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النشر الإلكتروني

120

ADDRESS TO THE BRITISH PEOPLE. [CHAP. II.

They would not deal with any one who took advantage of the scarcity of goods to exact higher prices.

Special provision was made for such goods as might be imported between the first of December and the first of March following, which the owner might either reship or deliver up to a public committee.

Provision was also made for the appointment of committees to see to the execution of the association, and to publish the names of those who violated it.

They, in conclusion, agreed that they would have no dealings or intercourse with any colony or province in North America which should violate this association, which was to remain in force until the obnoxious acts of Parliament before mentioned should be repealed.

address to the people of Knowing that they would

On the following day' the Great Britain was adopted. offend their pride by the denial of the supremacy of Parliament over the colonies, they aimed to soothe that pride by encomiums on their national virtues. They say, “When a nation, led to greatness by the hand of liberty, and possessed of all the glory that heroism, munificence and humanity can bestow, descends to the ungrateful task of forging chains for her friends and children, and instead of giving support to freedom, turns advocate for slavery and oppression, there is reason to suspect she has either ceased to be virtuous, or been extremely negligent in the appointment of her rulers."

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Referring to the conflicts and wars in which their great and glorious ancestors" had engaged to maintain their independence, they say that the colonists, descended from the same ancestors, must be expected to be animated with the same spirit.

1 October twenty-first.

1774.] ADDRESS TO THE PEOPLE OF GREAT BRITAIN. 121

They urged that they are entitled to the same rights as their fellow-subjects in Britain, and that as the property of the latter cannot be taken without their consent, so neither ought that of the colonists.

Before the late war Great Britain was content with drawing from the colonies the wealth produced by their commerce, to which they submitted without complaint. They lay a stress on their loyal support of the British arms, which England had readily acknowledged and even reimbursed; and they ask whence this change in their treatment?

In proof of this charge they refer to the obnoxious acts of Parliament from the stamp act to the Boston port bill; to the arbitrary revocation of the Massachusetts charter; and to the threatening consequences of the Quebec act. They refer also to "dissolute, weak and wicked governors" set over them; and to needy and ignorant dependants advanced to the seats of justice.

They point out the dangerous consequences of those oppressive acts to the liberties of England, and say that after the colonists have been enslaved, many of them may be ready to assist in enslaving the people of Great Britain; that such a project may not seem visionary when it is recollected that the quit-rents to the Crown on this continent will, in half a century, make the king independent of Parliament.

They add, that if the British people will not interfere to arrest this course of injustice and oppression, the colonists must then tell them, they will not be hewers of wood and drawers of water for any ministry or nation in the world. All they ask for the restoration of harmony is, to be placed in the situation they were in at the close of the last war.

Knowing that the fate of Boston may become the fate

122

ADDRESS TO THE UNITED COLONIES.

[CHAP. II.

of all, they have resolved to live without trade rather than submit. In doing so, they regret the inconvenience that may result to many of their fellow-subjects. But they hope that the justice and magnanimity of the British nation will choose a Parliament that will restore to them their violated rights, and mutual harmony to the different parts of the British empire.

The committee who prepared this address were Mr. Lee of Virginia, Mr. Livingston of New Jersey, and Mr. Jay of New York.1

The same committee prepared the address to the inhabitants of the united colonies."

In this paper they declare that their duty to their creator requires they should state the causes of their present opposition to the British government.

They proceed then to take an historical review of the several violations of their rights since the conclusion of the late war, which have been already mentioned; from all which they say it is impossible to doubt that a resolution had been formed by the British ministry "to extinguish the freedom of these colonies."

They then justify the moderation of the course they have pursued, first, because it best consisted with their former character for loyalty; secondly, because of the affection felt by the colonists for the people of Great Britain, and which they trust is reciprocated; and lastly, because they believe that the commercial mode of opposition, if faithfully executed, will prove efficacious.

The people of the colonies are then reminded that their salvation depends on themselves; and they are exhorted, by a regard to their honor and their dearest interests, to

1

1 This paper was drawn by Mr. Jay of New York.

2 This paper was drawn by Mr. Richard Henry Lee of Virginia.

1774.]

ADDRESS TO GEORGE THE THIRD.

123

bear their present trials with firmness; and, extending their "views to mournful events," to be "prepared for every contingency."

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On the same day they passed a resolution that the seizing or attempting to seize any person to transport him beyond sea for trial, would justify, and ought to meet with resistance and reprisal.

The President being rendered unable to attend the Congress by indisposition,' Henry Middleton of South Carolina was appointed in his place.

A circular letter was then addressed by the Congress to the colonies of St. John's, Nova Scotia, Georgia, the East and West Indies, accompanied with an account of the measures they had adopted; in which they solicit those colonies to concur.

On the twenty-fifth, the address to the king, which had been previously recommitted, was adopted.

After a detail of their various grievances, legislative and ministerial, they say "to a sovereign who glories in the name of Briton," the bare recital of these acts must, we presume, justify the loyal subjects who fly to the foot of the throne, and implore his clemency for protection against them.

They insist that the present differences are in no way imputable to them. Far from promoting innovations, they have ever opposed them; "and can be charged with no offence, unless it be one to receive injuries and be sensible of them."

The sensibility they have manifested is the natural result of their being born in a land of freedom; and adverting to the Revolution, which elevated the House of Brunswick to the English throne, they are confident

1 October twenty-second.

124

VOTES OF THANKS.

[CHAP. II.

His Majesty rejoices that his title to the Crown is founded on the title of his people to liberty.

They advert to the designing and dangerous men by whom his authority has been abused; and add that "these sentiments are extorted from hearts that most willingly would bleed" in His Majesty's service.

In asking for peace, liberty, and safety, they wish no diminution of the prerogative, or solicit any new grant; appealing to that Being who thoroughly searches all hearts, they solemnly assert that they have been actuated by no other motive than a dread of impending destruction.

In language at once humble, earnest, and fervid they conclude with imploring the interposition of the royal authority for their relief.

On the same day they passed a vote of thanks to the advocates of civil and religious liberty who have defended the cause of America both in and out of Parliament.

On the following day, the last of that momentous session, they addressed a joint letter to the several agents of the colonies in London, requesting them to deliver their petition into the hands of the king, and then, through the press, to give it general diffusion.

They wish the vote of thanks to be communicated to those agents1 they should deem deserving objects of it. They are informed that Congress will meet again in May, and they are requested to transmit to the Speakers of the several Assemblies such information of the conduct and designs of the ministry or Parliament as it may concern America to know.

The address to the people of Canada, which had also

1 There were seven of these agents, and two of them, Dr. Franklin and Edmund Burke, acquired a celebrity which was reached by few of their contemporaries, and surpassed by none.

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