« PreviousContinue »
acts which, upon fair examination, appeared to
The ruinous consequences of standing armies to free communities, may be seen in the histories of SYRACUSE, Rome, and many other once flourishing
can be said to be the act of the aristocratic branc!. ression should be enforce! by another, and t re-. of our constitution. The power of the monarchic [fore, contrary to our just rights as possessing, or branch we, with pleasure, acknowledge resides in at least having a just title to possess, all the liberthe king, who may act either in person or by his re-ties and IMMUNITIES of British subjects, a standing presentative; and I freely confess that I can see no army was established among us in time of peace; reason why a PROCLAMATION for raising in Ame- and evidently for the purpose of effecting that, rica, issued by the king's sole authority, would not which it was one principle design of the founders be equally consistent with our own constitution, of the constitution to prevent, (when they declared and therefore equally binding upon us with the lute a standing army in a time of peace to be AGAINST acts of the British parliament for taxing us; for it is LAW) namely, for the enforcement of obedience plain, that if there is any validity in those acts, it must arise altogether from the monarchical branch be unjust and unconstitutional. of the legislature: and I further think that it would be at least as equitable; for I do not conceive it to be of the least importance to us by whom our property is taken away, so long as it is taken without states; some of which have now scarce a name! our consent; and I am very much at a loss to know their baneful influence is most suddenly felt, when by what figure of rhetoric, the inhabitants of this they are placed in populous cities; for, by a corprovince can be called FREE SUBJECTS, when they ruption of morals, the public happiness is immeare obliged to obey implicitly, such laws as are made diately affected? and that this is one of the effects for them by men three thousand miles off, whom of quartering troops in a populous city, is a truth, they know not, and whom they never empowered to which many a mourning parent, many a lost, deto act for them, or how they can be said to have pairing child in this metropolis, must bear a very PROPERTY, when a body of men, over whom they nelancholy testimony. Soldiers are also taught have not the least control, and who are not in any to consider arms as the only arbiters by which way accountable to them, shall oblige them to de every dispute is to be decided between contending liver up any part, or the whole of their substance, states;-they are instructed implicitly to obey their without even asking their consent: and yet whoever commanders, without enquiring into the justice of pretends that the late acts of the British parlia- he cause they are engaged to support: hence it is, ment for taxing America ought to be deemed bind-that they are ever to be dreaded as the ready ening upon us, must admit at once that we are ab-gines of tyranny and oppression. And it is too obsolute SLAVES, and have no property of our servable that they are prone to introduce the same own; or else that we may be FREEMEN, and at the mode of decision in the disputes of individuals, and same time under a necessity of obeying the arbitru- from thence have often arisen great animosites bery commands of those over whom we have no contween them and the inhabitants, who, whilst in a trol or influence, and that we may HAVE PROPERTY naked, defenceless state, are frequently insulted OF OUR OWN, which is entirely at the disposal of and abused by an armed soldiery. And this will another. Such gross absurdities, I believe will not be more especially the case, when the troops are be relished in this enlightened age: and it can be informed that the intention of their being stationed no matter of wonder that the people quickly per in any city, is to OVERAWE THE INHABITANTS. ceived, and seriously complained of the inroads this was the avowed design of stationing an armed which these acts must unavoidably make upon their force in this town, is sufficiently known; and wɛ, liberty, and of the hazard to which their whole pro- ny fellow citizens, have seen, we have felt the traperty is by them exposed; for, if they may be taxed gical effects!-THE FATAL FIFTH OF MARCH, without their consent, even in the smallest trifle, 1770, CAN NEVER BE FORGOTTEN―The horrors of they may also, without their consent, be deprived THAT DREADFUL NIGHT are but too deeply impressed of every thing they possess, although never so va on our hearts-Language is too feeble to paint luable, never so dear. Certainly it never entered the emotion of our souls, when our streets were the hearts of our ancestors, that after so many dan stained with the BLOOD OF OUR BRETHREN,-when gers in this then desolate wilderness, their hard- our ears were wounded by the groans of the dying, earned property should be at the disposal of the and our eyes were tormented with the sight of the British parliament; and as it was soon found that mangled bodies of the dead. When our alarmed this taxation could not be supported by reason and imagination presented to our view our houses wrapt argument, it seemed necessary that one act of op- jin lumes,—our children subjected to the barbarous
