26 September 176878

    Messieurs EDES & GILL,

    Please to give this a conspicuous Place in your next, and you shall have another Piece for the Monday after.


    Free government alone preserves the free

    And righteous rule is gen’ral liberty;

    Their guiding law is freedom’s native voice,

    The publick good defin’d by publick choice;

    And justly should the bold offenders fall

    Who dare invade the sovereign rights of All.”79

    IT is now about a twelve-month since I addressed my countrymen, in terms, which were dictated by a heart pregnant with grief and indignation. Those, who had whispered the blackest falshoods against the whole continent, at that time, thought proper publickly to threaten every one, who dared to assert the rights of America, with “halters, fire and faggot.” With these menaces, they, then, vapored away, and they now exult, with a temper truly diabolical, at the prospect of carrying those threats into execution.

    To bruit abroad, that, as soon as the troops shall be quartered upon us, some were to be pilloried, some whipped, some to lose their ears, and others their heads, has been, lately, the delightful task of those, who lie in wait for innocent blood. “An ill-timed oppugnation of the Commissioners’ authority”,80 a manly boldness in delivering patriotic sentiments to the world, and an open daring to discuss the rights of mankind, the liberty of the press, and the freedom of speech, are those unpardonable crimes, for which the scaffold alone can work an expiation.—Thus placemen and pensioners, and all those, who live by reaping where they have not sown, become the most maliciously inveterate persecutors of every friend to his country.—What a prospect here presents itself to the imaginations! A virtuous people on the very borders of absolute slavery; a wise and understanding people, capable of discerning, was there any friendly hand to point out their salvation; a people, hardy and brave, capable of extricating themselves from the toils of bondage, was there any voice to inform them of the danger; Dragoons and executioners to awe and terrify, with fire and sword, every man, who should dare give his countrymen one timely caution. What wonder that a nation, in such dreadful circumstances, should remain uninformed, spiritless and inactive; till their hands were fast-manacled, and the whole herd of great and little tyrants rush violently on, seeking whom they may devour? A people, in this state, it is likely, would never be roused from their lethargy, till the soldier was ravaging their fields, invading their most sacred property, and tearing the dearest pledges of nature from their bosoms; till the executioner was at the door, the scaffold erected, and the fire kindled:—What heaven-inspired paragon of virtue, at such a gloomy crisis, would rise to save the sinking land, and, nobly resquing all for GOD and his country, would dare—

    “—— Unfold a tale, whose lightest word

    Would harrow up the soul, freeze the young blood,

    Make the two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,

    The knotted and combined locks to part,

    And each particular hair to stand on end

    Like quills upon the fretful porcupine?

    O, horrible! O, horrible! most horrible!

    If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not.81