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His judgment was too solid to be duped by ap-1 These proceedings were not adapted to the taste pearances, and his heart too firm and manly, to be of Mr. Henry. On the contrary, they were "gall amused by false and flattering hopes.-lle had long and worm-wood” to him. The house required to since read the true character of the British court, be wrought up to a bolder tone. He rose, thereand saw that no alternative remained for his coun- fore, and moved the following manly resolutions: try, but abject submission, or heroic resistance. It
“Resolved, That a well-regulated militia, comwas not for a soul like Henry's, to hesitate between these courses. He had offered upon the altar of posed of gentlemen and yeomen, is the natural liberty no divided heart. The gulpb of war which strength and only security of a free government;
that such a militia, in this colony, would forever yawned before bim, was indeed fiery and fearful.
render it unnecessary for the mother country to But he saw that the awful plunge was inevitable. The body of the convention, however, besitated.
keep among us, for the purpose of our defence,
any standing army of mercenary soldiers, always They cast around a "longing lingering look” to
subversive of the quiet, and dangerous to the those flowery fields, on which peace and ease and
liberties of the people, and would alleviate the joy were still sporting, and it required all the
pretext of taxing us for their support. energies of a Mentor, like Henry, to push them from the precipice, and conduct them over the “That the establishment of such a militia is, as stormy sea of the revolution, to liberty and glory. this time, peculiarly necessary, by the state of our
laws, for the protection and defence of the coun. The convention being formed, and organized for
try, some of which are already expired, and others business, proceeded in the first place to express will shortly be so, and that the known remissness their unqualified approbation of the measures of of government, in calling us together, in legislative congress, and to declare that they considered this
capacity, renders it too insecure, in this time of whole continent as under the highest obligations danger and distress, to rely that opportunity will to that respectable body for the wisdom of their be given of renewing them, in general assembly, councils, and their unremitted endeavors to main.
or making any provision to secure our inestimable tain and preserve inviolate, the just rights and liberties of his majesty's dutiful and loyal subjects which they are threatened.
rights and liberties from those further violations with in America. They next resolved, "that the warmest thanks
“Resolved, therefore, that this colony be imme. of the convention, and of all the inhabitants of this diately put into a state of defence, and that
be a committee to prepare colony were due, and that this just tribute of applause, be presented to the worthy delegates,
a plan for the embodying, arming and disciplining deputed by a former convention to represent this such a number of men, as may be suficient for that colony in general congress, for their cheerful under.
purpose." taking, and faithful discharge of the very important The alarm which such a proposition must have trust reposed in them."
given to those who had contemplated no resistThe morning of the 23d of March was opened ance of a character more serious than petition, by reading a petition and memorial from the as. non-importation and passive fortitude, and who sembly of Jamaica, “to the king's most excellent still hung, with suppliant tenderness, on the skiris majesty;" whereupon it was resolved that the of Britain, in the hope of seeing, once more, her unfeigned thanks, and most grateful acknowledge. maternal smile, will be readily conceived by the ments of the convention be presented to that very reflecting reader. The shock was painful: it was respectable assembly, for the exceeding generous almost general. The resolutions were opposed, and affectionate part they have so nobly taken, in as not only rash in policy, but as harsh, and the unhappy contest between Great Britain and well nigh impious, in point of feeling. Some of her colonies, and for their truly patriotic endeavors the warmest patriots of the convention opposed to fix the just claims of the colonists upon the most them. Richard Bland, Benjamin Harrison, and permanent constitutional principles; that the as. Edmund Pendleton, who had so lately drunk of sembly be assured, that it is the nost ardent wish the fountain of patriotism, in the continental con. of this colony (and they were persuaded, of the gress, and Robert C. Nicholas, one of the best, as whole continent of North America) to see a speedy well as ablest men and patriots in the state, gave return of those halcyon days when we lived a free them all the resistance of their great influence and and happy people."