with regard to us, is truly astonishing! what can be proposed by the repeated attacks made upon our freedom, I really cannot surmise; even leaving jus tice and humanity out of question. I do not know
Caprice of the raging soldiery,-our beauteous virgins exposed to all the insolence of unbridled pas sion,-our virtuous wives, endeared to us by every tender tie, falling a sacrifice to worse than brutal violence, and perhaps, like the famed LUCRETIA, one single advantage which can arise to the Bridistracted with anguish and despair, ending their tish nation, from our being enslaved:--I know not wretched lives by their own fair hands. When of any gains, which can be wrung from us by op. we beheld the authors of our distress parading in pression, which they may not obtain from us by our our streets, or drawn up in a regular battalia, as own consent, in the smooth channel of commerce: though in a hostile city, our hearts beat to arms; we wish the wealth and prosperity of Britain; wa we snatched our weapons, almost resolved, by one contribute largely to both. Doth what we contridecisive stroke, to avenge the death of our SLAUGH-bute lose all its value, because it is done voluntariTERED BRETHREN, and to secure from future dan-ly? the amazing increase of riches to Britain, the ger, all that we held most dear: but propitious great rise of the value of her lands, the flourishing heaven forbade the bloody carnage, and saved the state of her navy, are striking proofs of the advanthreatned victims of our too keen resentment, not tages derived to her from her commerce with the by their dissipline, not by their regular array,-no, colonies; and it is our earnest desire that she may it was royal GEORGE's livery that proved their still continue to enjoy the same emoluments, until shield--it was that which turned the pointed en her streets are paved with AMERICAN GOLD; only, gines of destruction from their breasts. Thlet us have the pleasure of calling it our own, whilst thoughts of vengeance were soon buried in our init is in our o vn hands; but this it seems is too great bred affection to Great Britain, and calm reaso a favor-we are to be governed by the absolute comdictated a method of removing the troops more mand of others; our property is to be taken away withmild than an immediate recurse to the sword.[out our consent—if we complain, our complaints are With united efforts you urged the immediate d treated with contempt; if we assert our rights, that parture of the troops from the town-you urge assertion is deemed insolence; if we humbly offer it, with a resolution which ensured success-you to submit the matter to the impartial decision of obtained your wishes, and the removal of the troops reason, the swonn is judged the most proper arguwas effected, without one drop of their blood being ment to silence our murmurs! but this cannot long shed by the inhabitants. be the case-surely the British nation will not suf fer the reputation of their justice and their honor, to be thus sported away by a capricious ministry; no, they will in a short time open their eyes to
The immediate actors in the tragedy of THAT Tour, were surrendered to justice.It is not mine to say how far they were guilty? they have been tried by the country and ACQUITTED to their true interest: they nourish in their of murder! and they are not to be again arraigned at own breasts, a noble love of liberty; they hold an earthly bar: but, surely the men who have promis.her dear, and they know that all who have once cuously scattered death amidst the innocent inhabi tants of a populous city, ought to see well to it, that they be prepared to stand at the bar of an omniscient judge! and all who contrived or encouraged the stationing troops in this place have reasons of eternal importance, to reflect with deep contrition, on their base designs. and humbly to repent of their impious machinations.
possessed her charms, had rather die than suffer her to be torn from their embraces--they are also sensible that Britain is so deeply interested in the prosperity of the colonies, that she must eventually feel every wound given to their freedom; they cannot be ignorant that more dependence may be placed on the affections of a brother, than on the forced service of a slave; they must approve your efforts for the preservation of your rights; from a sympathy of soul they must pray for your success: and I doubt not but they will, e'er long, exert them. selves effectually, to redress your grievances. Even in the dissolute reign of king CHARLES II. when the house of commons impeached the earl of Clarendon of high treason, the first article on which they founded their accusation was, that "he had de signed a standing army to be raised, and to govern the kingdom thereby." And the eighth article was, that
The infatuation which hath seemed, for a number of years, to prevail in the British commels,
I have the stronges! reason to believe that I have mentioned the only circumstance which save! the troops from destruction. It was then, and now is, the opinion of those who were best acquainted with the state of affairs at that time, that had thrice that number of troops, belonging to any power at open war with us, been in this town, in the same exposed condition, scarce a man would have lived to have seen the morning light.
