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be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging.
And what have we 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 been already 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 desti
nies 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 active, 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!
LEXINGTON AND CONCORD
OPPRESSED by the action of England's King, Massachusetts, like Virginia, decided to raise an army of her
“Minute Men” her soldiers were called because they promised to be ready to serve at a minute's notice. Their arms and ammunition were stored in Concord, ready
In Boston were the British troops under General Gage, sent to govern Massachusetts as punishment for what the King called rebellious conduct.
General Gage learned where the colonial arms stored and planned to seize them. On the way to Concord his men were to capture John Hancock and Samuel Adams, colonial leaders staying in the town of Lexington.
The expedition was to be a secret one, moving under cover of the night. But in some mysterious way Paul Revere of Boston got wind of Gage's plan, and crossing the river he waited, bridle in hand, for a comrade to signal him, from the steeple of the Old North Church, news of the British advance.
No sooner had the lanterns flashed the signal than he sprang to his saddle, and dashing through the country towards Concord, roused all he passed with the cry "To arms! To arms! The regulars are coming!”
The Minute Men needed no second warning and with such spirit did they rally to the call that the British red coats were defeated at Concord Bridge and driven back to Boston.
PAUL REVERE'S RIDE
LISTEN, my children, and you shall hear
He said to his friend: “If the British march
Then he said “Good-night,” and with muffled oar