5 October 176757

    “—, Are we unpregnant of our Cause?

    Can we do nothing: no, not for our Country,

    Upon whose Property and most dear Life

    A vile defeat is made? Are we all Cowards?

    ———————————. It cannot be,

    But we are Pigeon-liver’d and lack Gall

    To make Oppression bitter, or e’re this

    We should have fatted all the Region-Kites

    With the Offal of these Slaves. Bloody Villains!

    Remorseless, treacherous, kindless Villains!

    Oh Vengeance! ——————

    O, all you host of Heaven! O Earth! What else?

    And shall I couple Hell? O fy! hold, hold my Heart,

    And you, my Sinews, grow not instant old,

    But bear me stifly up. Can I forget Thee?

    Oh, my poor Country, while Memory holds a Seat

    In this distracted Globe; I will remember Thee!

    Yea, from the Table of my Memory,

    I’ll wipe away all trivial fond Records,

    All sawes of Books, all Formes, all Pressures past,

    That Youth and Observation copied there;

    And thy Commandments all alone shall live

    Within the Book and Volume of my Brain,

    Unmix’d with baser Matter:—Yes by Heaven!58

    When I reflect upon the exalted character of the ancient Britons, when I call to mind the fortitude of our illustrious Predecessors, when my memory retraces the noble struggles of the late memorable period; when from these reflections, a very natural transition is made, and I contemplate the gloomy aspect of the present day, my feeling heart is alternately torn with doubt and hope, despondency and terror.—Can the true, generous magnanimity of British heroes be entirely lost in their degenerate progeny? Is the GENIUS of Liberty, whose breath, but a few days since, inflamed our bosom with a celestial ardor, fled forever? Is the spirit of the prophets departed from among us, that our enemies should become triumphant, and those who seek our destruction shortly rejoice? Or does the Lion of the wood but sleep, that when he is rous’d from his slumbers, the roaring of his mouth, and the flame of his nostrils may be the more terrible? Oh ye ravenous blood-hounds! who eager stand, with wide-expanded jaws, to seize your prey, to you I call, but with no friendly voice. Have you not seen the young Lion of the forest enrag’d—have you not heard the thunder of his voice—have you not beheld the lightnings of his eyes?—Come not too near his sacred retreat—disturb not his peaceful repose—tempt not his wrath, lest he gnash his teeth with indignation, lest he tear you in pieces in the frenzy of his passion, and give thy flesh to the birds of the air, & thy bones to the wild beasts of the field.59

    An attentive observer of the deportment of some particular persons, in this Metropolis, would be apt to imagine that the grand point was gain’d; the people intirely broken to the yoke,—all America subjugated to bondage.—Does the baleful blasts of calamity blow upon our land?—see these accursed betrayers of their native soil snuff with joy the tainted gale. Does the herald of report sound forth the doom of a Sister Colony?—see these vipers of our bosom swell with triumph; see them even now devouring in imagination, the vitals of their country, and anticipate the riotous feast they expect shortly to make upon the blood and treasure of their fellow-citizens; and as if, already, they had fatten’d and grown wanton upon the spoils of the land, see them toss the head of insolence, put on the haughty air of contemptuous disdain, and insultingly display their lordships and dominions, their potentates and powers; nay, they dare to tell us, our only hope is to crouch and cowl under the iron rod, and kiss the scepter of oppression. Precious sample of the meek and lowly temper of those who are destin’d to be our imperious lords and masters!

    Be not deceived, my countrymen, by these venal hirelings, these mercenary tools of power. Let them not cajole you by their subtleties into submission, or frighten you by their vapourings into compliance.—Should some wretched minion, who would palm himself “a true Patriot”, endeavour to flatter you into “moderation and prudence”—tell him, that calmness and deliberation are to guide the judgment; courage and intrepidity are to command in action.60

    Should he tell us “to perceive our inability to oppose the Mother Country”—we boldly answer, that in defence of our civil and religious rights, we dare to oppose the world; that with the GOD of ARMIES on our side, even the GOD who fought our Father’s battles, we fear not the hour of trial; tho’ the host of our enemies should cover the field like locusts, and set their Armies in dreadful array against us, yet the sword of the Lord and of Gideon shall prevail.—But “away with political enthusiasm”! If this, thou blasphemer! is enthusiasm, then will we live and die enthusiasts.

    “IF YOU ARE AGGRIEVED, says the true Patriot, strive by all prudent means to obtain redress.”

    —Go, thou dastard! Get the[e] home! A rank adulterer riots in thy incestuous bed, a brutal ravisher deflowers thy only daughter, a barbarous villain now lifts the murtherous hand and stabs thy tender infant to the heart—see the sapphire current trickling from the wound, & the dear Boy, now as he gasps his last, cries out the Ruffian’s mercy—Go! Thou wretch! be calm and sooth the frenzy of thy soul into tame moderation:—Go! Doubt the injuries you feel Go! question with the assassin of thy wrongs;—and when insultingly he brandishes the fatal dagger, reeling with thy infant’s gore, nay, holds the crimson-tinged point to thine own bosom, and bids defiance to thy utmost rage, then in the very instant of tumultuous fury,—Go! Let e’en thy coward soul boast, if it can, of “prudence, calmness and deliberation.”

    Out thou abandon’d caitiff! Desist thy vile, but impotent, attempts to lure my fellow-countrymen to the hidden snare. Thy blandishments will not fascinate our eyes, neither do thy threats of an “halter” intimidate us. For, under GOD, we are determin’d, that wheresoever, whensoever or howsoever we shall be call’d to make our exit, that we will die free-men.61 And well do we know, that all the regalia of death cannot dignify a villain’s past life, nor diminish from the ignominy with which a slave shall quit his existence; neither can it taint the unblemish’d honour of a son of freedom, tho’ he should make his departure on the already-prepared gibbet, or be dragg’d to the new-erected scaffold for execution: With the plaudit of his conscience he will go off the stage, the crown of joy and immortality shall be his reward; the history of his life, his children shall venerate; the virtues of their Sire shall excite their emulation.

    Hear me, thou Patriot-Traytor and all ye despicable tribe of great and petty villains! Display not too soon thy “halter, fire and faggot,” quaff not our blood before your time, lest your eagerness to anticipate forestall the delights of fruition.

    My much-respected countrymen! Be not terrify’d by the threats and vaunting of your sworn foes: For even in our times, we have seen the finger of the Lord: And we have heard with our ears, and our fathers have told us the great things, which GOD did for them in their day; how he deliver’d them, in the howling wilderness, out of the paw of the Lion, and out of the paw of the Bear; how, with an out-stretched hand, he led them thro’ the dreary desert, giving them the manna of Heaven for food, and the water out of the rock for drink; how he miraculously preserved his chosen people from tempest, fire, sword and famine, and put all their lurking and insiduous enemies to flight: Surely his ear is not heavy, that he cannot hear, nor his arm shorten’d, that he cannot save.—Did he not plant us with his own hand? Hath he not nourish’d and brought us up as children? Surely he will not now altogether cast us off! If we seek him, he will be found of us; while we serve him, he will never forsake us.—And if our GOD be for us—who shall stand against us?62 Tho’ our enemies should be as the vermin of the field, or as the insects of the air, yet will I not be dismay’d; for the breath of his mouth shall scatter them abroad, the power of his strength shall confound and overwhelm them with mighty destruction.63