"he had introduced an arbitrary government into his majesty's plantation." A terrifying example to those who are now forging chains for this COUNTRY.
vain, if you, our offspring, want valor to repel the assaults of her invaders!- -Stain not the glory of your worthy ancestors, but like them resolve, neVer to part with your birth-right; be wise in your
You have, my friends and countrymen, frustrated the designs of your enemies, by your unanimity and deliberations, and determined in your exertions for the preservation of your liberties. Follow not the dictates of passion, but enlist yourselves under the sacred banner of reason; use every method in your power to secure your rights; at least prevent the curses of posterity from being heaped upon your memories.
fortitude: it was your union and determined spirit which expelled those troops, who polluted your streets with INNOCENT BLOOD. You have appointed this anniversary as a standard memorial of the
BLOODY CONSEQUENCES OF PLACING AN ARMED FORCE
IN A POPULOUS CITY, and of your deliverance from the dangers which then seemed to hang over your If you, with united zeal and fortitude, oppose heads; and I am confident that you never will be the torrent of oppression; if you feel the true fire tray the least want of spirit when called upon to of patriotism burning in your breasts: if you, from guard your freedom. None but they who set a just your souls, despise the most gaudy dress that slavalue upon the blessings of liberty are worthy to very can wear; if you really prefer the lonely cotenjoy her--your illustrious fathers were her zeal tage (whilst blest with liberty) to gilded palaces. ous votaries-when the blasting frowns of tyranny surrounded with the ensigns of slavery, you may drove her from public view, they clasped her in have the fullest assurance that tyranny, with her their arms, they cherished her in their generous whole accursed train, will hide their hideous heads bosoms, they brought her safe over the rough in confusion, shame and despair--if you perform ocean, and fixed her seat in this then dreary wilder your part, you must have the strongest confidence, ness; they nursed her infant age with the most ten-that THE SAME ALMIGHTY BEING who protected your der care; for her sake, they patiently bore the se- pious and venerable forefathers-who enabled them verest hardships; for her support, they underwent to turn a barren wilderness into a fruitful field, the most rugged toils: in her defence, they boldly who so often made bare his arm for their salvation, encountered the most alarming dangers; neither will still be mindful of you, their offspring. the ravenous beasts that ranged the woods for prey, nor the more furious savages of the wilderness, could damp their ardor!-Whilst with one hand they broke the stubborn glebe, with the other they grasped their weapons, ever ready to protect her from danger. No sacrifice, not even their own blood, was esteemed too rich a libation for her altar! GoD prospered their valor; they preserved her brilliancy unsullied; they enjoyed her whilst they lived, and dying, bequeathed the dear inheritance to your care. And as they left you this glorious legacy, they have undoubtedly transmitted to you some portion of their noble spirit, to inspire you with virtue to merit ber, and courage to preserve her: you surely cannot, with such examples before your eyes, as every page of the history of this country affords, suffer your liberties to be ravished from you by lawless force, or cajoled away by flattery and fraud.
May THIS ALMIGHTY BEING graciously pre side in all our councils. May he direct us to such measures as he himself shall approve, and be pleased to bless. May we ever be a people favored of GOD. May our land be a land of liberty, the seat of virtue, the asylum of the oppressed, a name and a praise in the whole earth, until the last shock of time shall bury the empires of the world in one common undistinguished ruin!
At simul heroum laudes, et facta parentis
ORATION, DELIVERED AT BOSTON, MARCH 5, 1773,
O passi graviora, dabit Deus his quoque finem;
Virgil, Ene. I. From a consciousness of inability, MY FRIENDS AND FELLOW COUNTRYMEN, I have repeatedly declined the duties of this anniversary. Nothing but a firm attachment to the tottering liberties of
The voice of your fathers' blood cries to you from the ground, MY SONS SCORN TO BE SLAVES! in vain we met the frowns of tyrants--in vain we crossed America® added to the the irresistible importunity the boisterous ocean, found a new world, and pre-of some valued friends, could have induced me (espared it for the happy residence of LIBERTY-in pecially with a very short notice) so far as to misvain we toiled-in vain we fought-we bled in
Periculosa plenum opus aleæ
take my abilities, as to render the utmost extent, instruments, and passive objects of the caprice of of your candor truly indispensable. an individual.
