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root out those passions which it has implanted in
my bosom, and detest submission to a people who 35 have either ceased to be human, or have not virtue
enough to feel their own wretchedness and servi
We are now on this continent, to the astonishment of the world, three millions of souls united in 40 one common cause. We have large armies, well
. disciplined and appointed, with commanders inferior to none in military skill, and superior in activity and zeal. We are furnished with arsenals and stores
beyond our most sanguine expectations, and foreign 45 nations are waiting to crown our success by their
alliances. There are instances of, I would say, an almost astonishing Providence in our favor; our success has staggered our enemies, and almost given
faith to infidels; so that we may truly say it is not 50 our own arm which has saved us.
The hand of heaven appears to have led us on to be, perhaps, humble instruments and means in the great providential dispensation which is completing.
We have fled from the political Sodom; let us not 55 look back, lest we perish and become a monument
of infamy and derision to the world! For can we ever expect more unanimity and a better preparation for defense; more infatuation of counsel
among our enemies, and more valor and zeal among 60 ourselves? The same force and resistance which
are sufficient to procure us our liberties will secure
us a glorious independence and support us in the dignity of free, imperial States. ...
Besides the advantages of liberty and the most equal constitution, heaven has given us a country 65 with every variety of climate and soil, pouring forth in abundance whatever is necessary for the support, comfort, and strength of a nation. Within our own borders we possess all the means of sustenance, defense, and commerce; at the same time, these 70 advantages are so distributed among the different States of this continent, as if nature had in view to proclaim to us — Be united among yourselves, and you will want nothing from the rest of the world.
The more northern States most amply supply us with every necessary, and many of the luxuries of life — with iron, timber, and masts for ships of commerce or of war; with flax for the manufacture of linen, and seed either for oil or exportation.
So abundant are our harvests, that almost every part raises more than double the quantity of grain requisite for the support of the inhabitants. From Georgia and the Carolinas, we have, as well for our own wants as for the purpose of supplying the 85 wants of other powers, indigo, rice, hemp, naval stores, and lumber.
Virginia and Maryland teem with wheat, Indian corn, and tobacco. Every nation whose harvest is precarious, or whose lands yield not those commodi-99
ties which we cultivate, will gladly exchange their superfluities and manufactures for ours. ...
These natural advantages will enable us to remain independent of the world, or make it the 95 interest of European powers to court our alliance,
and aid in protecting us against the invasions of others. What arguments, therefore, do we want, to show the equity of our conduct; or motive of
interest to recommend it to our prudence? Nature 100 points out the path, and our enemies have obliged us to pursue it.
If there is any man so base or so weak as to prefer a dependence on Great Britain to the dignity and
happiness of living a member of a free and independ105 ent nation — let me tell him that necessity now
demands what the generous principle of patriotism should have dictated.
We have now no other alternative than independence, or the most ignominious' and galling servi110 tude. The legions of our enemies thicken on our
plains; desolation and death mark their bloody career; whilst the mangled corpses of our countrymen seem to cry out to us as a voice from heaven
“Will you permit our posterity? to groan under the 115 galling chains of our murderers? Has our blood
been expended in vain? Is the only reward which our constancy, till death, has obtained for our
1 Ignominious, disgraceful. 2 Posterity, children, descendants.
country, that it should be sunk into a deeper and more ignominious vassalage ?1 Recollect who are the men that demand your submission; to whose decrees 120 you are invited to pay obedience! Men who, unmindful of their relation to you as a brethren, of your long implicit 2 submission to their laws; of the sacrifice which you and your forefathers made of your natural advantages for commerce to their 125 avarice — formed a deliberate plan to wrest from you the small pittance 3 of property which they had permitted you to acquire. Remember that the men who wish to rule over you, are they who, in pursuit of this plan of despotism, annulled the sacred con- 130 tracts which had been made with your ancestors; conveyed into your cities a mercenary 4 soldiery to compel you to submission by insult and murder – who called your patience, cowardice; your piety, hypocrisy."
Countrymen! The men who now invite you to surrender your rights into their hands, are the men who have let loose the merciless savages to riot in the blood of their brethren, who have taught treachery to your slaves, and courted them to assassinate 140 your wives and children.
These are the men to whom we are exhorted to sacrifice the blessings which Providence holds out
1 Vassalage, dependent position. 2 Implicit, complete. 3 Pittance, very small allowance. Mercenary, hired.
to us — the happiness, the dignity of uncontrolled 145 freedom and independence.
Let not your generous indignation be directed against any among us, who may advise so absurd and maddening a measure. Their number is but few and
daily decreases; and the spirit which can render 150 them patient of slavery will render them contemptible enemies.
Our Union is now complete; our constitution composed, established, and approved. You are
now the guardians of your own liberties. We may 155 justly address you, as the Decemviri' did the Romans,
“Nothing that we propose can pass into a law without your consent. Be yourselves, O Americans, the authors of those laws on which your happiness depends.
You have now in the field armies sufficient to repel the whole force of your enemies, and their base and mercenary auxiliaries. The hearts of your soldiers beat high with the spirit of freedom
they are animated with the justice of their cause, 165 and, while they grasp their swords, can look up to
heaven for assistance. Your adversaries are composed of wretches who laugh at the rights of humanity, who turn religion into derision, and would for
higher wages direct their swords against their 170 leaders or their country. Go on, then, in your
1 Decemviri, “ The Ten Men” who at one time ruled Rome. 2 Auxiliaries, allies.