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was a display of that genuine patriotism and true glory which it is ever most honourable to venerate and cherish. While their own hearts glow with patriotic fervor, let them reflect, that true glory consists in the love of peace and the culture of benevolence and good will to men.
Let their souls hold in detestation every species of warfare, save that which may secure and. defend the invaluable heritage which their fathers have bequeathed them, and for which their memories should be embalmed with the incense of gratitude.
N. B. Should the reader conceive that in detailing the ravages and aggressions of the British army, I have indulged in language of asperity, inconsistent with that urbanity and good fellowship which it is desirable should be cultivated between the two nations at the present day, it may be observed that this is but a feeble specimen of the belligerent language employed by writers at that period, when the wrathful passions were reciprocally excited and continually aggravated.
January. At the precise period when my medical studies and education are completed, under the patronage of Dr. Abner Hersey, of Barnstable, my native town, and I am contemplating the commencement of a new career in life, I find our country about to be involved in all the horrors of a
A series of arbitrary and oppressive measures, on the part of the mother country, has long been advancing to that awful crisis, when an appeal to the power of the sword becomes inevitable. The event of this mighty struggle is to decide an affair of infinite magnitude, not merely as it respects the present generation, but as it will affect the welfare and happiness of unborn millions. The great fundamental principle, in the present controversy, is the right which is claimed by the Parliament of Great Britain, to exercise dominion as the only supreme, and uncontrollable legislative power over all the American Colonies. “Can they make laws to bind the colonies in all cases whatever ; levy taxes on them without their consent ; dispose of the revenues, thus raised, without their control ; multiply officers at pleasure, and assign them fees, to be paid without, nay, contrary to, and in direct violation of, acts of our Provincial Assemblies and approved by the crown ? Can they enlarge the power of admiralty courts ; divert the usual channels of justice; deprive the colonists of trial by a jury of their countrymen ; in short, break down the barriers which their forefathers have erected against arbitrary power, and enforce their edicts by fleets and armies." Then indeed are we reduced to a state of abject slavery ;
and all resistance to acts of Parliament may justly be called by the name of treason and rebellion.
The people of these colonies consider themselves as British subjects entitled to all the rights and privileges of Freemen. It is inseparably essential to the freedom of a people, and the undoubted right of Englishmen, that no taxes be imposed on them but with their
own consent, given personally, or by their representatives. From their local circumstances, the colonies cannot be represented in the house of commons of Great Britain ; the only representatives of the people of the colonies are the persons chosen therein by themselves; and no taxes ever can be constitutionally imposed on them, but by their respective legislatures." All acts of Parliament therefore, for raising a revenue in America, are considered as depriving us of our property, without our consent, and consequently as a palpable infringement of our ancient rights and privileges. They are unconstitutional and arbitrary laws, subversive of the liberties and privileges secured to us by our royal charters. It is not consistent with the principles which actuate the American people, ever tamely to submit to such a degrading system of government ; not however from a want of loyalty to our king, nor from an undue impatience of subordination or legal restraint ; for in a quiet submission and demeanor to constitutional authority, and in zeal and attachment to our king, we dare to vie with any of our fellow subjects of Great Britain ; but it is an innate love of liberty, and our just rights, that impels us to the arduous struggle. In no country, it is asserted, is the love of liberty more deeply rooted, or the knowledge of the rights inherent to freemen more generally diffused, or better understood, than among the British American Colonies. Our religious and political privileges are derived from our virtuous fathers ; they were inhaled with our earliest breath ; and are, and will, I trust, ever be, implanted and cherished in the bosom of the present and future generations. These are the prevalent sentiments in New England at this eventful crisis, and all the other provinces, Georgia excepted, are known to be in unison with us in the resolution, to oppose with all our power every violation of our just rights and privileges. We are not however authorized, even in the most glorious of causes, to expect a perfect unanimity among a people. Numerous are the springs of men's actions; and diversity of sentiment and views are characteristic of human nature. Accordingly we find a small minority in our