When man was unconnected by social obliga- Mankind, apprised of their privileges, in being tions; abhorrent to every idea of dependence; rational and free, in prescribing civil laws to themactuated by a savage ferocity of mind, displayed in selves, had surely no intention of being enchained the brutality of his manners, the necessary exigencies of each individual, naturally impelled him to acts of treachery, violence and murder.
by any of their equals; and although they submitted voluntary adherents to certain laws, for the sake of mutual security and happiness, they, no doubt, intended by the original compact, a permanent exemption of the subject body from any claims, which were not expressly surrendered, for the purpose of obtaining the security and defence of the whole. Can it possibly be conceived, that they would voluntarily be enslaved by a power of their own crea
The miseries of mankind thus proclaiming eter. nal war with their species, led them, probably, to consult certain measures to arrest the current of such outrageous enormities.
A sense of their wants and weakness, in a state of nature, doubtless inclined them to such recipro cal aids and support, as eventually established society.
The constitution of a magistrate does not, therefore, take away that lawful defence against force and injury, allowed by the law of nature; we are not to obey a prince, ruling above the limits of the power entrusted to him; for the commonwealth, by constituting a head, does not deprive itself of the power of its own preservation.* Government and magistracy, whether supreme or subordinate, is a mere human ordinance, and the laws of every na
Encreasing, society afterwards exacted, that the tacit contract made with her by each individual, at the time of his being incorporated, should receive tion are the measure of magistratical power: and a more solemn form to become authentic and irre-kings, the servants of the state, when they degenefragable; the main object being to add force to the rate into tyrants, forfeit their right to government. laws, proportionate to the power and extent of the body corporate, whose energy they were to di
Men then began to incorporate; subordination succeeded to independence; order to anarchy; and passions were disarmed by civilization: society lent its aid to secure the weak from oppression, who wisely took shelter within the sanctuary of law.
Breach of trust in a governor,† or attempting to enlarge a limited power, effectually absolves subjects from every bond of covenant and peace; the Then society availed herself of the sacrifice of crimes acted by a king against the people, are the highest treason against the highest law among men.‡ that liberty and that natural equality of which we are all conscious: superiors and magistrates were "If the king (says Grotius) hath one part of appointed, and mankind submitted to a civil and the supreme power, and the other part is in the political subordination. This is truly a glorious senate or people, when such a king shall invade inspiration of reason, by whose influence, notwith-that part which doth not belong to him, it shall standing the inclination we have for independence, be lawful to oppose a just force to him, because we accept control, for the establishment of order.his power doth not extend so far."
The question, in short, turns upon this single Although unrestrained power in one person may have been the first and most natural recourse of point, respecting the power of the civil magistrate. mankind, from rapine and disorder; yet all restric. is it the end of that office, that one particular pertions of power, made by laws, or participation of son may do what he will without restraint? or rasovereignty, are apparent improvements upon what ther that society should be made happy and se. cure? the answer is very obvious-And it is my began in unlimited power. firm opinion that the equal justice of Gon, and the natural freedom of mankind, must stand or fall together.
It would shock humanity, should I attempt to describe those barbarous and tragic scenes, which crimson the historic page of this wretched and detestable constitution, where absolute dominion is lodged in one person: where one makes the whole, and the whole is nothing. What motives, what events, could have been able to subdue men, endowed with reason, to render themselves the mutel
When rulers become tyrants, they cease to be kings: they can no longer be respected as God's vicegerenis, who violate the laws they were sworn
*The celebrated Mrs. Macaulay.
Salus populi suprema lex esto,
to protect. The preacher may tell us of passive obe- freely on every object worthy its attention, when dence, that tyrants are scourges in the hands of a the privileges of mankind are thoroughly compre. righteous God to chastise a sinful nation, and are hended, and the rights of distinct societies are ob. to be submitted to like plagues, famine and such jects of liberal enquiry. The rod of the tyrant no like judgments: such doctrine may serve to mis longer excites our apprehensions, and to the frown lead ill judging princes into a faise security; but men of the DESPOT, which made the darker ages tremare not be harrangued out of their senses; human ble, we dare oppose demands of right, and appeal nature and self-preservation will eternally arm the to that constitution, which holds even kings in brave and vigilant, against slavery and oppression.
