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But what weigh most with all men of serious reflection are, the
moral advantages arising from independence: war and desolation have
become the trade of the old world; and America neither could nor can be
under the government of Britain without becoming a sharer of her
guilt, and a partner in all the dismal commerce of death. The spirit
of duelling, extended on a national scale, is a proper character for
European wars. They have seldom any other motive than pride, or any
other object than fame. The conquerors and the conquered are generally
ruined alike, and the chief difference at last is, that the one marches
home with his honors, and the other without them. 'Tis the natural
temper of the English to fight for a feather, if they suppose that
feather to be an affront; and America, without the right of asking why,
must have abetted in every quarrel, and abided by its fate. It is a
shocking situation to live in, that one country must be brought into all
the wars of another, whether the measure be right or wrong, or whether
she will or not; yet this, in the fullest extent, was, and ever would
be, the unavoidable consequence of the connection. Surely the Quakers
forgot their own principles when, in their late Testimony, they called
this connection, with these military and miserable appendages hanging to
it--"the happy constitution."

Britain, for centuries past, has been nearly fifty years out of every
hundred at war with some power or other. It certainly ought to be a
conscientious as well political consideration with America, not to
dip her hands in the bloody work of Europe. Our situation affords us
a retreat from their cabals, and the present happy union of the states
bids fair for extirpating the future use of arms from one quarter of
the world; yet such have been the irreligious politics of the present
leaders of the Quakers, that, for the sake of they scarce know what,
they would cut off every hope of such a blessing by tying this continent
to Britain, like Hector to the chariot wheel of Achilles, to be dragged
through all the miseries of endless European wars.

The connection, viewed from this ground, is distressing to every man
who has the feelings of humanity. By having Britain for our master, we
became enemies to the greatest part of Europe, and they to us: and the
consequence was war inevitable. By being our own masters, independent of
any foreign one, we have Europe for our friends, and the prospect of an
endless peace among ourselves. Those who were advocates for the British
government over these colonies, were obliged to limit both their
arguments and their ideas to the period of an European peace only; the
moment Britain became plunged in war, every supposed convenience to us
vanished, and all we could hope for was not to be ruined. Could this be
a desirable condition for a young country to be in?

Had the French pursued their fortune immediately after the defeat of
Braddock last war, this city and province had then experienced the woful
calamities of being a British subject. A scene of the same kind might
happen again; for America, considered as a subject to the crown
of Britain, would ever have been the seat of war, and the bone of
contention between the two powers.

On the whole, if the future expulsion of arms from one quarter of the
world would be a desirable object to a peaceable man; if the freedom of
trade to every part of it can engage the attention of a man of business;
if the support or fall of millions of currency can affect our interests;
if the entire possession of estates, by cutting off the lordly claims
of Britain over the soil, deserves the regard of landed property; and if
the right of making our own laws, uncontrolled by royal or ministerial
spies or mandates, be worthy our care as freemen;--then are all men
interested in the support of independence; and may he that supports it
not, be driven from the blessing, and live unpitied beneath the servile
sufferings of scandalous subjection!

We have been amused with the tales of ancient wonders; we have read,
and wept over the histories of other nations: applauded, censured, or
pitied, as their cases affected us. The fortitude and patience of the
sufferers--the justness of their cause--the weight of their oppressions
and oppressors--the object to be saved or lost--with all the
consequences of a defeat or a conquest--have, in the hour of sympathy,
bewitched our hearts, and chained it to their fate: but where is the
power that ever made war upon petitioners? Or where is the war on which
a world was staked till now?

We may not, perhaps, be wise enough to make all the advantages we ought
of our independence; but they are, nevertheless, marked and presented
to us with every character of great and good, and worthy the hand of
him who sent them. I look through the present trouble to a time of
tranquillity, when we shall have it in our power to set an example of
peace to all the world. Were the Quakers really impressed and influenced
by the quiet principles they profess to hold, they would, however
they might disapprove the means, be the first of all men to approve of
independence, because, by separating ourselves from the cities of Sodom
and Gomorrah, it affords an opportunity never given to man before of
carrying their favourite principle of peace into general practice, by
establishing governments that shall hereafter exist without wars. O! ye
fallen, cringing, priest-and-Pemberton-ridden people! What more can we
say of ye than that a religious Quaker is a valuable character, and a
political Quaker a real Jesuit.

