« PreviousContinue »
world, his intention of letting loose against us whole hosts of savages, whose rule of warfare is promiscuous carnage ; who rejoice to murder the infant smiling in its mother's arms; to inflict on their prisoners the most excruciating torments, and exhibit scenes of horror from which nature recoils.
Were it possible, they would have added to this terrible system, for they have offered the inhabitants of these states to be exported by their merchants to the sickly, baneful climes of India, there to perish. An offer not accepted of, merely from the impracticability of carrying it into execution.
Notwithstanding these great provocations, we have treated such of them as fell into our hands, with tenderness, and studiously endeavoured to alleviate the afflictions of their captivity. This conduct we have pursued so far, as to be by them stigmatized with cowardice, and by our friends with folly. But our dependance was not upon man. It was upon Him, who hath commanded us to love our enemies and to render good for evil. And what can be more wonderful than the manner of our deliverance ? How often have we been reduced to distress, and yet been raised up? When the means to prosecute the war have been wanting to us, have not our foes themselves been rendered instrumental in providing them ? This hath been done in such a variety of instances, so peculiarly marked almost by the direct interposition of Providence, that not to feel and acknowledge his protection, would be the height of impious ingratitude.
At length that God of battles, in whom was our trust, hath conducted us through the paths of danger and distress, to the thresholds of security. It hath now become morally certain, that, if we have courage to persevere, we shall establish our liberties and independence. The haughty prince who spurned us from his feet with contumely and disoain ; and the parliament which proscribed us, now descend to offer terms of accommodation. Whilst in the full career of victory, they pulled off the mask, and avowed their intended despotism. But having lavished in vain the blood and treasure of their subjects, in pursuit of this execrable purpose, they now endeavour to ensnare us with the insidious offers of peace. They would seduce you into a dependance which, necessarily, inevitably leads to the most humiliating slavery. And do they believe that you will accept these fatal terms? Because you have
suffered the distresses of war, do they suppose that you will basely lick the dust before the feet of your destroyers ? Can there be an American so lost to the feelings which adorn human nature? To the generous pride, the elevation, the dignity of freedom! Is there a man who would not ab. hor a dependance upon those, who have deluged his country in the blood of its inhabitants? we cana not suppose this, neither is it possible that they themselves can expect to make many converts.What then is their intention? Is it not to lull you with the fallacious hopes of peace, until they can assemble new armies to prosecute their nefarious designs? If this is not the case, why do they strain every nerve to levy men throughout their islands? Why do they meanly court every little tyrant of Europe to sell them his unhappy slaves? Why do they continue to embitter the minds of the savages against you? Surely this is not the way to conciliate the affections of America. Be not, therefore, deceived. You have still to expect one severe conflict. Your foreign alliances, though they secure your independence, cannot secure your country from desolation, your habitations from plunder, your wives from insult or violation, nor your children from butchery. Foiled in their principal design, you must expect to feel the rage of disappointed ambition. Arise then! to your tents! and gird you for battle.
It is time to turn the headlong
current of vengeance upon the head of the destroyer. They have filled up the measure of their abominations, and like ripe fruit must soon drop from the tree. Although much is done, yet much remains to do. Expect not peace, whilst any corner of America is in possession of your foes. You must drive them away from the land of promise, a land flowing indeed with milk and honey. Your brethren at the extremities of the continent, already implore your friendship and protection. It is your duty to grant their request. They hunger and thirst after liberty. Be it yours to dispense the heavenly gift. And what is there now to prevent it?
After the unremitted efforts of our enemies, we are stronger than before. Nor can the wicked emissaries, who so assiduously labour to promote their cause, point out any one reason to suppose that we shall not receive daily accessions of strength. They tell you, it is true, that your money is of no value; and your debts so enormous they can never be paid. But we tell you, that if Britain prosecutes the war another campaign, that single campaign will cost her more than we have hitherto expended. And yet these men would prevail upon you to take up that immense load, and for it to sacrifice your dearest rights. For, surely, there is no man so absurd as to suppose, that the least shadow of liberty can be preserved in a dependant connexion with Great Britain. From the nature of the thing it is evident, that the only security you could obtain; would be, the justice and moderation of a parliament, who have sold the rights of their own constituents. And this slender security is still farther weakened, by the consideration that it was pledged to rebels (as they unjustly call the good people of these states) with whom they think they are not bound to keep faith by any law whatsoever. Thus would you be cas
bound among men, whose minds, by your virtuous resistance, have been sharpened to the keenest edge of revenge. Thus would your children and your children's children, be by you forced to a participation of all their debts, their wars, their luxuries, and their crimes. And this mad, this impious system, they would lead you to adopt, because of the derangement of your finances.
It becomes you deeply to reflect on this subject. Is there a country upon earth, which hath such resources for the payment of her debts, as America ? Such an extensive territory; so fertile, so blessed in its climate and productions. Surely there is
Neither is there any, to which the wise Europeans will sooner confide their property. What then are the reasons that your money hath depreciated ? Because no taxes have been imposed to carry on the war. Because your commerce hath been interrupted by your enemies fleets. Because their armies have ravaged and desolated a part of your country. Because their agents have villainously counterfeited your bills. Because extortioners among you, inflamed with the lust of gain, have added to the price of every article of life. And be cause weak men have been artfully led to believe that it is of no value. How is this dangerous disease to be remedied? Let those among you, who have leisure and opportunity, collect the monies which individuals in their neighborhood are desirous of placing in the public funds. Let the several legisJatures sink their respective emissions, that so, there being but one kind of bills, there may be less danger of counterfeits. Refrain a little from purchasing those things which are not absolutely necessary, that so those who have engrossed commodities may suffer (as they deserveoily will) the loss of their ill gotten hoards, by reason of the commerce with foreign nations, which the fleets will protect. Above all, bring forward your armies into the field. Trust not to appearances of peace or safety. Be assured, that unless you persevere, you will be exposed to every species of barbarity. But, if you exert the means of defence which God and nature have given you, the time will soon arrive, when every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.
The sweets of a free commerce with every part of the earth will soon reimburse vou for all the losses you have sustained. The full tide of wealth will flow in upon your shores, free from the arbitrary impositions of those, whose interest and whose declared policy it was to check your growth. Your interests will be fostered and nourished by governments, that derive their power from your grant, and will therefore be obliged, by the influence of cogent necessity, to exert it in your fa
It is to obtain these things that we call for your strenuous, unremitted exertions. Yet do not be. lieve that you have been or can be saved merely by your own strength. No! it is by the assistance of Heaven ; and this you must assiduously cultivate, by acts which Heaven approves.
Thus shall the power and the happiness of these Sovereign, Free, and Independent States, founded on the virtue of their citizens, increase, extend and endure, until the Almighty shall blot out all the empires of the earth.
Resolved, That it be recommended to the ministers of the gospel, of all denominations, to read or cause to be read, immediately after divine service, the above address to the inhabitants of the United States of America, in their respective churches and chapels, and other places of religious worship.