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Boston Orations.





A PARTY OF BRITISH TROOPS, QUARTERED AMONG Nunc ea petit, quæ dare nullo modo possumus, nişi prius volumus nos bello victos confiteri.




Omnes homines natura Libertati student conditionem
Sed virtutis oderunt.

[These orations were first collected and published Your design in the appointment of this cere. in a volume, by Mr. Peter Edes of Boston, printer, mony, my friends and fellow-townsmen, cannot fail son of the MR. EDES of that town whose press to be examined in quite different lights at this was so notorious for its fearless devotion to the season of political dissession. From the principles I profess, and in the exercise of my common right liberties of America; both before the revolution commenced and during the time of its continu. to judge with others, I conclude it was decent, wise,

and honorable.


Boston, January, 1785.


The certainty of being favored with your kindest partiality and candor, in a poor attempt to execute the part to which you have invited me, has overcome the objection of my inability to perform it in a proper manner; and I now beg the favor of


I hope my collecting, in one volume, the follow ing orations, which were first severally printed at your request, but many of which have been long since not to be purchased, will be considered in your animating countenance. the mild light of an attempt to please the public.

Americans have been reprehended for not pre-whatever were the causes which concurred to bring The horrid bloody scene we here commemorate, serving, with sufficient care, the various pamphlets it on that dreadful night, must lead the pious and and political tracts which this country has afforded humane, of every order, to some suitable reflecduring the late war.

tions. The pious will adore the conduct of that BEING who is unsearchable in all his ways, and without whose knowledge not a single sparrow falls, in

Many of those productions which appear trite to us, who live on the spot where they grew, may, however, be considered as sources of curiosity to permitting an immortal soul to be hurried by the strangers. Many of these orations have been conflying ball, the messenger of death, in the twinksidered as the sentiments of this metropolis, from ling of an eye, to meet the awful Judge of all its time to time, touching the revolution; and as our secret actions. The humane, from having often carliest public invectives against oppression. thought, with pleasing rapture, on the endearing As the institution of an oration upon the fifth scenes of social life, in all its amiable relations, of March is now superseded by the celebration of will lament, with heart felt pangs, their sudden the anniversary of independence, upon the fourth dissolution, by indiscretion, rage and vengeance, of July, I have given to this volume a general title, which will apply to both institutions: so that if continued course of rancor and dispute, from the But let us leave that shocking close of one hereafter there shall be a like volume, containing first moment that the troops arrived in town: that the orations of that anniversary, this may be considered the first and that the second volume of flections to a much more solid, useful purpose, than course will now be represented by your own reBoston orations.

by any artful language. I hope, however, that

1 am, with the greatest respect, your obedient heaven has yet in store such happiness for this humble servant, afflicted town and province, as will in time wear out the memory of all your farmer troubles


I sincerely rejoice with you in the happy even of your steady and united effort to prevent a second tragedy.

Or fathers left their native land, risqued all the dangers of the sea, and came to this then savage desart, with that true undaunted courage which is excited by a confidence in God. They came that they might here enjoy themselves, and leave to their posterity the best of earthly portions, full English liberty. You showed upon the alarm ing cause for trial, that their brave spirit still exists in vigor, though their legacy of right is much impaired. The sympathy and active friendship of some neighboring towns, upon that sad occasion, commands the highest gratitude of this.

upon the army. A less body of troops than is now
maintained has, on a time, destroyed a king, and
fought under a parliament with great success and
glory; but, upon a motion to disband them, they
turned their masters out of doors, and fixed others
in their stead. Such wild things are not again to
happen, because the parliament have power to stop
payment once a year: but arma tenenti quis neget?
which may be easily interpreted, "who will bind
Sampson with his locks on?"*

The bill which regulates the army, the same fine author I have mentioned, says, "is, in many respects, hastily penned, and reduces the soldier to a state of slavery in the midst of a free nation. This is impolitic: for slaves envy the freedom of others, and take a malicious pleasure in contributing to destroy it.”


We have seen and felt the ill effects of placing standing forces in the midst of populous communities; but those are only what individuals suffer. By this scandalous bill a justice of peace is Your vote directs me to point out the fatal tendency empowered to grant, without a previous oath from of placing such an order in free cities-fatal indeed! the military officer, a warrant to break open any Athens once was free; a citizen, a favorite of the (freeman's) house, upon pretence of searching for people, by an artful story, gained a trifling guard of fifty men; ambition taught him ways to enlarge that number; he destroyed the commonwealth and made himself the tyrant of the Athenians. Cæsar, by the length of his command in Gaul, got the affections of his army, marched to Rome, overthrew the state, and made himself perpetual dictator. By the same instruments, many less republics have been made to fall a prey to the devouring jaws of tyrants. But this is a subject which should never be disguised with figures; it chooses the plain stile of dissertation.

