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formed it. It is therefore injustice and cruelty such a period will never come?"_No! THE to our offspring, and would stamp us with the PERIOD, COUNTRYMEN, IS ALREADY character of baseness and cowardice, to leave COME. The calamities were at our door. The the salvation of this country to be worked out rod of oppression was raised over us. We were by them with accumulated difficulty and dan- roused from our slumbers, and may we never ger.
sink into repose until we can convey a clear and Prejudice, I confess, may warp our judgments. undisputed inheritance to our posterity. This Let us hear the decision of Englishmen on this day we are called upon to give a glorious examsubject, who cannot be suspected of partiality:ple of what the wisest and best of men were “The Americans," say they, “are but little rejoiced to view, only in speculation. This day short of half our number. To this number presents the world with the most august specthey have grown from a small body of original tacle that its annals ever unfolded. Millions settlers by a very rapid increase. The proba of freemen, deliberately and voluntarily formbility is that they will go on to increase, and ing themselves into a society for their common that in 50 or 60 years, tbey will be double our defence and common happiness. Immortal number; and form a mighty empire, consisting spirits of Hampden, Locke, and Sidney! will it of a variety of States, all equal or superior to not add to your benevolent joys to behold your ourselves in all the arts and accomplishments | posterity rising to the dignity of men, and which give dignity and happiness to human evincing to the world the reality and expedilife. In that period will they be still bound to ency of your systems, and in the actual enjoy. acknowledge that supremacy over them which ments of that equal' liberty, which you were we now claim? Can there be any person who happy, when on earth, in delineating and rewill assert this, or whose mind does not revolt commending to mankind ! at the idea of a vast continent, holding all that Other nations have received their laws from is valuable to it, at the discretion of a handful conquerors; some are indebted for a constituof people on the other side the Atlantic? But tion to the sufferings of their ancestors through if at that period this would be unreasonable, revolving centuries. The people of this counwhat makes it otherwise now? Draw the line try, alone, have formally and deliberately choif you can. But there is still a greater diffi- sen a government for themselves, and with culty."
open and uninfluenced consent, bound them"Britain is now, I will suppose, the seat of lib- selves into a social compact. Here, no man erty and virtue, and its legislature consists of a proclaims his birth or wealth as a title to honbody of able and independent men, who governorable distinction, or to sanctify ignorance and with wisdom and justice. The time may come vice with the name of hereditary authority. when all will be reversed; when its excellent con- He who has most zeal and ability to promote stitution of government will be subverted; when public felicity, let him be the servant of the pressed by debts and taxes, it will be greedy to public.* This is the only line of distinction draw to itself an increase of revenue from every drawn by nature. Leave the bird of night to distant province, in order to ease its own bur- the obscurity for which nature intended him, dens; when the influence of the crown, strength- and expect only from the eagle to brush the ened by luxury and an universal profligacy of clouds with his wings, and look boldly in the manners, will have tainted every heart, broken face of the sun. down every fence of liberty, and rendered us a Some who would persuade us that they have nation of tame and contented vassals; when a tender feelings for future generations, while general election will be nothing but a general they are insensible to the happiness of the preauction of boroughs, and when the Parliament, sent, are perpetually foreboding a train of disthe grand council of the nation, and once the sentions under our popular system. Such men's faithful guardian of the state, and a terror to reasoning amounts to this give up all that is evil ministers, will be degenerated into a body valuable to Great Britain, and then you will of sycophants, dependent and venal, always have no inducements to quarrel among yourready to confirm any measures, and little more selves; or suffer yourselves to be chained down than a public court for registering royal edicts. by your enemies, that you may not be able to Such, it is possible, may, some time or other, fight with your friends.+ be the state of Great Britain. What will at that period be the duty of the colonies? Will they be still bound to unconditional submission?
