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triumphant on the ocean; the terror of her arms spreading to every quarter of the globe. The colonist found himself free, and thought himself secure : he dwelt under his own vine, and under his own figtree, and had none to make him afraid. He knew, indeed, that by purchasing the manufactures of Great Britain, he contributed to its greatness: he knew, that all the wealth that his labor produced, centered in Great Britain. But that, far from exciting his envy, filled him with the highest pleasure; that thought supported him in all his toils. When the business of the day was past, he solaced himself with the contemplation, or perhaps entertained his listening family with the recital of some great, some glorious transaction, which shines conspicuous in the history of Britain : or, perhaps, his elevated fancy led him to foretel, with a kind of enthusiastic confidence, the glory, power and duration of an empire which should extend from one end of the earth to the other. He saw, or thought he
the British nation risen to a pitch of grandeur, which cast a veil over the Roman glory, and, ravished with the preview, boasted a race of British kings, whose names should echo through those realms where Cyrus, Alexander, and the Cæsars were unknown; princes, for whom millions of grateful subjects redeemed from slavery and pagan ignorance, should, with thankful tongues, offer up their prayers and praises to that transcendently great and beneficent being, “ by whom kings reign and princes decree justice.”
These pleasing connexions might have continued; these delightsome prospects might have been every day extended; and even the reveries of the most warm imagination might have been realized; but, unhappily for us, unhappily for Britain, the madness of an avaricious minister of state, has drawn a sable curtain over the charming scene, and in its stead has brought upon the stage, discord, envy, hatred and revenge, with civil war close in their rear.
Some demon. in an evil hour, suggested to a short
sighted financier the hateful project of transferring the whole property
of the king's subjects in America, to his subjects in Britain. The claim of the British parliament to tax the colonies, can never be supported but by such a transfer; for the right of the house of commons of Great Britain, to originate any tax or grant money, is altogether derived from their being elected by the people of Great Britain to act for them; and the people of Great Britain cannot confer on their representatives a right to give or grant any thing which they themselves have not a right to give or grant personally. Therefore, it follows, that if the members chosen by the people of Great Britain, to represent them in parliament, have, by virtue of their being so chosen, any right to give or grant American property, or to lay any tax upon the lands or persons of the colonists, it is because the lands and people in the colonies are, bona fide, owned by, and justly belonging to the people of Great Britain. But, (as has been before observed,) every man has a right to personal freedom; consequently a right to enjoy what is acquired by his own labor. And it is evident, that the property in this country has been acquired by our own labor; it is the duty of the people of Great Britain, to produce some compact in which we have explicitly given up to them a right to dispose of our persons or property. Until this is done, every attempt of theirs, or of those whom they have deputed to act for them, to give or grant any part of our property, is directly repugnant to every principle of reason and natural justice. But I may boldly say, that such a compact never existed, no, not even in imagination. Nevertheless, the representatives of a nation, long famed for justice and the exercise of every noble virtue, have been prevailed on to adopt the fatal scheme; and although the dreadful consequences of this wicked policy have already shaken the empire to its centre, yet still it is persisted in. Regardless of the voice of reason; deaf to the prayers and supplications; and unaffected with the flowing tears of suffering millions, the British ministry still hug the darling idol; and every rolling year affords fresh instances of the absurd devotion with which they worship it. Alas! how has the folly, the distraction of the British councils, blasted our swelling hopes, and spread a gloom over this western hemisphere.
The hearts of Britons and Americans, which lately felt the generous glow of mutual confidence and love, now burn with jealousy and rage. Though but of yesterday, I recollect (deeply affected at the ill-boding change,) the happy hours that passed whilst Britain and America rejoiced in the prosperity and greatness of each other. Heaven grant those halcyon days may soon return! But now the Briton too often looks on the American with an envious eye, taught to consider his just plea for the enjoyment of his earnings, as the effect of pride and stubborn opposition to the parent country. Whilst the American beholds the Briton, as the ruffian, ready first to take away his property, and next, what is still dearer to every virtuous man, the liberty of his country.
