« AnteriorContinuar »
bound among men, whose minds, by your virtuous resistance, have been sharpened to the keenest edge of revenge. Thus would your children and your children's children, be by you forced to a participation of all their debts, their wars, their luxuries, and their crimes. And this mad, this impious system, they would lead you to adopt, because of the derangement of your finances.
It becomes you deeply to reflect on this subject. Is there a country upon earth, which hath such resources for the payment of her debts, as America ? Such an extensive territory; so fertile, so blessed in its climate and productions. Surely there is none. Neither is there any, to which the wise Europeans will sooner confide their property. What then are the reasons that your money hath depreciated ? Because no taxes have been imposed to carry on the war. Because your commerce hath been interrupted by your enemies fleets. Because their armies have ravaged and desolated a part of your country. Because their agents have villainously counterfeited your bills. Because extortioners among you, inflamed with the lust of gain, have added to the price of every article of life. And be. cause weak men have been artfully led to believe that it is of no value. How is this dangerous disease to be remedied? Let those among you, who have leisure and opportunity, collect the monies which individuals in their neighborhood are desirous of placing in the public funds. Let the several legislatures sink their respective emissions, that so, there being but one kind of bills, there may be less danger of counterfeits. Refrain a little from purchasing those things which are not absolutely necessary, that so those who have engrossed commodities may suffer (as they deserverily will) the loss of their ill gotten hoards, by reason of the commerce with foreign nations, which the fleets will protect. Above all, bring forward your armies into the field. Trust not to appearances of peace or safety. Be assured, that unless you persevere, you will be exposed to every species of barbarity. But, if you exert the means of defence which God and nature have given you, the time will soon arrive, when every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.
The sweets of a free commerce with every part of the earth will soon reimburse you for all the losses you have sustained. The full tide of wealth will flow in upon your shores, free from the arbitrary impositions of those, whose interest and whose declared policy it was to check your growth. Your interests will be fostered and nourished by governments, that derive their power from your grant, and will therefore be obliged, by the influence of cogent necessity, to exert it in your favour.
It is to obtain these things that we call for your strenuous, unremitted exertions. Yet do not believe that you have been or can be saved merely by your own strength. No! it is by the assistance of Heaven ; and this you must assiduously cultivate, by acts which Heaven approves. Thus shall the power and the happiness of these Sovereign, Free, and Independent States, founded on the virtue of their citizens, increase, extend and endure, until the Almighty shall blot out all the empires of the earth.
Resolved, That it be recommended to the ministers of the gospel, of all denominations, to read or cause to be read, immediately after divine service, the above address to the inhabitants of the United States of America, in their respective churches and chapels, and other places of religious worship.
IN CONGRESS, OCTOBER 30, 1778:
THESE United States having been driven to hostilities by the oppressive and tyrranous measures of Great Britain; having been compelled to commit the essential rights of man to the decision of arms; and having been, at length, forced to shake off a yoke which had grown too burdensome to bear, they declared themselves free and independent.
Confiding in the justice of their cause; confiding in him who disposes of human events, although weak and unprovided, they set the power of their enemies at defiance. ..
In this confidence they have continued through the various fortune of three bloody campaigns, unawed by the power, unsubdued by the barbarity of their foes. Their virtuous citizens have borne, without repining, the loss of many things which make life desirable. Their brave troops have patiently endured the hardships and dangers of a sita uation, fruitful in both beyond former example. com
The congress, considering themselves bound to love their enemies, as children of that Being who is equally the father of all; and desirous, since they could not prevent, at least to alleviate, the calamities of war, have studied to spare those who were in arms against them, and to lighten the chains of captivity.
The conduct of those serving under the king of Great Britain hath, with some few exceptions, been diametrically opposite. They have laid waste the open country, burned the defenceless villages, and butchered the citizens of America. Their prisons have been the slaughter-houses of her soldiers ;
" their ships of her seamen, and the severest injuries have been aggravated by the grossest insults.
Foiled in their vain attempt to subjugate the un: conquerable spirit of freedom, they have meanly assailed the representatives of America with bribes, with deceit, and the servility of adulation. They have made a mock of humanity, by the wanton desstruction of men; they have made a mock of religion, by impious appeals to God whilst in the violation of his sacred commands ; they have made a mock even of reason itself, by endeavouring to
prove that the liberty and happiness of America I could safely be intrusted to those, who have sold
their own, unawed by the sense of virtue or of shame.
Treated with the contempt which such conduct deserved, they have applied to individuals ; they have solicited them to break the bonds of allegiance, and embrue their souls with the blackest of crimes; but, fearing that none could be found through these United States, equal to the wickedness of their purpose, to influence weak minds, they have threatened more wide devastation.
While the shadow of hope remained, that our enemies could be taught, by our example, to respect those laws which are held sacred among civilized nations, and to comply with the dictates of a religion, which they pretend, in common with us, to believe and to revere, they have been left to the influence of that religion and that example. But since their incorrigible dispositions cannot be touched by kindness and compassion, it becomes our duty by other means to vindicate the rights of humanity.
We, therefore, the Congress of the United States of America, do solemnly declare and proclaim, that if our enemies presume to execute their threats, or persist in their present career of barbarity, we will take such exemplary vengeance as shall deter
others from a like conduct. We appeal to that God who searcheth the hearts of men, for the rectitude of our intentions; and, in His holy presence, we declare, that as we are not moved by any light and hasty suggestions of anger and revenge, so through every possible change of fortune we will adhere to this our determination.
IN CONGRESS, OCTOBER 26, 1781.
A PROCLAMATION. ..
WHEREAS, it hath pleased Almighty God, the father of mercies, remarkably to assist and support the United States of America, in their important struggle for liberty, against the long continued efforts of a powerful nation: it is the duty of all rai ks to observe and thankfully to acknowledge the interpositions of his providence in their behalf.Through the whole of the contest, from its first rise to this time, the influence of Divine Providence may be clearly perceived, in many signal instances, of which we mention but a few. .
In revealing the councils of our enemies, when the discoveries were seasonable and important, and the means seemingly inadequate or fortuitous : in. preserving and even improving the union of the several states, on the breach of which our enemies placed their greatest dependance : in increasing the number, and adding to the zeal and attachment to the friends of liberty : in granting remarkable deliverances, and blessing us with the most signal success, when affairs seemed to have the most discouraging appearance : in raising up for us a powerful and generous ally, in one of the first of the European powers : in confounding the councils of our enemies, and suffering them to pursue such