* A celebrated foreigner gives us a very just description
of the methods by which eminence is generally acquired in Must they always continue an appendage to our
monarchies. “One makes a fortune because he can cringe, government, and follow it implicitly through
another because he can lie; this man because he seasonably every change that can happen to it? Wretched
dishonors himself ; that, because he betrays his friend; but condition indeed, of millions of freemen as good
the surest means to mount as high as Alberoni, is to offer, like as ourselves! Will you say that we now gov
him, ragouts of mushrooms to the Duke of Vendome, and ern equitably, and that there is no danger of l there are Vendomes every where. They who are called grest, such revolution? Would to God that this were have generally no other ascendency over us but what our true. But will you not always say the same weakness permits them, or what our meanness gives them." Who shall judge whether we govern equitably or + From the absurd reasonings of some men we may connot? Can you give the colonies any security that clude that they are of opinion, that all free governments are This is an insult on your virtue as well as gracious unto Zion, that it will turn away the your common sense. Your unanimity this day captivity of Jacob. and through the course of the war, is a decisive Our glorious reformers when they broke refutation of such invidious predictions. Our through the fetters of superstition, effected enemies have already had evidence that our more than could be expected from an age so present constitution contains in it the justice darkened. But they left much to be done by and ardor of freedom, and the wisdom and their posterity. They lopped off, indeed, some vigor of the most absolute system. When the of the branches of popery, but they left the law is the will of the people, it will be uniform root and stock when they left us under the and coherent; but fluctuation, contradiction, domination of human systems and decisions, and inconsistency of councils must be expected usurping the infallibility which can be attribunder those governments where every revolu- uted to Revelation alone. They dethroned one tion in the ministry of a court produces one in usurper only to raise up another; they refused the State. Such being the folly and pride of allegiance to the Pope, only to place the civil all ministers, that they ever pursue measures magistrate in the throne of Christ, vested with directly opposite to those of their predecessors. authority to enact laws, and inflict penalties in
We shall neither be exposed to the necessary his kingdom. And if we now cast our eyes convulsions of elective Monarchies, nor to the over the nations of the earth we shall find, that want of wisdom, fortitude, and virtue, to which instead of possessing the pure religion of the hereditary succession is liable. In your hands gospel, they may be divided either into infidels it will be to perpetuate a prudent, active and who deny the truth, or politicians who make just legislature, and which will never expire religion a stalking horse for their ambition, or until you yourselves lose the virtues which give professors, who walk in the trammels of orthoit existence.
doxy, and are more attentive to traditions and And, brethren and fellow-countrymen, if it ordinances of men than to the oracles of truth. was ever granted to mortals to trace the designs The civil magistrate has every where conof Providence, and interpret its manifestations taminated religion by making it an engine of in favor of their cause, we may, with humility policy; and freedom of thought and the right of soul, cry out, Not unto us, not unto us, but of private judgment, in matters of conscience, to thy Name be the praise. The confusion of driven from every other corner of the earth, the devices among our enemies, and the rage direct their course to this happy country as of the elements against them, have done almost their last asylum. Let us cherish the noble as much towards our success as either our guests, and shelter them under the wings of an councils or our arms.