labilities. They urged the late gracious reception of the congressional petition by the throne. They upon us from the east, and which promised so fair insisted that national comity, and much more, and happy a day: with this they contrasted the filial respect, demanded the exercise of a more clouds and storms which the measure, now prodignified patience: that tire sympathies of the posed, was so well calculated to raise, and in which parent country were now on our side; that the we should not have even the poor consolatio of friends of American liberty, in parliament, were being pitied by the world, since we should have, still with us, and bed, as yet, had no cause to blush so needlessly and rashly, drawn them upon our. for our indiscretion; that the manufacturing in- selves.” terest of Great Britain, already smarting under the These arguments and topics of persuasion were effects of our non-importation, co-operated power so well justified by the appearance of things, and fully towards our relief; that the sovereign himself were, moreover, so entirely in unison with that love had relented, and shown that be looked upon our of ease and quiet, which is natural to man, and that sufferings with an eye of pity. Was this the disposition to hope for happier times, even under moment, they asked, to disgust our friends, to the most forbidding circumstances, that an ordinary extinguish all the conspiring sympathies which man, in Mr. Henry's situation, would have been were working in our favor, to turn their friend. glad to compound with the displeasure of the ship into hatred; their pity into revenge! And house, by being permitted to withdraw his rcsolu. what was there, they asked, in the situation of the tions in silence. colony, 'to tempt us to this? Were we a great
Not so Mr. Henry. His was a spirit fitted to · military people? Were we ready for war? Where raise the whirlwind, as well as to ride in and direct Es were our stores—where were our arnıs—where our it. His was that comprehensive view, that unerring
soldiers—where our generals--where our money, prescience, that perfect command er the actions $ the sinews of war? They were no where to be of men, that qualified him, not merely to guide,
found. In truth, we were poor-we were naked-but almost to create the destinies of nations. we were defenceless: and yet we talk of assuming the front of war!—of assuming it too, against a
He rose, at this time, with a majesty unusual -: nation, one of the most formidable in the world! a to him, in an exordium, and with all that self.
nation, ready and armed at all points!-her navies possession by which he was so invariably distin. riding triumphant in every sea-her armies never guished. “No man,” he said, “thought more highly marching but to certain victory?- What was to be than he did of the patriotism, as well as abilities, the issue of the struggle we were called upon to
of the very worthy gentlemen who had just ad. court? What could be the issue, in the compara.
dressed the house. But different men often saw tive circumstances of the two countries, but to
the same subject in different lights; and therefore, yield up this country, an easy prey to Great Bri. he boped it would not be thought disrespectful to tain, and to convert the illegitimate right, which those gentlemen, if entertaining, as he did, opi. the British parliament now claimed, into a firm and nions of a character very opposite to theirs, de indubitable right, by conquest? The measure might
should speak his sentiments, freely and without be brave; but it was the bravery of madmen. It reserve. This, he said, was no time for ceremey. bad no pretension to the character of prudence,
The question before the house, was one of awful $ and as little to the grace of genuine courage. It
moment to this country. For his own part, be would be time enough to resort to measures of
considered it, as nothing less than a question of despair, when every well founded hope had entirely
freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the vanished.
magnitude of the subject, ought to be the free.
dom of the debate. It was only in this way that To this strong view of the subject, supported they could hope to arrive at truth, and fulfil the as it was, by the stubborn fact of the well known great responsibility which tbey held to God and helpless condition of the colony, the opponents of their country. Should he keep back his opinions, those resolutions superadded every topic of persua
at such a time, through fear of giving offence, be sion wbich belonged to the case. “The strength
should consider himself as guilty of treason to. and lustre which we derived from our connexions wards his country, and of an act of disloyalty towith Great Britain-ibe domestic comforts which wards the Majesty of Heaven, which he revered we had drawn from the same source, and wbose before all earthly kings.” value we were now able to estimate, by their loss “Mr. President,” said be, "it is natural to man --thai ray of reconciliation, which was dawning íto indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt
to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen - we have remonstrated—we have supplicatedto the song of that syren, till she transforms us have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and into beasts. Was this, he asked, the part of wise have implored its interposition, to arrest the tyran men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for nical hands of the ministry and parliament.-Our liberty? Were we disposed to be of the number petitions have been slighted--our remonstrances of those who, having eyes, see not, and, baving ears, bave produced additional violence and insulthear not the things which so nearly concern their our supplications have been disregarded, and we temporal salvation? For his part, whatever anguish have been spurned with contempt from the fost of spirit it might cost, he was willing to know the of the throne. In vain, after these things, may we whole truth-to know the worst, and to provide indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation, for it.”
