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upon the spirit and humanity of my country, to vindicate the national character. I invoke the genius of the constitution. From the tapestry that adorns these walls, the immortal ancestor of this noble lord frowns with indignation at the disgrace of his country. In vain did he defend the liberty and establish the religion of Britain against the tyranny of Rome, if these worse than popish cruelties and inquisitorial practices are endured among us. To send forth the merciless cannibal, thirsting for blood, against whom? - your protestant brethren! To lay waste their country, to desolate their dwellings, and extirpate their race and name, by the aid and instrumentality of these horrible hounds of war! Spain can no longer boast preëminence in barbarity. She armed her. self with blood-hounds, to extirpate the wretched natives of Mexico; we, more ruthless, loose these dogs of war against our countrymen in America, endeared to us by every tie that can sanctify humanity. I solemnly call upon your lordships, and upon every order of men in the state, to stamp upon this infamous procedure the indelible stigma of the public abhorrence. More particularly, I call upon the holy prelates of our religion, to do away this iniquity; let them perform a lustration, to purify the country from this deep and deadly sin. My lords, I am old and weak, and at present unable to say more; but my feelings and indignation were too strong to have said less. I could not have slept this night in my bed, nor even reposed my head upon my pillow, without giving vent to my eternal abhorrence of such enormous and preposterous principles.
SPEECH OF PATRICK HENRY.
PATRICK HENRY'S SPEECH BEFORE THE LEGISLATURE OF
VIRGINIA, BEFORE THE REVOLUTION. MR. PRESIDENT, - It is natural for man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren, till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty ? Are we disposed to be of the number of those, who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation ? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth — to know the worst, and to provide for it.
I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know no way to judge of the future but by the past. And, judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry, for the last ten years, to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the house? Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves, how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations, which cover our waters and darken our land.
Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation ? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled, that force must be called in to win back our love ? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation - the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose
be not to force us to submission ? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies ? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us; they can be meant for no other ; they are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose them ? Shall we try argument ? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject ? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable ; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted ? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves longer. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned — we have remonstrated — we have supplicated — we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition, to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded ; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne.
In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free--if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending—if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon, until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained — we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of Hosts is all that is left us.
They tell us, sir, that we are weak—unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger ? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in
house ? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs, and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot ? Sir, we are not weak, if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. Three millions of people armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that
which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us.
Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat, but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged. Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston. The war is inevitable - and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come! It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter.
Gentlemen may cry, Peace, peace,—but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? what would they have ? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery ? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take ; but as for me, GIVE ME LIBERTY, OR GIVE ME DEATH!
SPEECH OF JOHN ADAMS.
MR. WEBSTER'S IMAGINARY SPEECH OF JOHN ADAMS, ON THE
ADOPTION OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
SINK or swim, live or die, I give my hand and my heart to this vote! It is true, indeed, that, in the beginning, we aimed not at independence. But there is a Divinity which shapes our ends. The injustice of England has driven us to arms; and, blinded to her own interest, for our good she has obstinately persisted, till independence is now within our grasp. We have but to reach forth to it, and it is ours. Why, then, should we defer the declaration? Is any man so weak as now to hope for a reconciliation with England, which shall leave either safety to the country and its liberties, or safety to his own life and his own honor ? Are not you, sir, who sit in that chair, is not he, our venerable col. league near you, are you not both already the proscribed and predestined objects of punishment and of vengeance ? Cut off from all hope of royal clemency, what are you, what can you be, while the power of England remains, but outlaws ? If we postpone independence, do we mean to carry on, or give up, the war ? Do we mean to submit to the measures of parliament - Boston port-bill and all? Do we mean to submit, and consent that we ourselves shall be ground to powder, and our country and its rights trodden down in the dust? I know we do not mean to submit. We never shall submit. Do we intend to violate that most solemn obligation ever entered into by men, that plighting, before God, of our sacred honor to Washington, when, putting him forth to incur the dangers of war, as well as the political hazards of the times, we promised to adhere to him, in every extremity, with our fortunes and our lives? I know there is not a man here who would not rather see a general conflagration sweep over the land, or an earthquake sink it, than one jot or tittle of that plighted faith fall to the ground. For myself, having twelve months ago, in this place, moved that George Washington be appointed commander of the forces, raised, or to be raised, for the defence of American liberty, may-my right hand forget its cunning, and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I hesitate or waver in the support I give him. The war, then, must Go ON. We must FIGHT IT THROUGH. And if the war must go on, why put off longer the Declaration of Independence ? That measure will strengthen us. It will give us character abroad. The nations will then treat with us, which they never can do, while we acknowledge ourselves subjects in arms against our sovereign. Nay, I maintain that England herself will sooner treat for peace with us on the footing of independence, than consent, by