universal toleration. Be this the seat of unThe time at which this attempt on our liber- bounded religious freedom. She will bring ties was made, when we were ripened into ma- with her in her train, industry, wisdom, and turity, had acquired a knowledge of war, and commerce. She thrives most when left to shoot were free from the incursions of enemies in this forth in her natural luxuriance, and asks from country, the gradual advances of our oppressors human policy, only not to be checked in her enabling us to prepare for our defence, the un- growth by artificial encouragements. usual fertility of our lands and clemency of the Thus by the beneficence of Providence, we seasons, the success which at first attended our shall behold our empire arising, founded on feeble arms, producing unanimity among our justice and the voluntary consent of the people, friends and reducing our internal foes to acqui- and giving full scope to the exercise of those escense—these are all strong and palpable faculties and rights which most ennoble our marks and assurances, that Providence is yet species. Besides the advantages of liberty and
the most equal constitution, heaven has given equally liable to convulsions, but the differences that are in us a country with every variety of climate and the constitution and genius of popular governments are aston soil, pouring forth in abundance whatever is ishingly great, some being for defence, some for increase, necessary for the support, comfort, and strength some more equal, others more unequal; some turbulent and | of a nation. Within our own borders we possoditious, others like streams in a perpetual tranquillity. sess all the means of sustenance, defence, and That which causeth much sedition in a commonwealth is commerce; at the same time, these advantages inequality, as in Rome where the Senate oppressed the peo are so distributed among the different States of ple. But if a commonwealth be perfectly equal, it is void this continent, as if nature had in view to proof sedition, and has attained to perfection, being void of all claim to us-be united among yourselves, and Internal canses of dissolution. Many ancient moral writers,
you will want nothing from the rest of the world, Cicero in particular, have said, that a well constituted com
The more northern States most amply supmonwealth is immortal-Eterna est. An equal common
ply us with every necessary, and many of the Wealth is a government founded upon a balance which is
Juxuries of life ;-with iron, timber, and masts perfectly popular, and which from the balance, through the free suffrage of the people given by ballot, amounts, in the
for ships of commerce or of war; with flax for 80 perstructures, to a Senate debating and proposing, a repre
the manufactory of linen, and seed either for sentative of the people resolving, and a magistracy execut
oil or exportation. Ing; each of these three orders being upon rotation, that is,
So abundant are our harvests, that almost elected for certain terins, enjoining like intervals.- Vido every part raises more than donble the quanHarrington.
| tity of grain requisite for the support of the
inhabitants. From Georgia and the Caroli- brethren, of your long implicit submission to nas, we have, as well for our own wants as for their laws; of the sacrifice which you and your the purpose of supplying the wants of other forefathers made of your natural advantages powers, indigo, rice, hemp, naval stores, and for commerce to their avarice,-formed a de lumber.
liberate plan to wrest from you the small pitVirginia and Maryland teem with wheat, tance of property which they had permitted Indian corn, and tobacco. Every nation whose you to acquire. Remember that the men who harvest is precarious, or whose lands yield not wish to rule over you, are they who, in pursuit those commodities, which we cultivate, will of this plan of despotism, annulled the sacred gladly exchange their superfluities and manu- contracts which had been made with your anfactures for ours.
cestors; conveyed into your cities a mercenary We have already received many and large soldiery to compel you to submission by insult cargoes of clothing, military stores, &c., from and murder-who called your patience, cowour commerce with foreign powers, and in spite ardice; your piety, hypocrisy." of the efforts of the boasted Navy of England, Countrymen! the men who now invite you we shall continue to profit by this connec- to surrender your rights into their hands, are tion.
the men who have let loose the merciless savs The want of our naval stores has already ges to riot in the blood of their brethren-who increased the price of these articles to a great have dared to establish popery triumphant in height, especially in Britain. Without our our land—who have taught treachery to your lumber, it will be impossible for those haughty slaves, and courted them to assassinate your islanders to convey the products of the West wives and children. Indies to their own ports ;--for a while they! These are the men to whom we are exhorted may with difficulty effect it, but without our to sacrifice the blessings which Providence assistance, their resources soon must fail. In-holds out to us—the happiness, the dignity of deed, the West India Islands appear as the uncontrolled freedom and independence. necessary appendages to this our empire. They Let not your generous indignation be directed must owe their support to it, and ere long, I against any among us, who may advise so abdoubt not, some of them will from necessity surd and madning a measure. Their number wish to enjoy the benefit of our protection. | is but few and daily decreases; and the spirit
These natural advantages will enable us to which can render them patient of slavery, will remain independent of the world, or make it render them contemptible enemies. the interest of European powers to court our Our Union is now complete; our Constitualliance, and aid in protecting us against the tion composed, established, and approved. You invasions of others. · What argument there are now the guardians of your own liberties. fore do we want, to show the equity of our We may justly address you, as the Decemviri conduct; or motive of interest to recommend did the Romans, and say—“Nothing that we it to our prudence? Nature points out the propose, can pass into a law without your path, and our enemies have obliged us to pur- consent. Be yourselves, O Americans, the sue it.