There is no longer any room for hope. If we wisb
to be free-if we mean to preserve inviolate those “He had,” he said, “but one lamp, by which bis inestimable privileges, for which we have been so feet were guided, and that was the lamp of ex. long contending—if we mean not basely to abandas perience. He knew of no way of judging the the noble struggle, in which we have been so long future, but by the past; and judging by the past, engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves he wished to know what there had been in the never to abandon, until the glorious object of our conduct of the British ministry for the last ten contest shall be obtained- WE MUST FIGHT! I reyears, to justify those hopes with which gentle. peat it, sir, WE MUST Figut!! An appeal to armas, men had been pleased to solace themselves and the and to the God of Hosts, is all that is left us!” house. It is that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, “Imagine to yourself,” says my correspondent, sir, it will prove a snare to your feet.-Suffer not "this sentence, delivered with all the calm dignity yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask your of Cato, of Utica-imagine to yourself the Roman selves how this gracious reception of our petition senate, assembled in the capitol, when it vas! comports with those warlike preparations, which entered by the profane Gauls, who, at first, were cover our waters, and dark en our land? Are fleets awed by their presence, as if they had entered an and armies necessary to a work of love and recon-assembly of the Gods!-imagine that you heard that ciliation? Have we shewn ourselves so unwilling Cato addressing such a senate-imagine that you to be reconciled, that force must be called in, to saw the hand writing on the wall of Belshazar's win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, palace-imagine you had heard a voice, as from sir. These are the implements of war and subjuga. Heaven, uttering the words "We must fight,” as tion-the last arguments, to which kings resort. I the doom of fate, and you may have some idea of ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, the speaker, the assembly to whom he addressed if its purposes be not to force us to submission?— himself, and the auditory, of wliich I was one, Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quar.
“They tell us, sir," continued Mr. Henry, “that ter of the world, to call for all this accumulation we are weak-unable to cope with so formidable of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They
an adversary. But when shall we be stronger?are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. Will it be the next week or the next year? Wil They are sent over, to bind and rivet upon us those
it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a chains, which the British ministry have been so
British guard sball be stationed in every house! long forging. And what have we to oppose to
Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inac. them? Sball we try argument?Sir, we have
tion? Shall we acquire the means of effectual been trying that, for the last ten years. Have we
resistance, by lying supinely on our backs, and any thing new to offer upon the subject? Nothing, hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our We have held the subject up in every light of
enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, which it is capable: but it has been all in vain. we are not weak, if we make a proper use of those Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplica.
means which the God of nature hath placed in our tion? What terms shall we find, which have not
power.– Three millions of people, armed in the been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that you, sir, deceive ourselves longer. Sir, we have
which we possess, are invincible by any force which done every thing that could be done, to avert the
our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we storm wbich is now coming on. We have petitioned! "Judge Tucker.
shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just, pendence was the effect of ministerial oppression God, who presides over the destinies of nations, and not the result of a pre-concerted plan.—Tho' and who will raise up friends to fight our battles intended for the bosom of private friendship, those for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; letters may legitimately be considered as conveyit is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, ing the sentiments of the whole American people sir, we have no election. If we were base enough at that time. They evince the reluctance with to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the which a separation from Great Britain was contemcontest. There is no retreat, but in submission plated; and do away the idea held out by some and slavery! Our chains are forged: their clank. English writers, that “independence had long been ing may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war meditated by the leading characters in the colois enevitable; and let it come!! I repeat it, sir-Ler nies, and that they availed themselves of the obIT COME!!!