country who are inimical to the common cause, and who are continually opposing, every proceeding of the majority. These people are doubtless actuated by various motives; a few, comparatively, influenced by principle ; some by a spirit of timidity, or the absurd doctrine of passive obedience and non-resistance ; others, from the strength of their passions, and weakness of judgment, are biassed and led astray by designing demagogues. There are, however, those who are vile enough to prostrate all honor and principle with the sordid view of office and preferment,
For 'tis their duty, all the learned think,
T'espouse that cause by which they eat and drink." Those disaffected individuals, who still adhere to the royal cause, have received the epithet of Tories ; the very name is abhorrent to the people in general, and they are subjected to such rigorous discipline as to prevent them from doing injury to the great cause of our country. The great majority of the people are happily united in the resolution to oppose, to the uttermost, the wicked attempts of the English cabinet. This class of people have assumed the appellation of Whigs ; but by our enemies are stigmatized by the name of Rebels. If, as we affirm, the British government have ceased to rule agreeably to the principles of our constitution, and our royal charter, and have assumed to themselves the high prerogative of despotic sway, then are we absolved from our allegiance and duties as British subjects. A contract abrogated by one party can no longer be binding on the other. If we are menaced with royal power and authority, we justify ourselves in defending our indefeasible rights against despotism and tyrannical oppression. Cowards alone will bend to unjust power, and slaves and sycophants only will yield both soul and body to the disposal of tyrannical masters.. Should our efforts, under God, be crowned with the desired success, we shall obtain the honor of rescuing ourselves and posterity from vassalage ; but if compelled to succumb under royal power, then will ours be the rebel's fate, the scaffold and the gibbet will be glutted with their devoted victims. We cannot justly be accused of a rash precipitance of proceeding; for petitions and memorials, couched in the most loyal and humble language, have been at various periods presented to our royal sovereign, and his parliament, praying for a redress of grievances; but they are deaf to all our complaints and supplications, and the coercive arm of
power is suspended over us, threatening implacable vengeance.
Among the odious acts of the British Parliament, they passed one which imposed a duty on the article of tea, and several cargoes of this commodity were shipped to America to obtain the duty and a market. On the arrival of the tea ships at Boston, great indignation was excited among the people; town meetings were called to devise some legal measures to prohibit the landing of the odious article. It was universally understood that if the tea was once landed, and stored, it would by some means come to a market, and the duty to the government would be secured. In order to defeat this object, after all legal measures had failed, a number of persons in disguise entered the ships at the wharves, broke open 342 chests of tea, and discharged their contents into the water at the dock. This was on the 16th December, 1773. When intelligence of this summary proceeding reached England, it was condemned by the government as enormously criminal. They menaced our Province with the most exemplary vengeance, and Parliament soon passed the Boston Vindictive Port Bill as a part of their coercive system, so that merely the name of tea is now associated with ministerial grievances, and tea drinking is almost tantamount to an open avowal of toryism. Those who are anxious to avoid the epithet of enemies to their country, strictly prohibit the use of tea in their families, and the most squeamish ladies are compelled to have recourse to substitutes, or secretly steal indulgence in their favorite East India beverage.
March. For the purpose of enforcing submission to the cruel mandates of the royal government, a reinforcement of the British army has arrived at Boston; and General Gage is appointed Governor and Commander in Chief. An armed fleet also occupies the harbor ; and the whole port is closed against all but British vessels. In short, the horrors of civil war seem stalking, with rapid strides, towards our devoted country. The people have resorted to the expedient of abolishing all the courts of justice under the new regulations. In our shire towns the populace have collected in sufficient numbers to bar the doors of the court houses, and prohibit the entrance of judges and officers ; the jurors are so intimidated, or zealous in the good cause, that in general they refuse to take the oath, or to act in any manner under the new modification of government ; and the clerks of courts,