authors of those laws on which your happiness If there is any man so base or so weak, as to depends." prefer a dependence on Great Britain, to the You have now in the field, armies sufficient dignity and happiness of living a member of a to repel the whole force of your enemies, and free and independent nation- let me tell him their base and mercenary auxiliaries. The that necessity now demands what the generous hearts of your soldiers beat high with the principle of patriotism should have dictated. spirit of freedom—they are animated with the
We have now no other alternative than in- justice of their cause, and while they grasp their dependence, or the most ignominious and galling swords, can look up to heaven for assistance, servitude. The legions of our enemies thicken Your adversaries are composed of wretches on our plains; desolation and death mark their who laugh at the rights of humanity, who turn bloody career; whilst the mangled corpses of religion into derision, and would, for higher our countrymen seem to cry out to us as a voice wages, direct their swords against their leaders from heaven-—“Will you permit our posterity or their country. Go on, then, in your gener to groan under the galling chains of our murder- ous enterprise, with gratitude to heaven, for ers? Has our blood been expended in vain ? past success, and confidence of it in the future. Is the only reward which our constancy, till For my own part, I ask no greater blessing death, has obtained for our country, that it than to share with you the common danger and should be sunk into a deeper and more igno- common glory. If I have a wish dearer to my minious vassalage? Recollect who are the soul, than that my ashes may be mingled with men that demand your submission; to whose those of a Warren and Montgomery—it is decrees you are invited to pay obedience that these American States may never cease to Men who, unmindful of their relation to you as be free and independent!
JOSIAH QUINCY, JR.
This brilliant patriot was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on the twenty-third of February, 1744. Under the tuition of Mr. Joseph Marsh, who was for many years a very successful teacher at Braintree, young Quincy perfected himself in the rudiments of the classics. In 1759, he entered Harvard College, and graduated in 1763, with unblemished reputation. On taking his degree of Master of Arts, he pronounced the English oration, at that time considered the highest honor of the college. His subject was “Patriotism," and it appears by the periodical publications of the day, that he acquired great reputation, both on account of the composition and delivery. He commenced the study of law with Oxenbridge Thacher, in 1763, on leaving college, and on the death of that gentleman in 1765, remained in his office, took a general care and supervision of its affairs, succeeded to an extensive practice, and soon became distinguished for his zeal, learning and eloquence.
At an early period the politics of the colonies attracted his attention. In the fall of 1767, quickened by the avowal of Parliament of its absolute right over the colonies; the arrival of fresh troops to maintain that right; the determination of the ministry to impose additional taxes and other unjust and burdensome acts, he commenced his political writings, under the signature of Hyperion. Two pieces were published by him in the Boston Gazette, the spirit of which can be best understood by the following extracts :—“When I reflect on the exalted character of the ancient Britons, on the fortitude of our illustrious predecessors, on the noble struggles of the late memorable period, and from these reflections, when by a natural transition, I contemplate the gloomy aspect of the present day, my heart is alternately torn with hope and doubt, despondency and terror. Can the true, generous magnanimity of British heroes, be entirely lost in their degenerate progeny? Is the genius of liberty which so late inflamed our bosoms, fled for ever?
“An attentive observer of the deportment of some particular persons in this metropolis, would be apt to imagine that the grand point was gained; that the spirit of the people was entirely broken to the yoke; that all America was subjugated to bondage! Already the minions of power, in fancy, fatten and grow wanton on the spoils of the land. They insolently toss the head, and put on the air of contemptuous disdain. In the imaginary possession of lordships and dominions, these potentates and powers dare tell us, that our only hope is to crouch, to cowl under, and to kiss the iron rod of oppression. Precious sample of the meek and lowly temper of those who are destined to be our lords and masters!
“Be not deceived, my Countrymen. Believe not these venal hirelings, when they would cajole you by their subtleties into submission, or frighten you by their vaporings into compliance. When they strive to flatter you by the terms, ‘moderation and prudence,' tell them that calmness and deliberation are to guide the judgment; courage and intrepidity command the action. When they endeavor to makes us 'perceive our inability to oppose our mother country,' let us boldly answer: In defence of our civil and religious rights we dare oppose the world; with the God of armies on our side, even the God who fought our fathers' battles, we fear not the hour of trial, though the hosts of our enemies should cover the field like locusts. If this be enthusiasm, we will live and die enthusiasts.
