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myself, with the number already gone Doctor Foster will be capable of managing the concerns of the Hospital at New-York so well that the sick will not suffer. The rest of the gentlemen in this department will shortly follow, with the remainder of the stores, and I expect in a few clays after to join them. To-morrow I purpose to set out for Portsmouth, to learn whether there are any tidings of the ten packages of medicines formerly mentioned to be in the prize carried in there, that nothing of so great value may be lost for want of looking after. If, on my way to New-York, your Excellency has any orders for me, I shall, agreeable to my instructions, expect to meet them at Norwich.
From a sense of my duty, I have troubled your Excellency with an account of my proceedings; and remain, your Excellencys most obedient and very humble servant,
To His Excellency General Washington.
JUDGE DRAYTONS CHARGE TO THE GRAND JURY OF CHARLESTOWN, SOUTH-CAROLINA.
At an adjournment of the Court of General Sessions of the Peace, Oyer and Terminer, Assize and General Jail Delivery, held at Charlestown, for the District of Charlestown, on Tuesday, the 23d day of APRIL, 1776, before the Honourable WILLIAM HENRY DRAYTON, Esq., Chief Justice, and his Associates, Justices of the Colony of SOUTH-CAROLINA.
THE CHARGE TO THE GRAND JURY.
GENTLEMEN OF THE GRAND JURY: When, by evil machinations tending to nothing less than absolute tyranny, trials by jury have been discontinued, and juries, in discharge of their duty, have assembled, and, as soon as met, as silently and arbitrarily dismissed without being empannelled, whereby, in contempt of Magna Charta, justice has been delayed and denied; it cannot but afford to every good citizen the most sincere satisfaction once more to see juries, as they now are, legally empannelled, to the end that the laws may be duly administered. I do most heartily congratulate you upon so important an event.
In this Court, where silence has but too long presided, with a direct purpose to loosen the bands of Government, that this country might be involved in anarchy and confusion, you are now met to regulate your verdicts, under a new Constitution of Government, independent of Royal authoritya Constitution which arose according to the great law of nature and of nations, and which was established in the late Congress, on the 26th of March lasta day that will be ever memorable in this country-a month remarkable in our history, for having given birth to the original Constitution of our Government, in the year 1669; for being the era of the American calamities, by the Stamp Act, in the year 1765; for being the date of the repeal of that act, in the following year; and for the conclusion of the famous siege of Boston, when the American arms compelled General Howe a General of the first reputation in the British service, with the largest, best disciplined, and best provided Army in that service, supported by a formidable fleetso precipitately to abandon the most impregnable fortifications in America, as that he left behind him a great part of the bedding, military stores, and cannon of the Army. And for so many important events is the month of March remarkable in our annals. But I proceed to lay before you the; principal causes leading to the late revolution of our Government, the law upon the point, and the benefits resulting from that happy and necessary establishment. The importance of the transaction deserves such a state, the occasion demands, and our future welfare requires it. To do this may take up some little time; but the subject is of the highest moment, and worthy of your particular attention. I will, therefore, confine my discourse to that great point; and, after charging you to attend to the due observance of the Jury law, and the Patrol and Negro acts, forbearing to mention the other common duties of a Grand Jury, I will expound to you the Constitution of your country.
The House of Brunswick was yet scarcely settled in the British throne, to which it had been called by a free People, when, in the year 1719, our ancestors in this country, finding that the Government of the Lords Proprietors operated to their ruin, exercised the rights transmitted to them by their forefathers of England, and, casting off the Proprietary authority, called upon the House of Brunswick to rule over thema House elevated to Royal dominion for no other purpose than to preserve to a People their unalienable rights. The King accepted the invitation, and thereby indisputably admitted the legality of that Revolution. And in so doing, by his own act, he vested in those our forefathers, and us their posterity, a clear right to effect another revolution, if ever the government of the House of Brunswick should operate to the ruin of the People. So the excellent Roman Emperor, Trajan, delivered a sword to Saburanus, his Captain of the Prætorian Guard, with this admired sentence: Receive this sword, and use it to defend me if I govern well, but against me if I behave ill.
With joyful acclamations our ancestors, by act of Assembly, passed on the 18th day of August, 1721, recognised the British Monarch. The virtues of the second George are still revered among us; he was the father of his People; and it was with ecstasy we saw his grandson, George the Third, mount the throne, possessed of the hearts of his subjects.
But alas! almost with the commencement of his reign, his subjects felt causes to complain of Government. The reign advancedthe grievances became more numerous and intolerablethe complaints more general and loudthe whole Empire resounded with the cries of injured subjects! At length, grievances being unredressed and ever increasing; all patience being borne down; all hope destroyed; all confidence in Royal Government blasted; behold! the Empire is rent from pole to pole! perhaps to continue asunder forever.
The catalogue of our oppressions, Continental and local, is enormous. Of such oppressions I will mention only some of the most weighty.
Under color of law, the King and Parliament of Great Britain have made the most arbitrary attempts to enslave America:
By claiming a right to bind the Colonies in all cases whatsoever;
By laying duties at their mere will and pleasure upon all the Colonies;
By suspending the Legislature of New- York;
By rendering the American Charters of no validity, having annulled the most material parts of the Charter of the Massachusetts-Bay;
By divesting multitudes of the Colonists of their property, without legal accusation or trial;
By depriving whole Colonies of the bounty of Providence, on their own proper coasts, in order, to coerce them by famine;
By restricting the trade and commerce of America;
By sending to, and continuing in America, in time of peace, an armed force, without and against the consent of the People;
By granting impunity to a Soldiery instigated to murder the Americans;
By declaring that the People of Massachusetts-Bay are liable, for offences, or pretended offences, done in that Colony, to be sent to, and tried for the same in England, or in any Colony where they cannot have the benefit of a jury of the vicinage;
By establishing in Quebeck the Roman Catholick Religion, and an arbitrary Government; instead of the Protestant Religion and a free Government.
And thus America saw it demonstrated that no faith ought to be put in a Royal Proclamation; for I must observe to you that, in the year 1763, by such a proclamation, people were invited to settle in Canada, and were assured of a legislative representation, the benefit of the common law of England, and a free Government. It is a misfortune to the publick, that this is not the only instance of the inefficacy of a Royal Proclamation. However, having given you one instance of a failure of Royal faith in the Northern extremity of this abused Continent, let it suffice that I direct your attention to the Southern extremity; respecting which, the same particulars were, in the same manner promised, but the deceived inhabitants of St. Augustine are left, by their Grand Jury, in vain to complain and lament to the world, and yet scarcely permitted to exercise even that privilege distinguishing the miserable, that Royal faith is not kept with them.