noxious acts of the British government for its as
sertion.” “It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter: Gentlemen may cry, "peace peace;" but there is no
Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Dr. Wm. Small, peace; the war is actually begun! The next gale formerly one of the professors of William and Mathat sweeps from the north will bring to our ears ry, but then at Birmingham, in England, where he the clash of resounding arms? Our brethren are successfully applied his extensive scientific knowalready in the field! Why stand we here idle?-ledge to practical improvements, in various manu. Wbat is it that gentlemen wish? What would factures, &c. dated May 7th, 1775, writes as fol. they have?
Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, lows: as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery!!! Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not
“Within this week, we have received the unhap-, what course others may take; but, as for me” |py news of an action of considerable magnitude be(cried he, with both his arms extended aloft, his tween the king's troops and our brethren of Bosbrows knit, every feature marked with the resolute ton, in which it is said 500 of the former, with purpose of his soul, and liis voice swelled to its the earl of Percy, were slain. That such an acboldest note of exclamation,) “GIVE ME LIBEUTY tion has happened is undoubted, though, perhaps, OR GIVE ME DEATH."
the circumstances may not yet have reached us
with truth. This accident has cut off our last He took his seat. No murmur of applause was hopes of reconciliation, and a phrenzy of revenge heard; the effect was too deep. After the trance seems to have seized all ranks of people.—It is a of a moment, several members were seen to start lamentable circumstance that the only mediatory from their seats. The cry “ro arms," seemed to power acknowledged by both parties, instead of quiver on every lip, and gleam from every eye! leading to a reconciliation this divided people, Richard H. Lee, arose and supported Mr. Henry, should pursue the incendiary purpose of still blow. but even bis melody was lost amidst the agitationing up the flames, as we find him constantly doing of that ocean, which the master spirit of the siorm in every speech, and public declaration. This may, bad listed on bigh. That supernatural voice still perhaps, be intended to intimidate into an acquisoumded in their ears, and sbivered along their
escence, but the effect has been most unfortuarteries. They heard in every pause the cry of nately otherwise. A little knowledge of human liberty or death. They became impatient of speech. nature, and attention to its ordinary workings, Their souls were on fire for action.
might baye foreseen that the spirits of the people The measure was adopted; and Patrick Henry, were in a state, in which they were more likely to Richard II. Lee, Robert C. Nicholas, Benjamin be provoked than frightened by haughty deport. Harrison, Lemuel Riddick, George Washington, ment; and to fill up the measure of irritation, Adam Stevens, Andrew Lewis, William Christian, proscription of individuals has been substituted Edmund Pendleton, Thomas Jefferson, and Isaac in the room of just trial. Can it be believed that Zane, esquires, were appointed a committee to pre. a grateful people will suffer those to be consigned pare the plan called for by the last resolution. to execution whose sole crime luas been developing
and asserting their right? Had the parliament pos. Letters from Thomas Jefferson. sessed the liberty of reflection, they would have From the Richmond Compiler of April 6, 1816. avoided a measure as impotent as it was inflamma. The following are extracts from letters tending tory. When I saw lord Chatham's bill, I enterto prove that the American declaration of inde. Itained bigla hopes that a reconciliation could have
been brought about. The difference between his give up, every thing but the right of taxation. terms, and those offered by our congress, might Now, the truth is far from this, as I can affirm, have been accommodated, if entered on by both and put my honor to the assertion. Their con. parties with a disposition to accommodate; but tinuing in this error, may, perhaps, have very ill the dignity of parliament, it seems, can brook no consequences. The congress stated the lowest opposition to its power. Strange, that a set of men terms they thought possible to be accepted, in who have made sale of their virtue to the minister, order to convince the world they were not unreashould yet talk of retaining dignity!"