When the measures of administration had disgusted the colonies to the highest degree, and the people of Great Britain had, by artifice and falsehood, been irritated against America, an army was sent over to enforce submission to certain acts of the British parliament, which reason scorned to countenance, and which placemen and pensioners were found unable to support.
Martial law, and the government of a well regulated city, are so entirely different, that it has always been considered as improper to quarter troops in populous cities; frequent disputes must necessarily arise between the citizen and the soldier, even if no previous animosities subsist. And it is further certain, from a consideration of the nature of mankind, as well as from constant experience, that standing armies always endanger the liberty of the subject. But when the people, on the one part, considered the army as sent to enslave them, and the army, on the other, were taught to look on the people as in a state of rebellion, it was but just to fear the most disagreeable consequences. Our fears, we have seen, were but too well grounded. The many injuries offered to the town, I
pass over in silence. I cannot now mark out the path which led to that unequalled scene of horror, the sad remembrance of which takes the full possession of my
soul. The sanguinary theatre again opens itself to view The baleful images of terror crowd around me; and discontented ghosts, with hollow groans, appear to solemnize the anniversary of the fifth of March.
Approach we then the melancholly walk of death. Hither let me call the gay companion; here let him drop a farewell tear upon that body which so late he saw vigorous and warm with social mirth; hither let me lead the tender mother to weep over her beloved soncome widowed mourner, here satiate thy grief; behold thy murdered husband gasping on the ground, and to complete the pompous show of wretchedness, bring in each hand thy infant children to bewail their father's fate-take heed, ye orphan babes, lest, whilst your streaming eyes are fixed upon the ghastly corpse, your feet slide on the stones bespattered with your father's brains* ! Enough; this tragedy need not be heightened by an infant weltering in the blood of him that gave it birth. Nature reluctant, shrinks already from the view, and the chilled blood rolls slowly backward to its fountain. We wildly stare about, and with amazement ask, who spread this ruin round us? What wretch has dared deface the image of his God? Has haughty France, or cruel Spain, sent forth her myrmidons Has the grim savage rushed again from the far distant wilderness; or does some fiend, fierce from the depth
* After Mr. Gray had been shot through the body, and had fallen dead on the ground, a bayonet was pushed through his skull; part of the bone being broken, his brains fell out upon the pavement. VOL. V.
of hell, with all the rancorous malice which the
apostate damned can feel, twang her destructive bow, and hurl her deadly arrows at our breast ? No, none of these—but, how astonishing! it is the hand of Britain that inflicts the wound! The arms of George, our rightful king, have been employed to shed that blood, when justice, or the honor of his crown, had called his subjects to the field.
But pity, grief, astonishment, with all the softer movements of the soul, must now give way to stronger passions. Say, fellow-citizens, what dreadful thought now swells your heaving bosoms; you fly to armssharp indignation flashes from each eye-revenge gnashes her iron teeth—death grins a hideous smile, secure to drench his greedy jaws in human gore—whilst hovering furies darken all the air!
But stop, my bold adventurous countrymen; stain not your weapons with the blood of Britons. Attend, to reason's voice; humanity puts in her claim, and sues to be again admitted to her wonted seat, the bosom of the brave. Revenge is far beneath the noble mind. Many, perhaps, compelled to rank among the vile assassins, do from their inmost souls, detest the barbarous action. The winged death, shot from your arms, may chance to pierce some breast that bleeds already for your injured country.
The storm subsides—a solemn pause ensues-you spare, upon condition they depart. They go—they quit your city—they no more shall give offence. Thus closes the important drama.
And could it have been conceived that we again should have seen a British army in our land, sent to enforce obedience to acts of parliament destructive of our liberty? But the royal ear, far distant from this western world, has been assaulted by the tongue of slander ; and villains, traitorous alike to king and country, have prevailed upon a gracious prince to clothe his countenance with wrath, and to erect the hostile banner against a people ever affectionate and loyal to him and his illustrious predecessors of the