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man's door. Those distinguished by uncommon force, dignity, and ability, have been received with eagerness and read with attention. Public sentiment has supplied the imprimatur, therefore, under which the present volume appears. It was, at one time, the hope of the publishers to present a collection of revolutionary speeches; but the attempt was given up in despair. Those Sibylline leaves have long been scattered to the winds. The fervid addresses which roused our forefathers to action, did their brief business successfully; but the soldiers they made had no time to be chroniclers. The old congress, it is believed, employed no reporters; the fame of their eloquence is therefore but traditionary :
“ Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona
Nocte, carent quia vate sacro." It is to be presumed, however, that many of their sentiments, though the language in which they were clothed is irretrievably lost, may be sought successfully in the following pages. There are names upon them that have never yet disgraced their revolutionary predecessors.
man's door. Those distinguished by uncommon force,
appears. It was, at one time, the hope
" Vixere fortes ante Agamemnona
Nocte, carent quia vate sacro.
SPEECH OF JAMES WILSON,
IN THE CONVENTION FOR THE PROVINCE OF PENNSYLVANIA,
IN VINDICATION OF THE COLONIES.
“ A most daring spirit of resistance and disobedience still prevails in Mas
sachusetts, and has broken forth in fresh violences of a criminal nature. The most proper and effectual methods have been taken to prevent these mischiefs ; and the parliament may depend upon a firm resolution to withstand every attempt to weaken or impair the supreme authority of parliament over all the dominions of the crown."-Speech of the King of Great Britain to Parliament, Nov. 1774.
MR. CHAIRMAN, Whence, sir, proceeds all the invidious and ill-grounded clamor against the colonists of America ? Why are they stigmatized in Britain as licentious and ungovernable? Why is their virtuous opposition to the illegal attempts of their governors, represented under the falsest colors, and placed in the most ungracious point of view? This opposition, when exhibited in its true light, and when viewed, with unjaundiced eyes, from a proper situation, and at a proper distance, stands confessed the lovely offspring of freedom. It breathes the spirit of its parent. Of this ethereal spirit, the whole conduct, and particularly the late conduct, of the colonists has shown them eminently possessed. It has animated and regulated every part of their proceedings. It has been recognized to be genuine, by all those symptoms and effects by which it has been distinguished in other ages and other countries. It has been calm and regular : it has not acted without occasion : it has not acted disproportionably to the occasion. As the attempts, open or secret, to undermine or to destroy it, have been repeated or enforced, in a just degree, its vigilance and its vigor have been exerted to defeat or to disappoint them. As its exertions have been sufficient for those purposes hitherto, let us hence draw a joyful prognostic, that they will continue sufficient for those purposes hereafter. It is not yet exhausted: it will still operate irresistibly whenever a necessary occasion shall call forth its strength. Permit me, sir, by appealing, in a few instances, to the spirit and conduct of the colonists, to evince that what I have said of them is just. Did they disclose any uneasiness at the proceedings and claims of the British parliament, before those claims and proceedings afforded a reasonable cause for it? Did they even disclose any uneasiness, when a reasonable cause for it was first given ? Our rights were invaded by their regulations of our internal policy. _We submitted to them: we were unwilling to oppose them. The spirit of liberty was slow to act. When those invasions were renewed ; when the efficacy and malignancy of them were attempted to be redoubled by the stamp act; when chains were formed for us; and preparations were made for riveting them on our limbs, what measures did we pursue? The spirit of liberty found it necessary now to act; but she acted with the calmness and decent dignity suited to her character. Were we rash or seditious ? Did we discover want of loyalty to our sovereign ? Did we betray want of affection to our brethren in Britain ? Let our dutiful and reverential petitions to the one; let our respectful, though firm, remonstrances to the parliament; let our warm and affectionate addresses to our brethren and (we will still call them) our friends in Great Britain,-let all those, transmitted from every part of the continent, testify the truth. By their testimony let our conduct be tried.
As our proceedings, during the existence and operation of the stamp act, prove fully and incontestably the painful sensations that tortured our breasts from the prospect of disunion with Britain ; the peals of joy, which burst forth universally, upon the repeal of that odious statute, loudly proclaim the heartfelt delight produced in us by a reconciliation with her. Unsuspicious, because 'undesigning, we buried our complaints, and the causes of them, in oblivion, and returned, with eagerness, to our former unreserved confidence. Our connection with our parent country, and the reciprocal blessings resulting from it to her and to us, were the favorite and pleasing topics of our public discourses and our private conversations. Lulled into delightful security, we dreamed of nothing but increasing fondness and friendship, cemented and strengthened by a kind and perpetual communication of good offices. Soon, however, too soon, were we awakened from the soothing dreams! Our enemies renewed their designs against us, not with less malice, but with more art. Under the plausible pretence of regulating our trade, and, at the same time, of making provision for the administration of justice, and the support of government, in some of the colonies, they pursued their scheme of depriving us of our property without our consent. As the attempts to distress us, and to degrade us to a rank inferior to that of freemen, appeared now to be reduced into a regular system, it became proper, on our part, to form a regular system for counteracting them. We ceased to