“Blandishments will not fascinate us, nor will threats of a 'halter' intimidate. For under God, we are determined, that wheresoever, whensoever, or howsoever, we shall be called to make our exit, we will die freemen. Well do we know that all the regalia of this world cannot dignify the death of a villain, nor diminish the ignominy with which a slave shall quit his existence. Neither can it taint the unblemished honor of a son of freedom, though he should make his departure on the already prepared gibbet, or be dragged to the newly erected scaffold for execution. With the plaudits of his conscience he will go off the stage. A crown of joy and immortality shall be his reward. The history of his life, his children shall venerate. The virtues of their sire shall excite their emulation."
The writings of Mr. Quincy rendered him highly obnoxious to the officers of the Crown, more especially to those of the Supreme Court of his native State, and he was denied the honors of the gown, which were then due him from his position at the bar. Notwithstanding this circumstance, and the multiplied labors of his profession, he continued his literary efforts with undisguised zeal and patriotism.* In one of his essays, published in Boston, a few days previous to the Boston Massacre, in 1770, he said: “In answer to the question, 'What end is the nonimportation argument to answer?'-I give the following reply: From a conviction in my own mind, that America is now the slave of Britain; from a sense that we are every day more and more in danger of an increase of our burdens, and a fastening of our shackles, I wish to see my countrymen break off,-off for ever I-all social intercourse with those whose commerce contaminates, whose luxuries poison, whose avarice is insatiable, and whose unnatural oppressions are not to be borne. That Americans will have their rights, that they will resume, assert, and defend them, are matters of which I harbor no doubt. Whether the arts of policy, or the arts of war will decide the contest, are problems we will solve at a more convenient season. He whose heart is enamored with the refinements of political artifice and finesse, will seek one mode of relief; he whose heart is free, honest, and intrepid, will pursue another, a bolder, and more noble mode of redress. This reply is so intelligible, that it needs no comment or explanation."
At the trial of the soldiers of the twenty-ninth regiment, for the murder of Samuel Carr and others, on the night of the fifth of March, 1770, Mr. Quincy, associated as junior counsel with John Adams, appeared in their defence. The state of public feeling, and the disadvantages under which Mr. Quincy labored at that time, can best be understood by the following extract of a letter from his father upon the subject: “I am under great affliction, at hearing the bitterest reproaches uttered against you, for having become an advocate for those criminals who are charged with the murder of their fellow-citizens. Good God! is it possible? I will not believe it. * * * * I have heard the severest reflections made upon the occasion by men who had just before manifested the highest esteem for you, as one destined to be a saviour of your country. I must own to you it has filled the bosom of your aged and infirm parent with anxiety and distress, lest it should prove destructive of your reputation and interest."
To this Mr. Quincy replied, “I have little leisure and legs inclination either to know or to take notice of those ignorant slanderers, who have dared to utter their bitter reproaches' in your hearing against me, for having become an advocate for criminals charged with murder. But the sting of reproach, when envenomed only by envy and falsehood, will never prove mortal. Before pouring their reproaches into the ear of the aged and infirm, if they had been friends they would bave surely spared a little reflection on the nature of an attorney's oath and duty-some trifling scrutiny into the business and discharge of his office, and some small portion of patience in viewing my past and future conduct.” Mr. Quincy's speech in this trial is given
* Anong his original papers for the year 1770, are An address of the merchants, traders, and freeholders of the toron of Boston, assembled at Faneuil Hall, January 28, 1770, for the purpose of enforcing the non-importation act: two essays under the signature of An Independent, published in the Boston Gazette of the 12th and 26th of February; another signed An Old Man, in the same paper of August 6th: and the Report of a Committee appointed to draw up Instruo. tions, for the representatives of the town of Boston, and which was unanimously accepted by the inhabitants, 15th May, 1770. The original draft of this report in the autograph of Mr. Quincy, exists among his papers.--Quincy's Life of Quincy.