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Chap. in. power, they may with the greater facility en1774. slave you."
After stating the serious condition of American affairs, and that not only the oppressions, but the misrepresentations of their country, had induced tnis address; after stating that they claim to be as free as their fellow subjects in Britain, they say " are not the proprietors of the soil of Great Britain, lords of their own property? can it be taken from them without their consent? will they yield it to the arbitrary disposal of any men or number of men whatever? v you know they will not.
"Why then are the proprietors of the seil of America less lords of their property than you are of yours, or why should they submit it to the disposal of your parliament, or any other parliament or' council in the world, not of their election? can the intervention of the sea -that divides us cause disparity in rights, or can any reason be given why English subjects, who live three thousand miles from the royal palace should enjoy less liberty than those who are three hundred miles distant from it?
"Reason looks with indignation on such distinctions, and freemen can never perceive their propriety.
. "At the conclusion of the late war....a war rendered glorious by the abilities and integrity of a minister, to whose efforts the British empire owes its safety and its fame; at the conclusion of this war, which was succeeded by an inglorious peace, formed under the auspices Chap. m. of a minister, of principles, and of a family, 1774. unfriendly to the protestant cause, and inimical to liberty; we say at this period, and under the influence of that man, a plan for enslaving your fellow subjects in America was concerted, and has ever since been pertinaciously carrying into execution." .
The former relative situation of the two countries is then stated, and they are reminded of the loyalty and attachment of the colonies to the common interests of the empire. The transactions since the conclusion of the war are passed in solemn review, and they add, " This being a true state of facts, let us beseech you to consider to what end they lead.
"Admit that the ministry, by the powers of Britain, and the aid of our roman catholic neighbours, should be able to carry the point of taxation, and reduce us to a state of perfect humiliation and slavery; such an enterprise would doubtless make some addition to your national debt, which already presses down your liberties, and fills you with pensioners and placemen. We presume also that your commerce will somewhat be diminished. However, suppose you should prove victorious.... in what condition will you then be? what advantages or what laurels will you reap from such a conquest? may not a ministry with the same armies enslave you?"
Chap. in. The resources which the subjugation of 1774. America would place in the hands of the crown are then expatiated on, and the address proceeds, "we believe there is yet much virtue, much justice, and much public spirit in the English nation. To that justice we now appeal. You have been told that we are seditious, impatient of government, and- desirous of independency. Be assured that these are not facts, but calumnies. Permit us to be as free as yourselves, and we shall ever esteem a union with you to be our greatest glory, and our
greatest happiness we shall ever be ready to
contribute all in our power to the welfare of the
empire we shall consider your enemies as
our enemies, and your interest as our own.
"But if you are determined that your ministers shall wantonly sport with the rights of
mankind if neither the voice of justice, the
dictates of the law, the principles of the constitution, nor the suggestions of humanity, can restrain your hands from shedding human blood in such an impious cause; we must then tell you that we will never submit to be hewers of wood or drawers of water for any ministry or nation in the world.
"Place us in the same situation that we were at the close of the last war, and our former harmony will be restored." *
* The committee which prepared this eloquent and manly address, were mr. Lee, mr. Livingston and mr. Jay. The composition has been generally attributed to mr. Jay.
The petition to the king states succinctly the Chap. in. grievances complained of and then proceeds. 1774.
"Had our creator been pleased to give us existence in a land of slavery, the sense of our condition might have been mitigated by ignorance and habit. But thanks be to his adorable goodness, we were born the heirs of freedom, and ever enjoyed our right under the auspices of your royal ancestors, whose family was seated on the British throne, to rescue and secure a pious and gallant nation from the popery and despotism of a superstitious and inexorable tyrant. Your majesty, we are confident, justly rejoices that your title to the crown is thus founded on the title of your people to liberty; and, therefore, we doubt not but your royal wisdom must approve the sensibility that teaches your subjects, anxiously to guard the blessing they received from divine providence, and thereby to prove the performance of that compact, which elevated the illustrious house of Brunswick to the imperial dignity it now possesses.
"The apprehensions of being degraded into a state of servitude from the pre-eminent rank of English freemen, while our minds retain the strongest love of liberty, and clearly foresee the miseries preparing for us and for our posterity, excites emotions in our breasts, which though we cannot describe, we should not wish to conceal. Feeling as men, and thinking as subjects, Vol. 1I. A a
CHAP.m. in the manner we do, silence would be disloy1774. alty. By giving this faithful information, we do all in our power to promote the great.objects
of your royal cares, the tranquillity of your
government, and the welfare of your people.
"Duty to your majesty, and regard for the preservation of ourselves and our posterity, the primary obligations of nature and society, command us to intreat your royal attention; and as your majesty enjoys the signal distinction of reigning over freemen, we apprehend the language of freemen cannot be displeasing. Your royal indignation, we hope, will rather fall on those designing and dangerous men, who daringly interposing themselves between your royal person and your faithful subjects, and for several years past incessantly employed to dissolve the bonds of society by abusing your majesty's authority, misrepresenting, your American subjects, and prosecuting the most desperate and irritating projects of oppression, have at length compelled us, by the force of accumulated injuries, too severe to be any longer tolerable, to disturb your majesty's repose by our complaints. , "These sentiments are extorted from hearts, that much more willingly would bleed in your majesty's service. Yet so greatly have we been misrepresented, that a necessity has been alleged of taking our property from us without our consent, "to defray the charge of the