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tish house of commons are the democracy of this province? If they are, they are either the people of this province, or are elected by the people of this province, to represent them, and have, therefore, a constitutional right to originate a bill for taxing them: it is most certain they are neither, and, therefore, nothing done by them can be said to be done by the democratic branch of our constitution. I would next ask, whether the lords, who compose the aristocratic branch of the legislature, are peers of America? I never heard it was, (even in those extraordinary times,) so much as pretended; and if they are not, certainly no act of theirs can be said to be the act of the aristocratic branch of our constitution. The power of the monarchic branch we, with pleasure, acknowledge resides in the king, who may act either in person or by his representative; and I freely confess, that I can see no reason why a proclamation for raising taxes in America, issued by the king's sole authority, would not be equally consistent with our own constitution, and, therefore, equally binding upon us, with the late acts of the British parliament for taxing us; for it is plain, that if there is any validity in those acts, it must arise altogether from the monarchical branch of the legislature. And I further think, that it would be at least as equitable; for I do not conceive it to be of the least importance to us, by whom our property is taken away, so long as it is taken without our consent; and I am very much at a loss to know, by what figure of rhetoric, the inhabitants of this province can be called free subjects, when they are obliged to obey, implicitly, such laws as are made for them by men three thousand miles off, whom they know not, and whom they never empowered to act for them; or how they can be said to have property, when a body of men, over whom they have not the least control, and who are not in any way accountable to them, shall oblige them to deliver up any part, or the whole of their substance, without even asking their consent. And yet, whoever
pretends, that the late acts of the British parliament, for taxing America, ought to be deemed binding upon us, must admit, at once, that we are absolute slaves, and have no property of our own; or else, that we may be freemen, and, at the same time, under a necessity of obeying the arbitrary commands of those over whom we have no control or influence, and that we may have property of our own, which is entirely at the disposal of another. Such gross absurdities, I believe, will not be relished in this enlightened age: and it can be no matter of wonder, that the people quickly perceived, and seriously complained of the inroads which these acts must unavoidably make upon their liberty, and of the hazard to which their whole property is by them exposed. For, if they may be taxed without their consent, even in the smallest trifle, they may also, without their consent, be deprived of every thing they possess, although never so valuable, never so dear. Certainly it never entered the hearts of our ancestors, that, after so many dangers in this then desolate wilderness, their hard-earned property should be at the disposal of the British parliament. And as it was soon found, that this taxation could not be supported by reason and argument, it seemed necessary, that one act of oppression should be enforced by another, and, therefore, contrary to our just rights as possessing, or at least having a just title to possess, all the liberties and immunities of British subjects, a standing army was established among us, in time of peace; and evidently for the purpose of effecting that, which it was one principal design of the founders of the constitution to prevent, (when they declared a standing army, in time of peace, to be against law,) namely, for the enforcement of obedience to acts, which, upon fair examination, appeared to be unjust and unconstitutional.