I must not omit to mention one more bad tendency: 'tis this-a standing force leads to a total neglect of militias, or tends greatly to discourage them.

You see the danger of a standing army to the cause of freedom. If the British parliament con⚫ sents from year to year to be exposed, it doubtless bas good reasons. But when did our assembly pass an act to hazard all the property, the liberty and lives of their constituents? what check have we upon a British army? can we disband it? can we stop

The true strength and safety of every common-its pay? wealth or limited monarchy, is the bravery of its freeholders, its militia. By brave militias they and our monarch, George the 3d, by our constitu. Our own assemblies in America can raise an army; rise to grandeur; and they come to ruin by a tion, takes immediate command. This army can mercenary army. This is founded on historical facts, and the same causes will, in similar circum- royal chief commander send them to find barracks consent to leave their native provinces. Will the stances, forever produce the same effects. Justice Blackstone, in his inimitably clear commentaries, modious hall of Westminster? suppose the last-supat Brunswick or Lunenburg, at Hanover, or the comtells us, that "it is extremely dangerous in a land of liberty, to make a distinct order of the pro-liament in actual rebellion, or only on the eve of pose this army was informed, nay thought the parfession of arms; that such an order is an object of jealousy; and that the laws and constitution of Eng- and cloathed them--for there it pinches:-we are one, against their king, or against those who paid land are strangers to it." One article of the bill of rebels against parliament;—we adore the king. rights is, that the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in a time of peace, unless it be with consent of parliament, is against law. The present army, therefore, though called the peace establishment, is kept up by one act, and governed by another; both of which expire annually. This circumstance is valued as a sufficient check

Where, in the case I have stated, would be the value of the boasted English constitution?

Who are a free people? not those who do not soffer actual oppression; but those who have a constitutional check upon the power to oppress.


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f passage, some bappier climate. Here at length We are slaves or freemen: if as we are called. the last, where is our check upon the following they settled down. The king of England was said powers, France, Spain, the states of Holland, or to be the royal landlord of this territory; with the British parliaments? now if any one of these HIM they entered into mutual, sacred compact, by (and it is quite immaterial which) has right to which the price of tenure, and the rules of managemake the two acts in question operate within this ment, were fairly stated. It is in this compact that province, they have right to give us up to an we find OUR ONLY TRUE LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY. unlimited army, under the sole direction of one Saracen commander.

I might here enlarge upon the character of those first settlers, men of whom the world was little worthy; who, for a long course of years, assisted by no earthly power, defended their liberty, their religion, and their lives, against the greatest inland danger of the savage natives: but this falls not within my present purpose. They were secure by

Thus I have led your thoughts to that upon which I formed my conclusion, that the design of this ceremony was decent, wise and honorable. Make the bloody 5th of March the æra of the resurrec tion of your birthrights, which have been murdered by the very strength that nursed them in their sea. In our infancy, when not an over tempting jewel infancy. I had an eye solely to parliamentary supremacy; and I hope you will think every other for the Bourbon crown, the very name of England view beneath your notice, in our present most saved us; afterwards her fleets and armies. We wish not to depreciate the worth of that protection. alarming situation. of our gold, yea of our most fine gold, we will freely give a part. Our fathers would have done

But must we fall down and cry "let

Chatham, Camden, and others, Gods among men,
and the Farmer, whom you have addressed as the
friend of mankind; all these have owned that Eng- the same.
land has right to exercise every power over us, not a stranger rob and kill me, O my father! let me
rather die by the hand of my brother, and let him
ravish all my portion!"

but that of taking money out of our pockets, with-
Though it seems almost too
out our consent.*
bold therefore in us to say "we doubt in every
single instance her legal rights over this province," bleed at every vein." I cannot see the consequence.

It is said that disunited from Britain "we should

The states of Holland do not suffer thus. But grant it true, Seneca would prefer the lancets of France, Spain, or any other power, to the BowSTRING, though applied by the fair hand of Britannia.

Those I have named are yet we must assert it. mighty characters, but they wanted one advantage Providence has given us. The beam is carried of from our eyes by the flowing blood of our fellowcitizens, and now we may be allowed to attempt to remove the mote from the eyes of our exalted The declarative vote of the British parliament patrons. That mote, we think, is nothing but our obligation to England first, and afterwards Great is the death-warrant of our birthrights, and wants Britain, for constant kind protection of our lives and only a Czarish king to put it into execution. Here birthrights against foreign danger. We all acknow. then a door of salvation is open. Great Britain may raise her fleets and armies, but it is only our ledge that protection. wn king that can direct their fire down upon our heads. He is gracious, but not omniscient. is ready to hear our APPEALS in their proper course; and knowing himself, though the most powerful prince on earth, yet, a subject under a divine constitution of LAW; that law he will ask and receive from the twelve judges of England. These will


Let us once more look into the early history of this province. We find that our English ancestors, disgusted in their native country at a legislation, which they saw was sacrificing all their rights, lef its jurisdiction,‡ and sought, like wandering birds

*Taxation and representation are inseparable.

