« PreviousContinue »
to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find, which have not already been exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer. Sir, we have done everything that could be done, to avert the storm which is now coming on.
We have petitioned; -we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the Ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free -- if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending — if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged,
and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon, until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained — we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us !
They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak,
, if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the act
ive, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat, but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable — and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.
It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
CONSEQUENCES WHICH WOULD HAVE
RESULTED HAD ENGLAND
HAT would have been the consequences, sir,
if we had been conquered? Were we not fighting against that majesty? Would the justice of our opposition have been considered? The most horrid forfeitures, confiscations, and attainders, would have been pronounced against us. Consider their history, from the time of William the First till this day. Were not his Normans gratified with the confiscation of the richest estates in England? Read the excessive cruelties, attainders and confiscations of that reign. England depopulated, its inhabitants stripped of the dearest privileges of humanity, degraded with the most ignominious badges of bondage, and totally deprived of the power of resistance to usurpation and tyranny. This inability continued to the time of Henry the Eighth. In his reign, the business of confiscation and attainder made considerable havoc. After his reign, some stop was put to the effusion of blood which preceded and happened under it. Recollect the sad and lam
entable effects of the York and Lancastrian wars. Remember the rancorous hatred and inveterate detestations of contending factions, the distinction of white and red roses. To come a little lower: what happened in that island in the rebellions of 1715 and 1745? If we had been conquered, would not our men have shared the fate of the people of Ireland? A great part of that island was confiscated, though the Irish people thought themselves engaged in a laudable cause. What confiscation and punishments were inflicted in Scotland? The plains of Culloden, and the neighboring gibbets would show you. I thank heaven that the spirit of liberty, under the protection of the Almighty, saved us from experiencing so hard a destiny. But had we been subdued, would not every right have been wrested from us? What right would have been saved? Would debts have been saved? Would it not be absurd to save debts while they should burn, hang and destroy?
Before we can decide with precision, we are to consider the dangers we should have been exposed to had we been subdued. After presenting to your view this true picture of what would have been our situation, had we been subjugated, surely a correspondent right will be found, growing out of the law of nations, in our favor. Had