It is easy to project the subversion of a people, when men behold them, the ignorant or indolent victims of power; but it is difficult to effect their ruin, when they are apprised of their just claims,
As a despotic government* is evidently produc tive of the most shocking calamities, whatever tends to restrain such inordinate power, though in itself a severe evil, is extremely beneficial to society; for where a degrading servitude is the deand are sensibly and seasonably affected with testable alternative, who can shudder at the reluc- thoughts for their preservation. God be thanked, tant poignard of a Brutus, the crimsoned axe of a the alarm is gone forth,f the people are universally informed of their CHARTER RIGHTS; they esteem Cromwell, or the reeking dagger of a Ravillac. them to be the ark of GOD TO NW-ENGLAND, and like that of old, may it deal destruction to the profane hand that shall dare to touch it.
To enjoy life as becomes rational creatures, to possess our souls with pleasure and satisfaction,
we must be careful to maintain that inestimable blessing, liberty. By liberty I would be understood,| the happiness of living under laws of our own mak. ing, by our personal consent, or that of our repre. sentatives.t
Without this, the distinctions among mankind are but different degrees of misery; for as the true estimate of a man's life consists in conducting it according to his own just sentiment and innocent inclinations, his being is degraded below that of a free agent, which heaven has made him, when his affection and passions are no longer governed by the dictates of his own mind, and the interests of human society, but by the arbitrary, unrestrained
will of another.
In every state or society of men, personal liberty and security must depend upon the collective power of the whole, acting for the general interest. If this collective power is not of the whole, the freedom and interest of the whole is not secured: If this confluent power acts by a partial delegation,
I thank God we live in an age of rational inquisition, when the unfettered mind dares to expatiate
* Cœlum non animum mutant, qui trans mare currunt. The citizens of Rome, Sparta, or Lacedemon, at those blessed periods when they were most eminent for their attachment to liberty and virtue, could never exhibit brighter examples of patriotic zeal, than are to be found at this day in America; I will not presume to say that the original British spirit has improved by transplanting; but this I dare affirm, that should Britons stoop toppression, the struggles of their American brethren, will be their eternal reproach.
†The instituting a committee of grievances and correspondence by the town of Boston, has served this valuable purpose: The general infraction of the rights of all the colonies, mus finally reduce the discordant provinces, to a necessary combina tion for their mutual interest and defence: Some future congress will be the glorious source of the salvation of America: The Amphictiones of Greece, who formed the diet or great council of the states, exhibit an excellent model for the rising Ameri
The ingratitude and curruption of Rome is, perhaps, in no instance, more strongly marked than in her treatment of her colonies; by their labors, oils, and arms, she bad reached to that summit of glorious exciation, as to be like Britain, the won der and dread of the world; but by fatai experience those ruined colonies inculcate this serious lesson, the ambition of a DESPOT is boundless; his rapine is insatiable; the accomplishment of his conquest over his enemies, is but the introduction of slavery, with her concomitant piagues, to his friends.
†The very idea of representative, deputy or trús tee, includes that of a constituent, whose interest they are ordained and appointed to promote and seof, and crammed down their throats, by measures cure; wry unappointed, self constituted agent in the equally iniquitous.
Brits parliament, has fraudulently and arbitrarily I will not alarm the sticklers for the present surrendered my best interest, without my privity; measures, by confronting them with more stale or consent; I do therefore hereby protest agains.authorities, if they will permit me the following all such powers as he shall claim in my behalf, and short but express declaration of Sidney, which they nost solemnly discard him my service forever-may chew at leisure. No MAN CAN GIVE THAT WHICH See Lock, civil government. Risum teneatis amici. IS ANOTHER'S.
#Lord chief justice Coke observes "hen any new device is moved in the king's behalf, for aid or the like, the commons may answer, they dare not agree without conference with their counties." The novel device of fleecing the colonies, was introduced in a way the constitution knows not