Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

word.

Justice, let us submit to them without one murmuring

13. Firit, I would ask, whether the members of the Brie till house of commons, are the democracy of this province ? If they are, they are either the people of this proviycé, or are elected by the people of this province, to reprefeat them, and have therefore a confitutional right to originate a bill for taxing them ; it is most certain they are neither; and therefore nothing done by tbem can be faid to be done by the democratic branch of our constitution.

14. I would next afk, whether the lords who coinpose the aristocratic branch of the legislature, are peers of Ame: rica ? I never heard it was (even in these extraordinary times) so much as pretended, and if they are not, certainly no act of theirs can be faid to be the act of the ariftrocratic branch of our constitution.

15. The power of the monarchic branch we with plealure acknowledge, resides in the king, who may act either in person or by his representative ; and I freely confess that J can see no reason why a PROCLAMATION for raising money in America, iffued by the king's sole authority, would not be equally consistent with our conftitution, and therefore equally binding upon us with the late acts, it muft arise altogether from the inonarchical branch of the legitlature. And I further think, that it would be at least as equitable ; for I do not conceive it to be of the least importance to us by: wbom our property is taken away, so long as it is taken away without our confent.

16. I-am very-inuch at a loss to know by what figure of rhetorick, the inhabitants of this province can be called free subjects, when they are obliged to obey implicity such laws as are made for them by men three thousand niiles off, whom they know not, and whom they never have empowered to act for thein, or how they can be said to have property, when a body of men, over whom they have not the least control, and who are not in any „way accountable to them, shall oblige them to çeliver up any part, or the whole of their substance, without even aik ing their copfent.

17. And yet, whoe ver pretends that the late acts of the British parliament for taxing America, ought to be deemed binding upon us, must admit at oice that we are

24

ever so dear.

absolute SLAVEs and have no proporty of our own; or elfe that we may be FREEMEN, and at the fame time, under the neceflity of obeying the arbitrary commands of those over. whom we have no control nor inäluence; and that we may bave property of our own, which is entirely at the disposal of anotber.

18. Such grofs absurdities, I believe, will not be rel. ithed in this enlightened- age; and it can be no great matter of wonder, that the people quickly perceived, and feriously cosuplained of the inroads which these acts must unavoidably make upon their liberty, and of the hazard to which their whole property is by them exposed; for if they may be taxed without their consenţ, even in the smallest trifle, they may alfo, without their confent, be de prived of every thing they poffefs, altho ever fo valuable,

19. Certainly it never entered the heart of our ancef. tors, that after fo inany dangers in this then defolate wil. derness, their hard earned property should be at the dif. polil of the British parliament. And as it was foora found that this taxation could not be supported by reafon and argument, it seemed necefiary that one act of oppression fhould be enforced by another, and therefore, contrary to our just rights, as poffefing, or at least ha. ving a juft title to poffefs all the liberties and immunities of British subjects, a standing army was established among us in time of peace, and evidently for the purpose of effecting that, which it was one principal delign of the founders of the conftitution to prevent (when they declared a standing army in a time of peace to be against law), namely for the enforcement of obedience to acts, which upon fair examination, appeared to be unjust and unconftitutional.

20. The ruinous consequences of standing armies to free coinmunities, may

be seen in the histories of Syracuse Rome and vany other once flourishing states, fome of which have 110\ (carce a name! Their baneful influence is most luda denly felt, when they are placed in populous cities; for, by a corruption of morals, the public happiness is iminediattly affected.

21. This is one of the effects of quartering troopis in a a populous city, is a truth, to which many a mnouril

[ocr errors]

ing parent, many a loft despairing child in this metropo lis muft bear a very melancholy teftimony. Soldiers are also taught to consider arms as the only arbiters by which every difpute is to be decided between contend. ing states; they are instructed implicitly to obey their commanders, without enquiring into the justice of the cause they are engaged to support. Hence it is that they are ever to be dreaded as the ready engines of tyranny and oppreffion.

22. And it is too observable that they are prone to ine troduce the faine mode of decision in the disputes of individuals, and from thence have arisen great animofities between tbem and the inbabitants, who whilft in a naked, defenceless state, are frequently infulted and abused by an armed foldiery. And this will be more especialTý the case when the troops are informed that the intention of their being stationed in any city, is to overawe ibe inbabitants.

23. That this was the avowed design of stationing an armed force in this town, is fufficiently known; and we, iny fellow citizeni, have seen, we have felt the tragical effeéts! The FATAL FIFTH OF MARCH, 1770, can never be forgotten-The horrors of that dreadful night are but too deeply impressed on our hearts-language is too feeble to paint the emotions of our souls, when our streets were stained with the blood of our brethren—when our ears were wounded by the groans of the dying, and our eyes were cor. mented with the fight of the mangled bodies of the dead.

