country, very early indeed, took me from it. We hear many complaints on the subunder her protection at a time when I mostject of located lands—a variety of competitors wanted it; and by a succession of favors and claiming the same lands under legislative acts honors, prevented even my most ardent wishes. public faith prostrated, and private confidence I feel the highest gratitude and attachment to destroyed. I ask you if your laws are revemy country; her felicity is the most fervent | renced? In every well regulated community, prayer of my heart. Conscious of having ex- the laws command respect. Are yours entitled erted my faculties to the utmost in her behalf, to reverence? We not only see violations of if I have not succeeded in securing the esteem the constitution, but of national principles in of my countrymen, I shall reap abundant con- repeated instances. How is the fact The solation from the rectitude of my intentions: history of the violations of the constitution exhonors, when compared to the satisfaction ac- tends from the year 1776, to this present time cruing from a conscious independence and rec- violations made by formal acts of the legislatitude of conduct, are no equivalent. The un- ture; every thing has been drawn within the wearied study of my life, shall be to promote legislative vortex. There is one example of this her happiness. As a citizen, ambition and violation in Virginia, of a most striking and popularity are no objects with me. I expect, shocking nature; an example so horrid, that if in the course of a year, to retire to that private I conceived my country would passively permit station which I most sincerely and cordially a repetition of it, dear as it is to me, I would prefer to all others.t The security of public seek means of expatriating myself from it. A justice, sir, is what I most fervently wish-as Iman, who was then a citizen, was deprived of consider that object to be the primary step to his life, thus : from a mere reliance on general the attainment of public happiness. I can de- reports, a gentleman in the House of Delegates clare to the whole world, that in the part I informed the House, that a certain man (Josiah take in this very important question, I am actu- Phillips) had committed several crimes, and ated by a regard for what I conceive to be our was running at large, perpetrating other true interest. I can also, with equal sincerity, crimes; he therefore moved for leave to atdeclare that I would join heart and hand in re- taint him. He obtained that leave instantly. jeeting this system, did I conceive it would pro- No sooner did he obtain it, than he drew from mote our happiness : but having a strong con- his pocket a bill already written for that effect; viction on my mind, at this time, that, by a it was read three times in one day, and carried disunion, we shall throw away all those bless to the Senate: I will not say that it passed the ings we have so earnestly fought for, and that same day through the Senate; but he was ata rejection of the constitution will operate dis- tainted very speedily and precipitately, withunion-pardon me if I discharge the obligation out any proof better than vague reports ! I owe to my country by voting for its adoption. Without being confronted with his accusers We are told that the report of dangers is false. and witnesses; without the privilege of calling The cry of peace, sir, is false : say peace, when for evidence in his behalf, he was sentenced to there is peace: it is but a sudden calm. The death, and was afterwards actually executed.* tempest growls over you-look around-where- Was this arbitrary deprivation of life, the soever you look, you see danger. When there | dearest gift of God to man, consistent with the are so many witnesses, in many parts of Amer-genius of a republican government? Is this ica, that justice is suffocated, shall peace and compatible with the spirit of freedom? This, happiness still be said to reign? Candor, sir, sir, has made the deepest impression on my requires an undisguised representation of our heart, and I cannot contemplate it without situation. Candor, sir, demands a faithful ex- horror. position of facts. Many citizens have found There are still a multiplicity of complaints justice strangled and trampled under foot, of the debility of the laws. Justice, in many throagh the course of jurisprudence in this instances, is so unattainable, that commerce country. Are those who have debts due them, may, in fact, be said to be stopped entirely. satisfied with your government? Are not cred- | There is no peace, sir, in this land: can peace
• Ante, pp. 13–164.
• Mr. Wirt has satisfactorily shown that this statement is | founded in error. Life of Patrick Henry, page 291, et seq.