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cred honour to Washington, when putting him forth to incur the dangers of war, as well as the political hazards of the times, we promised to adhere to him, in every extremity, with our fortunes and our lives? I know there is not a man here, who would not rather see a general conflagration sweep over the land, or an earthquake sink it, than one jot or tittle of that plighted faith fall to the ground.
For myself, having, twelve months ago, in this place, moved you, that George Washington be appointed commander of the forces, raised, or to be raised, for the defence of American liberty, may my right hand forget her cunning, and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I hesitate or waver, in the support I give him. The war, then, must go on.
We must fight it through. And, if the war must go on, why put off longer the declaration of independence ? That measure will strengthen us: it will give us character abroad.
The nations will then treat with us, which they never can do while we acknowledge ourselves subjects, in arms against our sovereign. Nay, I maintain that England, herself, will sooner treat for peace with us on the footing of independence, than consent, by repealing her acts, to acknowledge, that her whole conduct towards us has been a course of injustice and oppression. Her pride will be less wounded, by submitting to that course of things which now predestinates our independence, than by yielding the points in controversy to her rebellious subjects. The former she would regard as the result of fortune; the latter she would feel as her own deep disgrace. Why then, why then, sir, do we not, as soon as possible, change this from a civil to a national war? And since we must fight it through, why not put ourselves in a state to enjoy all the benefits of victory, if we gain the victory?
If we fail, it can be no worse for us. But we shall not fail. The cause will raise up armies; the cause will create navies. The people, the people, if we are true to them, will carry us, and will carry themselves, gloriously through this struggle. I care not how fickle other people have been found. I know the people of these colonies, and I know, that resistance to British aggression is deep and settled in their hearts, and cannot be eradicated. Every colony, indeed, has expressed its willingness to follow, if we but take the lead. Šir, the declaration will inspire the people with increased courage. Instead of a long and bloody war for restoration
may rue it.
of privileges, for redress of grievances, for chartered im munities, held under a British king, set before them the glorious object of entire independence, and it will breathe into them anew the breath of life.
Read this declaration at the head of the army; every sword will be drawn from its scabbard, and the solemn vow uttered, to maintain it, or to perish on the bed of honour. Publish it from the pulpit; religion will approve it, and the love of religious liberty will cling round it, resolved to stand with it, or fall with it. Send it to the public halls; proclaim it there; let them hear it, who heard the first roar of the enemy's cannon; let them see it, who saw their brothers and their sons fall on the field of Bunkerhill, and in the streets of Lexington and Concord,—and the very walls will cry out in its support.
Sir, I know the uncertainty of human affairs; but I see, I see clearly through this day's business. You and I, indeed,
We may not live to the time, when this declaration shall be made good. We may die; die, colonists; die, slaves; die, it may be, ignominiously and on the scaffold. Be it so. Be it so.
If it be the pleasure of Heaven,that my country shall require the poor offering of my life, the victim shall be ready at the appointed hour of sacrifice, come when
But, while I do live, let me have a country, or at least the hope of a country, and that a free country.
But, whatever may be our fate, be assured, be assured, that this declaration will stand. It may cost treasure, and it may cost blood; but it will stand, and it will richly compensate for both. Through the thick gloom of the present, I see the brightness of the future, as the sun in heaven. We shall make this a glorious, an immortal day. When we are in our graves, our children will honour it. They will celebrate it, with thanksgiving, with festivity, with bonfires, and illuminations. On its annual return, they will shed tears, copious, gushing tears, not of subjection and slavery, not of agony and distress, but of exultation, of gratitude, and of joy.
Sir, before God, I believe the hour is come. My judgment approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it. All that I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope, in this life, I am now ready here to stake upon it; and I leave off, as I begun, that, live or die, survive or perish, I am for the declaration. It is my living sentiment, and, by the blessing of God, it shall be my dying sentiment independence now; and INDEPENDENCE FOREVER.
that hour may.
COUNSEL OF AHITHOPHEL TO ABSALOM.-Hillhouse.
My Lord, You know them not--you wear to-day The diadem, and hear yourself proclaimed With trump and timbrel Israel's joy, and deem Your lasting throne established. Canst thou bless, Or blast, like Him who rent the waters, clave The rock, whose awful clangor shook the world, When Sinai quaked beneath his majesty? Yet Jacob's seed forsook this thundering Guide, Even at the foot of the astonished mount! If benefits could bind them, wherefore flames The Ammonitish spoil upon thy brows, While David's locks are naked to the night dew? Canst thou transcend thy father? Is thy arm Stronger than his who smote from sea to sea, And girt us like a band of adamant?-Trust not their faith. Thy father's root is deep: His stock will bourgeon with a single sun; And many tears will flow to moisten him. Pursue, this night, or ruin will o'ertake thee.
COUNSEL OF HUSHAI.-Hillhouse.
I listen to my lord Ahithophel, As to a heaven-instructed oracle; But what he urges much alarms my fears. Thou seest, O King, how night envelopes us: Amidst its perils whom must we pursue? The son of Jesse is a man of war, Old in the field, hardened to danger, skilled In every wile and stratagem; the night More welcome than the day. Each mountain path He treads instinctive as the ibex; sleeps, Moistened with cold dark drippings of the rock, As underneath the canopy.
Some den Will be his bed to-night. No hunter knows Like him, the caverns, cliffs, and treacherous passes; Familiar to his feet in former days, As 'twixt the Court and Tabernacle! What!
Know ye not how his great heart swells in danger,
SPEECH OF RAAB KIUPRILI.-Coleridge.
Assembled lords and warriors of Illyria,
Outfaced, or widow's plea left undefended?