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I will not wear your patience and my own, by contending with those chimeras they have raised, to fright the people from remedying the only real defect of this government. Nor will I dwell upon that wretched system of policy, which has sunk the interest and reputation of such states in the great council of America, and drawn upon them the hatred and contempt of their neighbors. Who will deny, that the most serious evils daily flow from the debility of our federal constitution? Who but owns, that we are, at this moment, colonies, for every purpose but that of internal taxation, to the nation from which we vainly hoped our sword had freed us ? Who but sees, with indignation, British ministers daily dictating laws for the destruction of our commerce? Who but laments the ruin of that brave, hardy and generous race of men, who are necessary for its support? Who but feels, that we are degraded from the rank we ought to hold among the nations of the earth? Despised by some, maltreated by others, and unable to defend ourselves against the cruel depredations of the most contemptible pirates. At this moment, yes, great God! at this moment, some among those, perhaps, who have labored for the establishment of our freedom, are groaning in barbarian bondage. Hands, that may have wielded the sword in our defence, are loaded with chains. Toilsome tasks, gloomy prisons, whips and tortures, are the portion of men, who have triumphed with us, and exulted in the idea of giving being to nations, and freedom to unnumbered generations !
These, sirs, these are a few of the many evils that result from the want of a federal government. Our internal constitutions may make us happy at home, but nothing short of a federal one can render us safe or respectable abroad. Let us not, however, in our eagerness to attain one, forget to preserve the other inviolate; for better is distress abroad, than tyranny and anarchy at home. A precious deposit is given into our keeping: we hold in our hands the fate of future generations. While we acknowledge, that no govern ment can exist, without confidence in the governing power, let us also remember, that none can remain free, where that confidence is incautiously bestowed,
How, gentlemen, shall I apologize for having obtruded this serious address upon the gayeties of this happy day? I told you, and told you truly, that I was ill qualified to play the holiday orator; and I might have added, that the joy of this day is ever attended, in my mind, with a thousand mingled emotions. Reflection on the past brings to memory a variety of tender and interesting events; while hope and fear, anxiety and pleasure, alternately possess me, when I endeavor to pierce the veil of futurity. But never, never before, have they pressed upon me with the weight they do at present. I feel that some change is necessary; and yet I dread, lest the demon of jealousy should prevent such change; or the restless spirit of innovation, should carry us beyond what is necessary. I look round for aid; I see in you a band of patriots—the supporters of your country's rights: I feel myself indebted to you for the freedom we enjoy: I know, that your emotions cannot be different from my own; and I strive, by giving you the same views on these important subjects, to unite your efforts in the common cause. Let us, then, preserve pure and perfect, those principles of friendship for each other, of love for our country, of respect for the union, which supported us in our past difficulties. Let us reject the trammels of party; and, as far as our efforts will go, call every man to the post, his virtues and abilities entitle him to occupy. Let us watch, with vigilant attention, over the conduct of those in power ; but let us not, with coward caution, restrain their efforts to be useful; and let us implore that omnipotent Being, who gave us strength and wisdom in the hour of danger, to direct our great council to that happy mean, which may afford us respect and security abroad, and peace, liberty and prosperity at home.
TWELVE UNITED COLONIES, BY THEIR DELEGATES IN CON
GRESS, TO THE INHABITANTS OF GREAT BRITAIN :
FRIENDS, COUNTRYMEN AND BRETHREN! By these, and by every other appellation that may designate the ties which bind us to each other, we entreat your serious attention to this our second attempt to prevent their dissolution. Remembrance of former friendships, pride in the glorious achievements of our common ancestors, and affection for the heirs of their virtues, have hitherto preserved our mutual connexion; but when that friendship is violated by the grossest injuries; when the pride of ancestry becomes our reproach, and we are no otherwise allied than as tyrants and slaves ; when reduced to the melancholy alternative of renouncing your favor or our freedom; can we hesitate about the choice? Let the spirit of Britons determine.
In a former address, we asserted our rights, and stated the injuries we had then received. We hoped, that the mention of our wrongs would have roused that honest indignation which has slept too long for your honor or the welfare of the empire. But we have not been permitted to entertain this pleasing expectation. Every day brought an accumulation of injuries, and the invention of the ministry has been constantly exercised in adding to the calamities of your American brethren.
* Of the numerous speeches in Congress, and popular addresses, of " the American Cicero,” none are extant which justify his high reputation as an orator. This address to the inhabitants of Great Britain, is undoubtedly the production of his pen, and to use the words of his biographer," is an imperishable monument to his genius and eloquence." --COMPILER.
After the most valuable right of legislation was infringed; when the powers, assumed by your parliament, in which we are not represented, and from our local and other circumstances, cannot properly be represented, rendered our property precarious; after being denied that mode of trial, to which we have long been indebted for the safety of our persons, and the preservation of our liberties; after being, in many instances, divested of those laws which were transmitted to us by our common ancestors, and subjected to an arbitrary code, compiled under the auspices of Roman tyrants ; after those charters, which encouraged our predecessors to brave death and danger in every shape, on unknown seas, in deserts unexplored, amidst barbarous and inhospitable nations, were annulled; when, without the form of trial, without a public accusation, whole colonies were condemned, their trade destroyed, their inhabitants impoverished; when soldiers were encouraged to imbrue their hands in the blood of Americans, by offers of impunity; when new modes of trial were instituted for the ruin of the accused, where the charge carried with it the horrors of conviction; when a despotic government was established in a neighboring province, and its limits extended to every of our frontiers; we little imagined that anything could be added to this black catalogue of unprovoked injuries: but we have unhappily been deceived, and the late measures of the British ministry fully convince us, that their object is the reduction of these colonies to slavery and ruin.
To confirm this assertion, let us recall your attention to the affairs of America, since our last address. Let us combat the calumnies of our enemies; and let us warn you of the dangers that threaten you in our destruction. Many of your fellow subjects, whose situa
tion deprived them of other support, drew their maintenance from the sea; but the deprivation of our liberty being insufficient to satisfy the resentment of our enemies, the horrors of famine were superadded : and a British parliament, who, in better times, were the protectors of innocence, and the patrons of humanity, have, without distinction of age or sex, robbed thousands of the food which they were accustomed to draw from that inexhaustible source, placed in their neighborhood by the benevolent Creator.
Another' act of your legislature shuts our ports, and prohibits our trade with any but those states, from whom the great law of self-preservation renders it absolutely necessary we should at present withhold our com
But this act, (whatever may have been its design,) we consider rather as injurious to your opulence than our interest. All our commerce terminates with you; and the wealth, we procure from other nations, is soon exchanged for your superfluities. Our remittances must then cease with our trade; and our refinements with our affluence. We trust, however, that laws, which deprive us of every blessing but a soil that teems with the necessaries of life, and that liberty, which renders the enjoyment of them secure, will not relax our vigor in their defence.
We might here observe on the cruelty and inconsistency of those, who, while they publicly brand us with reproachful and unworthy epithets, endeavor to deprive us of the means of defence, by their interposition with foreign powers, and to deliver us to the lawless ravages of a merciless soldiery. But happily we are not without resources; and though the timid and humiliating applications of a British ministry should prevail with foreign nations, yet industry, prompted by necessity, will not leave us without the necessary supplies.
We could wish to go no further, and, not to wound the ear of humanity, leave untold those rigorous acts of oppression, which are daily exercised in the town of