24. When our alarıned imagination presented to our view our houses wrapt in Hamesour children - fubjected to the barbarous caprice of the raging foldiery-our bearteous virgins exposed to all the infolence of unbridled paffion-our virtuous wives,

endeared to us by every tender tie, falling a sacrifice to worse than brutal violence, and perhaps like the famed Lucretia, distracted with an, guish and despair, ending their wretched lives by their own fair hands.

25. When we beheld the authors of our distress parading in our streets, or drawn up in a regular batalia, as tho in a hostile city, our hearts beat to arms; we snatched our weapons, almost refolved, by one decisive stroke, to avenge the death of our slaughtered bretoren, and 10

fecure from future danger, all that we held most dear; but prop.tious heaven farbad the bloody carnage, and faved the threatened victims of our too kien resentment, not by their discipline, not by their regular array- no, it, was soyal George's livery that proved their shield-it was that which turned the pointed engines of destruction from their breasts.

26. Thoughts of vengeance were soon buried in our inbred affection to Great Britain, and calm reason dictated á method of removing the troops, more mild than an immediate recourse to the sword. With united efforts you urged the immediate departure of the troops from the town ----you urged it with a refo lution which ensured fuccefsyou obtained. your wishes, and the removal of the troops was affected, without one drop of their blood being shed by the inhabitants.

27. The immediate actors in the tragedy of that night were furrendered to justice. It is not mine to say how far they were guilty! they have been tried by the country and ACQUITI ED of murder; and they are not again to be arraigned at an earthly bar; but surely the men who have promiscuoufly scattered death amidst the innocent inhabitants of a populous city, ought to fee well to it, that they be prepared to stand at the bar of an omniscient Judge ! and all who contrived or encouraged the stationing of troops in this place, have reasons of eternal importance, to reflect with a deep contrition, on their bafe designs, and humbly to repent of their impious machinations.

28. The voice of your fathers' blood cries to you fram the ground; My sons, scorn 'to be slaves! In vain, we met the frowns of tyrants in vain we crossed the boisterous ocean, found a new world, and prepared it for the bappy residence of Liberty-in vain we toiled-in vain we fought--we bled in vain, if you, our offspring, want valor to repel the afaults of her invadors! Stain not the glory of your worthy ancestors, but like them refolve never to part with your birth-right; be wise in your deliberations, and determine in your exertions for the preservation of your liberty.

- 29. Follow not the dictates of passion, but enlist yourfelves under the sacred banner of reafov ; use every method in your power to secure your rights; at least prevent

[ocr errors]

hold in

the eurks of pofterity from being heaped upon your mes meries.

30. If you, with united zeal and fortitude, oppose the torrent of oppression-If you feel the true fire of patriotisin burning in your breatts-if you, from your fouls, defpife the most gaudy drefs that favery can wear if you really prefer the lonely cottage (whilst bleft with liberty) to gilda ed palaces furrounded with the enfigns of Havery, you may have the fulleft affurance that tyranny, with her whole ace eurfed train, will hide her hideous head, ia confusion, Shame and despair.

31. If you perform your part you moft have the stronger confidence, that Ibe same Almigbty Being, who protected your pious and venerable forefathers, who enabled them to turn a tarren wilderness into a fruiiful field, who fo often #ade bare bis arm for their salvation, will still be mindful of their offspring.

32. May this ALMIGHTY Being graciously prefide in all our councils---may be direct us to such measures as he . himself thall approve, and be pleased to blefs. May we ever be favored of God.---May our land be a land of lib. erty, the feat of virtue, the asylaw of the oppressed, a name and a praise in the wbole eartb, until the laft fhock of time : fhall bery the empires of the world in the undistinguished, ruin ! ORATION, delivered at Boston, Marcb 57 1774, by the

bonorable John HANCOCK, Esq in commemoration of the evening of the fifth of March 1770, when a mimber of ibe citizens were killed by a party of British)

troops, quartered among tbein, in a time of peace. Men, Brethren, Fathers, and Fellow.countryinen!

THE attentive gravity--the téfterable appearance

of this crowded andience-the dignity which I be

the countenances of so many in this great asembly -the folemnity of the occasion upon which we have met together, joined to a consideration of the part I am to take in the important bufiiefs of this day, filt me with an aive hitherto unknown; and heighten the fenfe which I have ever had, of my unworthinels to fill tihs sacred desk.

2. But, allured by the call of some of my respected fel.

" THE

« НазадПродовжити »