Billeder på siden
[ocr errors]

We view the establishment of the English Colonies on principles of Liberty, as that, which is to render this Kingdom venerable to future ages. In comparison of this, we regard all the victories and çonquests of our warlike ancestors, or of our own times, as barbarous, vulgar distinctions, in which many nations, whom we look upon with little respect or value, have equalled, if not far exceeded

This is the peculiar and appropriated glory of England. . Those, who have and who hold to that foundation of common Liberty, whether on this or on your side of the Ocean, we consider as the true, and the only true, Englishmen. Those, who depart from it, whether there or here, are attainted, corrupted in blood, and wholly fallen from their original rank and value. They are the real rebels to the fair constitution and just supremacy of England.

We exhort you, therefore, to cleave for ever to those principles, as being the true bond of union in this Empire; and to show, by a manly perseverance, that the sentiments of honour, and the rights of mankind, are not held by the uncertain events of war, as you have hitherto shown a glorious and affecting example to the world, that they are not dependent on the ordinary conveniences and satisfactions of life. Knowing no other arguments to be used to men


[ocr errors]

of liberal minds, it is upon these very principles,
and these alone, we hope and trust, that no flatter-
ing and no alarming circumstances shall permit you
to listen to the seductions of those, who would


your dependance on the Crown and Parliament of this Kingdom. That very Liberty, which you so justly prize above all things, originated here; and it may be very doubtful; whether, without being constantly fed from the original fountain, it can be at all perpetuated or preserved in its native purity and perfection. Untried forms of Government may, to unstable minds, recommend themselves even by their novelty. But you will do well to remember, that England has been.great and happy under the present limited Monarchy (subsisting in more or less vigour and purity) for several hundred years. None but Eng. land can communicate to you the benefits of such a Constitution. We apprehend you are not now, nor for ages are, likely to be capable of that form of Constitution in an independent State. Besides, let us suggest to you our apprehensions, that your present union (in which we rejoice, and which we wish long to subsist) cannot always subsist without the authority and weight of this great and long respected Body, to equipoise, and to preserve you amongst yourselves in a just and fair equality. It may not even be impossible, that a long course of


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


you to

war with the Administration of this Country may be but a prelude to a series of wars and contentions among yourselves, to end, at length, (as such scenes have too often ended) in a species of humiliating repose, which nothing but the preceding calamities would reconcile to the dispirited few, who survived them. We allow, that even this evil is worth the risk to men of honour, when rational Liberty is at stake, as in the present case we confess and lament that it is. But if ever a real security, by Parliament, is given against the terrour or the abuse of unlimited power, and after such security given you should persevere in resistance, we leave consider, whether the risk is not incurred without an object; or incurred for an object infinitely diminished, by such concessions, in its importance and value.

As to other points of discussion, when these grand fundamentals of

Grants and Charters are once settled and ratified by clear Parliamentary authority, as the ground for peace and forgiveness on our side, and for a manly and liberal obedience on yours, treaty, and a spirit of reconciliation, will easily and securely adjust whatever may remain. Of this we give you our word, that so far as we are at present concerned, and if by any event we should become more concerned hereafter, you may rest assured, upon the pledges of honour not forfeited, faith not 19



violated, and uniformity of character and profession not yet broken, we at least, on these grounds, will never fail you.

Respecting your wisdom, and valuing your safety, we do not call upon you to trust your existence to your

enemies. We do not advise you to an unconditional submission. With satisfaction we assure you, that almost all, in both Houses (however unhappily they have been deluded, so as not to give any immediate effect to their opinion) disclaim that idea. You can have no friends, in whom

you cannot rationally confide. But Parliament is


friend from the moment, in which, removing its confidence from those, who have constantly deceived its good intentions, it adopts the sentiments of those, who have made sacrifices (inferiour indeed to yours), but have, however, sacrificed enough to demonstrate the sincerity of their regard and value for your liberty and prosperity. Arguments may be used to weaken


confidence in that publick security; because, from some unpleasant appearances, there is a suspicion that Parliament itself is somewhat fallen from its independent spirit. How far this supposition may be founded in fact we are unwilling to determine. But we are well assured, from experience, that even if all were true, that is contended for, and in the extent too, in which it is argued, yet as long as the


P 2

solid and well-disposed forms of this Constitution remain, there ever is within Parliament itself a power of renovating its principles, and effecting a self reformation, which no other plan of Government has ever contained. This Constitution has therefore admitted innumerable improvements, either for the correction of the original scheme, or for removing corruptions, or for bringing its principles better to suit those changes, which have successively happened in the circunstances of the nation, or in the manners of the people.

We feel that the growth of the Colonies is such a change of circumstances; and that our present dispute is an exigency as pressing as any, which ever demanded a revision of our Government. Publick troubles have often called upon this Country to look into its Constitution. It has ever been bettered by such a revision. If our happy and luxuriant increase of dominion, and our diffused population, have out grown the limits of a Constitution made for a contracted object, we ought to bless God, who has furnished us with this noble occasion for displaying our skill and beneficence in enlarging the scale of rational happiness, and of making the politick generosity of this Kingdom as extensive as its fortune. If we set about this great work, on both sides, with the same conciliatory turn of mind, we may now, as in former times, owe even to our


« ForrigeFortsæt »