Having thus gone over some of the principal points in support of
independence, I must now request the reader to return back with me to
the period when it first began to be a public doctrine, and to examine
the progress it has made among the various classes of men. The area I
mean to begin at, is the breaking out of hostilities, April 19th, 1775.
Until this event happened, the continent seemed to view the dispute as
a kind of law-suit for a matter of right, litigating between the old
country and the new; and she felt the same kind and degree of horror,
as if she had seen an oppressive plaintiff, at the head of a band of
ruffians, enter the court, while the cause was before it, and put the
judge, the jury, the defendant and his counsel, to the sword. Perhaps a
more heart-felt convulsion never reached a country with the same
degree of power and rapidity before, and never may again. Pity for the
sufferers, mixed with indignation at the violence, and heightened with
apprehensions of undergoing the same fate, made the affair of Lexington
the affair of the continent. Every part of it felt the shock, and all
vibrated together. A general promotion of sentiment took place: those
who had drank deeply into Whiggish principles, that is, the right and
necessity not only of opposing, but wholly setting aside the power of
the crown as soon as it became practically dangerous (for in theory
it was always so), stepped into the first stage of independence; while
another class of Whigs, equally sound in principle, but not so sanguine
in enterprise, attached themselves the stronger to the cause, and fell
close in with the rear of the former; their partition was a mere point.
Numbers of the moderate men, whose chief fault, at that time, arose from
entertaining a better opinion of Britain than she deserved, convinced
now of their mistake, gave her up, and publicly declared themselves
good Whigs. While the Tories, seeing it was no longer a laughing matter,
either sank into silent obscurity, or contented themselves with coming
forth and abusing General Gage: not a single advocate appeared to
justify the action of that day; it seemed to appear to every one with
the same magnitude, struck every one with the same force, and created in
every one the same abhorrence. From this period we may date the growth
of independence.

If the many circumstances which happened at this memorable time, be
taken in one view, and compared with each other, they will justify a
conclusion which seems not to have been attended to, I mean a fixed
design in the king and ministry of driving America into arms, in order
that they might be furnished with a pretence for seizing the whole
continent, as the immediate property of the crown. A noble plunder for
hungry courtiers!

It ought to be remembered, that the first petition from the Congress
was at this time unanswered on the part of the British king. That the
motion, called Lord North's motion, of the 20th of February, 1775,
arrived in America the latter end of March. This motion was to be laid,
by the several governors then in being, before, the assembly of each
province; and the first assembly before which it was laid, was the
assembly of Pennsylvania, in May following. This being a just state of
the case, I then ask, why were hostilities commenced between the time
of passing the resolve in the House of Commons, of the 20th of February,
and the time of the assemblies meeting to deliberate upon it? Degrading
and famous as that motion was, there is nevertheless reason to believe
that the king and his adherents were afraid the colonies would agree
to it, and lest they should, took effectual care they should not, by
provoking them with hostilities in the interim. They had not the least
doubt at that time of conquering America at one blow; and what they
expected to get by a conquest being infinitely greater than any thing
they could hope to get either by taxation or accommodation, they seemed
determined to prevent even the possibility of hearing each other, lest
America should disappoint their greedy hopes of the whole, by listening
even to their own terms. On the one hand they refused to hear the
petition of the continent, and on the other hand took effectual care the
continent should not hear them.

That the motion of the 20th February and the orders for commencing
hostilities were both concerted by the same person or persons, and not
the latter by General Gage, as was falsely imagined at first, is evident
from an extract of a letter of his to the administration, read among
other papers in the House of Commons; in which he informs his masters,
"That though their idea of his disarming certain counties was a right
one, yet it required him to be master of the country, in order to enable
him to execute it." This was prior to the commencement of hostilities,
and consequently before the motion of the 20th February could be
deliberated on by the several assemblies.

Perhaps it may be asked, why was the motion passed, if there was at the
same time a plan to aggravate the Americans not to listen to it?



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