The ruinous consequences of standing armies to free communities, may be seen in the histories of Syracuse, Rome and many other once flourishing states:
some of which have now scarce a name! Their baneful influence is most suddenly felt, when they are placed in populous cities: for, by a corruption of morals, the public happiness is immediately affected; and that this is one of the effects of quartering troops in a populous city, is a truth, to which many a mourning parent, many a lost, despairing child in this metropolis, must bear a very melancholy testimony. Soldiers are also taught to consider arms as the only arbiters by which every dispute is to be decided between contending states; they are instructed implicitly to obey their commanders, without inquiring into the justice of the cause they are engaged to support: hence it is, that they are ever to be dreaded as the ready engines of tyranny and oppression. And it is too observable, that they are prone to introduce the same mode of decision in the disputes of individuals; and from thence have often arisen great animosities between them and the inhabitants, who, whilst in a naked, defenceless state, are frequently insulted and abused by an armed soldiery. And this will be more especially the case, when the troops are informed that the intention of their being stationed in any city, is to overawe the inhabitants. That this was the avowed design of stationing an armed force in this town, is sufficiently known; and we, my fellow-citizens, have seen, we have felt the tragical effects!-the fatal fifth of March, 1770, can never be forgotten. The horrors of that dreadful night, are but too deeply impressed on our hearts. Language is too feeble to paint the emotion of our souls, when our streets were stained with the blood of our brethren; when our ears were wounded by the groans of the dying, and our eyes were tormented with the sight of the mangled bodies of the dead; when our alarmed imagination presented to our views our houses wrapped in flames, our children subjected to the barbarous caprice of the raging soldiery, our beauteous virgins exposed to all the insolence of unbridled passion, our virtuous wives, endeared to us by
every tender tie, falling a sacrifice to worse than brutal violence, and perhaps, like the famed Lucretia, distracted with anguish and despair, ending their wretched lives by their own fair hands. When we beheld the authors of our distress parading in our streets, or drawn up in a regular battalia, as though in a hostile city, our hearts beat to arms; we snatched our weapons, almost resolved, by one decisive stroke, to avenge the death of our slaughtered brethren, and to secure from future danger, all that we held most dear. But propitious heaven forbade the bloody carnage, and saved the threatened victims of our too keen resentment-not by their discipline, not by their regular array; no, it was royal George's livery that proved their shield-it was that which turned the pointed engines of destruction from their breasts. The thoughts of vengeance were soon buried in our inbred affection to Great Britain, and calm reason dictated a method of removing the troops more mild than an immediate recourse to the sword. With united efforts you urged the immediate departure of the troops from the town; you urged it, with a resolution which ensured success; you obtained your wishes, and the removal of the troops was effected, without one drop of their blood being shed by the inhabitants.
The immediate actors in the tragedy of that night, were surrendered to justice. It is not mine to say how far they were guilty. They have been tried by the country and acquitted of murder! and they are not to be again arraigned at an earthly bar. But surely the men who have promiscuously scattered death amidst the innocent inhabitants of a populous city, ought to see well to it, that they be prepared to stand at the bar of an omniscient judge! and all who contrived or encouraged the stationing troops in this place, have reasons of eternal importance, to reflect with deep contrition, on their base designs, and humbly to repent of their impious machinations.
The infatuation which hath seemed, for a number
of years, to prevail in the British councils, with regard to us, is truly astonishing! What can be proposed by the repeated attacks made upon our freedom, I really cannot surmise: even leaving justice and humanity out of question. I do not know one single advantage, which can arise to the British nation, from our being enslaved. I know not of any gains, which can be wrung from us by oppression, which they may not obtain from us by our own consent, in the smooth channel of commerce. We wish the wealth and prosperity of Britain; we contribute largely to both. Doth what we contribute lose all its value, because it is done voluntarily? The amazing increase of riches to Britain, the great rise of the value of her lands, the flourishing state of her navy, are striking proofs of the advantages derived to her from her commerce with the colonies; and it is our earnest desire that she may still continue to enjoy the same emoluments, until her streets are paved with American gold; only, let us have the pleasure of calling it our own, whilst it is in our own hands. But this, it seems, is too great a favor; we are to be governed by the absolute command of others; our property is to be taken away without our consent; if we complain, our complaints are treated with contempt; if we assert our rights, that assertion is deemed insolence; if we humbly offer to submit the matter to the impartial decision of reason, the sword is judged the most proper argument to silence our murmurs! But this cannot long be the case: surely the British nation will not suffer the reputation of their justice and their honor, to be thus sported away by a capricious ministry. No, they will in a short time open their eyes to their true interest; they nourish in their own breasts, a noble love of liberty; they hold her dear, and they know that all, who have once possessed her charms, had rather die than suffer her to be torn from their embraces. They are also sensible that Britain is so deeply interested in the prosperity of the colonies, that she must eventually feel every wound