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ed tyrant can inflict, will never take away; which the ingratitude and reproaches of those whom we have saved from ruin, cannot rob us of. The virtuous asserter of the rights of mankind merits a reward, which even a want of success in his endeavors to save his country, the heaviest misfortune which can befall a genuine patriot, cannot entirely prevent him from receiving.
I have the most animating confidence, that the present noble struggle for liberty; will terminate gloriously for America. And let us play the man for our God, and for the cities of our God; while we are using the means in our power, let us humbly commit our righteous cause to the great Lord of the universe, who loveth righteousness and hateth iniquity. And having secured the approbation of our hearts, by a faithful and unwearied discharge of our duty to our country, let us joyfully leave our concerns in the hands of Him who raiseth up and putteth down the empires and kingdoms of the world as He pleases; and with cheerful submission to His sovereign will, devoutly say, “ Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the field shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall he no herd in the stalls; yet we will rejoice in the Lord, we will joy in the God of our salvation."
ORATION OF JOSEPH WARREN,
AT BOSTON, MARCH 6, 1775, IN COMMEMORATION OF
THE “ BOSTON MASSACRE."*
· MY EVER HONORED FELLOW-CITIZENS,
It is not without the most humiliating conviction of my want of ability, that I now appear before you: but the sense I have of the obligation I am under to obey the calls of my country at all times, together with an animating recollection of your indulgence, exhibited upon so many occasions, has induced me, once more, undeserving as I am, to throw myself upon that candor, which looks with kindness on the feeblest efforts of an honest mind.
You will not now expect the elegance, the learning, the fire, the enrapturing strains of eloquence, which charmed you when a Lovell, a Church, or a Hancock spake; but you will permit me to say, that with a sincerity equal to theirs, I mourn over my bleeding country. With them I weep at her distress, and with them deeply resent the many injuries she has received from the hands of cruel and unreasonable men.
That personal freedom is the natural right of every man, and that property, or an exclusive right to dispose of what he has honestly acquired by his own labor, necessarily arises therefrom, are truths which common sense has placed beyond the reach of contradiction. And no man or body of men can, without being guilty of flagrant injustice, claim a right to dispose of the persons or acquisitions of any other man, or body of men, unless it can be proved, that such a
right has arisen from some compact between the par.. ties, in which it has been explicitly and freely granted.
If I may be indulged in taking a retrospective view of the first settlement of our country, it will be easy to determine with what degree of justice the late parliament of Great Britain have assumed the power of giving away that property, which the Americans have earned by their labor.
Our fathers, having nobly resolved never to wear the yoke of despotism, and seeing the European world, at that time, through indolence and cowardice, falling a prey to tyranny, bravely threw themselves upon the bosom of the ocean, determined to find a place in which they might enjoy their freedom, or perish in the glorious attempt. Approving heaven beheld the favorite ark dancing upon the waves, and graciously preserved it until the chosen families were brought in safety to these western regions. They found the land swarming with savages, who threatened death with every kind of torture. But savages, and death with torture, were far less terrible than slavery. Nothing was so much the object of their abhorrence as a tyrant's power. They knew it was more safe to dwell with man, in his most unpolished state, than in a country where arbitrary power prevails. Even anarchy itself, that bugbear held up by the tools of power, (though truly to be deprecated,) is infinitely less dangerous to mankind than arbitrary government. An. archy can be but of a short duration ; for, when men are at liberty to pursue that course which is more conducive to their own happiness, they will soon come into it; and from the rudest state of nature, order and good government must soon arise. But tyranny, when once established, entails its curses on a nation to the latest period of time ; unless some daring genius, inspired by heaven, shall, unappalled by danger, bravely form and execute the arduous design of restoring liberty and life to his enslaved, murdered country.
The tools of power, in every age, have racked their
inventions to justify the few in sporting with the happiness of the many; and, having found their sophistry too weak to hold mankind in bondage, have impiously dared to force religion, the daughter of the King of heaven, to become a prostitute in the service of hell. They taught, that princes, honored with the name of christian, might bid defiance to the founder of their faith, might pillage pagan countries and deluge them with blood, only because they boasted themselves to be the disciples of that teacher, who strictly charged his followers to do to others as they would that others should do unto them.
This country having been discovered by an English subject, in the year 1620, was (according to the system which the blind superstition of those times supported,) deemed the property of the crown of England. Our ancestors, when they resolved to quit their native soil, obtained from king James, a grant of certain lands in North America. This they probably did to silence the cavils of their enemies, for it cannot be doubted, but they despised the pretended right which he claimed thereto. Certain it is, that he might, with equal propriety and justice, have made them a grant of the planet Jupiter. And their subsequent conduct plainly shows, that they were too well acquainted with humanity, and the principles of natural equity, to suppose, that the grant gave them any right to take possession; they, therefore, entered into a treaty with the natives, and bought from them the lands. Nor have I ever yet obtained any information, that our ancestors ever pleaded, or that the natives ever regarded the grant from the English crown: the business was transacted by the parties in the same independent manner, that it would have been, had neither of them ever known or heard of the island of Great Britain.
Having become the honest proprietors of the soil, they immediately applied themselves to the cultivation of it; and they soon beheld the virgin earth teeming with richest fruits, a grateful recompense for their
unwearied toil. The fields began to wave with ripening harvests, and the late barren wilderness was seen to blossom like the rose. The savage natives saw, with wonder, the delightful change, and quickly formed a scheme to obtain that by fraud or force, which nature meant as the reward of industry alone. But the illustrious emigrants soon convinced the rude invaders, that they were not less ready to take the field for battle than for labor; and the insidious foe was driven from their borders as often as he ventured to disturb them. The crown of England looked with indifference on the contest; our ancestors were left alone to combat with the natives. Nor is there any reason to believe, that it ever was intended by the one party, or expected by the other, that the grantor should defend and maintain the grantees in the peaceable possession of the lands named in the patents. And it appears plainly, from the history of those times, that neither the prince nor the people of England, thought themselves much interested in the matter. They had not then any idea of a thousandth part of those advantages, which they since have, and we are most heartily willing they should still continue to reap from us.
But when, at an infinite expense of toil and blood, this widely extended continent had been cultivated and defended; when the hardy adventurers justly expected, that they and their descendants should peaceably have enjoyed the harvest of those fields which they had sown, and the fruit of those vineyards which they had planted, this country was then thought worthy the attention of the British ministry; and the only justifiable and only successful means of rendering the colonies serviceable to Britain, were adopted. By an intercourse of friendly offices, the two countries became so united in affection, that they thought not of any distinct or separate interests, they found both countries flourishing and happy. Britain saw her commerce extended, and her wealth increased; her lands raised to an immense value ; her fleets riding