Chath Cambd.

From what in our constitution is representation prove that the claim of the British parliament over not inseparable!-multa a CRASSO divinitus dicta us is not only ILLEGAL IN ITSELF, BUT A DOWN-NIGHT efferebantur, cum sibi illum, consulem esse negaret USURPATION OF HIS PREROGATIVE as king of America. Cic. cui senator ipse non esset.

A brave nation is always generous. Let us ap.

tl confine myself to this province, partly from ignorance of other charters; but more from a desire even to ver some abler pen to pursue the idea of CHECK; which an unchartered FREEMAN may do, as well as any other in America.

I choose to bury a fruitful subject for any satyrical genius of the family of PENN.

fita vitam corpusque servato, ita fortunas, ita #11æc sunt enim fiundamenta frmissima nostræ rem familiarem, ut hæ posteriera libertati ducas, libertatis, sui quemque juris et retinendi et dimit--nec pro his libertatem, sed pro libertati hæc projicias, tanquam pignora injuriæ. tendi esse dominum.


peas, theref re, at the same time, to the generosity [stitution leads us to expect. In that condition, let of the PEOPLE of Great Britain, before the tribunal* us behave with the propriety and dignity of FREEof Europe, not to envy us the full enjoyment of the MEN; and thus exhibit to the world, a new character of a people, which no history describes.


And now, my friends and fellow townsmen, having May the all-wise and beneficent BULER OF THE declared myself an American son of liberty of true UNIVERSE preserve our lives and health, and proscharter principles: having shewn the critical and per all our lawful endeavors in the glorious cause of dangerous situation of our birthrights, and the true FREEDOM. course for speedy redress; I shall take the freedom to recommend, with boldness, one previous step.Let us show we understand the true value of what we are claiming.

The patriotic Farmer tells us, "the cause of li berty is a cause of too much dignity to be sullied by turbulence and tumult.-Anger produces anger; an:l differences, that might be accommodated by kind and respectful behavior, may, by imprudence, be enlarged to an incurable rage. In quarrels risen to a certain height, the first cause of dissenthe causes of such astonishing changes.

That man is formed for social life, is an observation, which, upon our first enquiry, presents itself immediately to our view, and our reason approves that wise and generous principle which actuated the first founders of civil government; an institution which hath its origin in the weakness of individuals, and hath for its end, the strength and security of all: and so long as the means of effecting this important end are thoroughly known, and religiously attended to, government is one of the

We know ourselves subjects of common Law: to that and the worthy executors of it, let us pay arichest blessings to mankind, and ought to be held steady and conscientious regard. Past errors in this point have been written with gall, by the pen of MALICE. May our fu'ure conduct be such as to make even that vile IMP lay her pen aside.

in the highest veneration.

In young and new formed communities, the grand design of this institution, is most generally understood, and most strictly regarded; the motives which urged to the social compact, cannot be at

The right which imposes duties upon us, is in dispute: bu whether they are managed by a once forgotten, and that equality which is rememsurveyor general, a board of commissioners, Turkish | bered to have subsisted so lately among them, preJanizaries, or Russian Cossacks, let them enjoy, vents those who are clothed with authority from during our time of fair trial, the common personal attempting to invade the freedom of their brethren; protection of the laws of our constitution. Let or if such an attempt is made, it prevents the comus shut our eyes, for the present, to their being munity from suffering the offender to go unpunishexecutors of claims subversive of our rights. ed: every member feels it to be his interest and Watchful, hawk-eyed jealousy, ever guards the knows it to be his duty, to preserve inviolate the portal of the temple of the GODDESS LIBERTY. This constitution on which the public safety depends,* is known to those who frequent her altars. Our and he is equally ready to assist the magistrate in whole conduct therefore, I am sure, will meet with the execution of the laws, and the subject in defence of his right; and so long as this noble attachthe utmost candor of her vOTARIES: but I am wishing we may be able to convert even her basestment to a constitution, founded on free and benevolent principles, exists in full vigor, in any state, that state must be flourishing and happy.


It was this noble attachment to a free constitu.

sion is no longer remembered, the minds of the parties being wholly engaged in recollecting and resenting the mutual expressions of their dislike.

When feuds have reached that fatal point, considerations of reason and equity vanish, and a blind fury governs, or rather confounds all things. A people no longer regard their interest, but a gratifica.

tion of their wrath."