sonable. They gave up the monopoly and regu.
lation of trade, and all acts passed prior to 1761, Another letter from the same gentleman to John
leaving to British generosity to render these, at Randolph, the former attorney general, dated Au.
some future time, as easy to America as the inte. gust 25th, 1775, contains the annexed passage:
rests of Great Britain could admit. I wish no false "I am sorry the situation of our country should sense of honor, no ignorance of our real intentions, render it not eligible to you to remain longer in it. no vain hope that partial concessions of right will I hope the returning wisdom of Great Britain will be accepted, may induce the ministry to trife ere long put an end to the unnatural contest. There with accommodation 'till it shall be put even out may be people to whose tempers and dispositions of our own power to accommodate. If, indeed, contention may bopleasing, and who may therefore Great Britain, disjoined from her colonies, be a wish a continuance of confusion; but to me, it is of match for the most potent nations of Edırope, with all states but one, the most horrid. My first wish the colonies thrown into their scale, they may go is a restoration of our just rights; my second a re.on securely; but if they are not assured of this, it turn of the bappy period when, consistently with would be certainly unwise, by trying the event of duty, I may withdraw myself totally from the pub. another campaign, to risk our accepting a foreign lic eye, and pass the rest of my days in domes. aid, which, perhaps, may not be unattainable but tic ease and tranquility, banishing every desire of on a condition of everlasting avulsion from Great afterwards even hearing what passes in the world. Britain. This would be thought a hard condition Perhaps, ardour for the latter adds considerably to those who wish for re-union with the parent to the warmth of the former wish. Looking with country. I am sincerely one of those, and would rafondness towards a reconciliation with Great Bri- ther be in dependence on Great Britain, properly litain, I cannot help hoping you may be able to con- mited, than on any nation upon earth, or than on no tribute towards expediting this good work. I nation; but I am one of those too, who rather than think it must be evident to yourself that the minis. submit to the right of legislating for us, assumed try have been deceived by their officers on this by the British parliament, and which late experi. side the water, who (for what purposes I cannot ence* has shewn they will so cruelly exercise, would tell) have constantly represented the American op
lend my hand to sink the whole island in the ocean. position as that of a small faction, in which the *This is understood to have alluded to a bill, body of the people took little part. Tbis you can passed by the bouse of lords at their preceding inform them, of your own knowledge, to be untrue. pardon which might be offered, certain individuals
session, excepting from the benefit of any general They bave taken it into their heads, too, that we by name. Mr. Montague, then agent for the house are cowards, and shall surrender at discretion to of burgesses of Virginia (which place was procur.
ed for him by the interest of Peyton Randolph, an armed force. The past and future operations speaker of the house, and his early and intimate of the war must confirm or undeceive them on friend) extracted the substance of the bill, and the that head. I wish they were thoroughly and mi- names excepted, and enclosed the extract to Pey
ton Randolph. Among the persons excepted were nutely acquainted with every circumstance rela- Hancock and one or both Adamses, as 'notorious tive to America, as it exists in truth. I am per. leaders of the opposition in Massachusetts, Patrick suaded they would go far towards disposing them Henry, as the same in Virginia, Peyton Randolph,
as president of the general congress at Philadels to reconciliation. Even those in parliament who phia, and Thomas Jefferson, as author of a propoare called friends to America, geem to know no sition to the convention of Virginia for an address thing of our real determinations. I observe they was in right no link of union between England
to the king, in which was maintained that there pronounced in the last parliament that the con- and the colonies but that of the same king, and gress of 1774 did not mean to insist rigorously on that neither the parliament, nor any other functhe terms they held out, but kept something in re. exercise authority over the colonies, tban over the
tionary of that governinent, had any more right to serve to give up, and in fact, that they would electorate of Hanover, &c.