ORATION DELIVERED AT BOSTON, MARCH 5, 1772, BY JOSEPH WARREN. Quis talia fando, Myrmidonum, Dolopumve, aut duri miles Ülyssei, Temperet a lacrymis. When we turn over the historic page, and trace the rise and fall of states and empires, the mighty revolutions which have so often varied the face of the world strike our minds with solemn surprise, and we are naturally led to endeavor to search out

We are SLAVEs until we obtain such redress, through the justice of our king, as our happy con.

*I do not think the quo WARRANTO against our first charter, was tried in a proper court.

* Omnes ordines ad conservamdam rempublicam, mente, voluntate, studio, virtute, voce, consentiunt. CICERO.

solutely as they possibly could be by any human instrument which can be devised. And it is undeniably true,,that the greatest and most important right of a British subject is, that he shall be govern

⚫tion which raised ancient Rome, from the smallest beginnings, to that bright summit of happiness and glory to which she arrived; and it was the loss of this which plunged her from that summit into the black gulph of infamy and slavery. It was this at-ed by no laws but those to which he either in person or tachment which inspired her senators with wisdom; by his representative hath given his consent: and this it was this which glowed in the breast of her he- I will venture to assert, is the grand basis of Briroes; it was this which guarded her liberties and tish feeedom; it is interwoven with the constitution; extended her dominions, gave peace at home, and and whenever this is lost, the constitution must be commanded respect abroad: and when this decay-destroyed. ed, her magistrates lost their reverence for justice The British constitution (of which ours is a copy) and the laws, and degenerated into tyrants and op. is a happy compound of the three forms (under pressors-her senators, forgetful of their dignity, some of which all governments may be ranged) viz. and seduced by base corruption, betrayed their monarchy, aristocracy,and democracy: of these three country-her soldiers, regardless of their relation the British legislature is composed, and without the to the community, and urged only by the hopes of consent of each branch, nothing can carry with it plunder and rapine, unfeelingly committed the the force of a law; but when a law is to be passed most flagrant enormities; and hired to the trade of for raising a tax, that law can originate only in the death, with relentless fury, they perpetrated the democratic branch, which is the house of commons most cruel murders, whereby the streets of impe- in Britain, and the house of representatives here rial Rome were drenched with her noblest blood-The reason is obvious: they and their constitu- . Thus this empress of the world lost her dominions ents are to pay much the largest part of it; but as abroad, and her inhabitants, dissolute in their man- the aristocratic branch, which, in Britain, is the ners, at length became contented slaves; and she house of lords, and in this province, the council, stands to this day, the scorn and derision of nations, are also to pay some part, THEIR consent is necesand a monument of this eternal truth, that PUBLIC sary; and as the monarchic branch, which in BriHAPPINESS DEPENDS ON A VIRTUOUS AND UNSHAKEN tain is the king, and with us, either the king in ATTACHMENT TO A FREE CONSTITUTION. person, or the governor whom he shall be pleased to appoint to act in his stead, is supposed to have a just sense of his own interest, which is that of all the subjects in general, ars consent is also necessary, and when the consent of these three branches is obtained, the taxation is most certainly legal. Let us now allow ourselves a few moments to

It was this attachment to a constitution, founded on free and benevolent principles, which inspired the first settlers of this country:-they saw with grief the daring outrages committed on the free constitution of their native land-they knew that nothing but a civil war could at that time restore its pristine purity. So hard was it to resolve to embrue their hands in the blood of their brethren, that they chose rather to quit their fair possessions and seek another habitation in a distant clime.When they came to this new world, which they fairly purchased of the Indian natives, the only rightful proprietors, they cultivated the then barren soil, by their incessant labor, and defended their dear-bought possessions with the fortitude of the christain, and the bravery of the bero.

examine the late acts of the British parliament for taxing America-Let us with candor judge whether they are constitutionally binding upon us:—if they are, IN THE NAME OF JUSTICE let us submit to them, without one murmuring word.

First, I would ask whether the members of the British bouse of commons are the democracy of this province? if they are, they are either the peqple of this province, or are elected by the people of this province, to represent them, and have therefore a constitutional right to originate a bill for taxing them: it is most certain they are neither; and therefore nothing done by them can be said to be done by the democratic branch of our constitution. I would next ask, whether the lords, who compose the aristocratic branch of the legislature, are peers of America? I never heard it was (even

After various struggles, which, during the tyrannic reigns of the house of Stuart, were constantly kept up between right and wrong, between liberty and slavery, the connection between Great Britain and this colony was settled in the reign of king William and queen Mary, by a compact, the condi. tions of which were expressed in a charter; by which all the liberties and immunities of British subjects, in those extraordinary times) so much as pretendwere confined to this province, as fully and as ab-ed, and if they are not, certainly no act of there

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