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debate, and determine conjunctly, by such majorities of votes as they shall agree upon. To act separately is aping the two Houses of Parliament in the British Constitution, which is a relict of the old feudal system, which was founded in injustice, and supported by lawless tyranny. I appeal to common sense, for which Americans are distinguished, whether the two Houses, acting separately, can enter into each other’s sentiments and views so fully as in conjunction; and whether acting separately (each having a negative upon the other) has not a direct tendency to breed ill-will and resentment, which, for humanity’s sake, let be avoided. Let there be no distinction but what wisdom and virtue make. Instead of a Governour, I would advise the Representatives of the people to choose, for the sake of despatch in business, one or more of the wisest of their number to act in the Executive department during the session, and in the recess of the Assembly.

In your next election of Representatives, let your eyes, my brethren, be upon the wise and virtuous of the land. Perhaps there never was, nor ever will be, an assembly which will have more important matters to debate and determine upon.

For God’s sake, and for the sake of mankind, if we make any alterations, let us shun the errors of our ancestors in the reigns of Henry VIII. and Queen Elizabeth. They got rid of one Pope, indeed, but at the same time set up another. Examine with candour, my brethren, and you will find a great deal of contemptible, but superstitiously-worshipped, rubbish, both in Church and State, which has been swept down to us from heathenism and popery, by the great net of time. It is now high time to examine the net, cull out the good fishes, and cast the bad away! If we act as Providence now most evidently points out we should act, we shall have the honour of being “fellow-workers with God;” and America will soon become “the glory of all lands” for the equity of its civil Government, and “the joy of the whole earth” for the purity and practice of the Religion of Jesus Christ.



At the Court at St. James’s, the 1st day of May, 1776; Present: The King’s Most Excellent Majesty in Council.

Whereas his Majesty was graciously pleased, by his Royal Proclamation, bearing date the 22d day of March last, to promise and declare that the bounties of three pounds for every Able Seaman, and two pounds for every Ordinary Seaman, fit for his Majesty’s service, should be paid in the manner thereby directed, to every such Able and Ordinary Seaman, not above the age of fifty nor under the age of eighteen years, who should, on or before the 30th day of April, then following, enter themselves to serve in his Majesty’s Royal Navy, either with the Captains or Lieutenants of his Majesty’s ships, or the chief officers on board such tenders as should be employed for raising men for the service of the Royal Navy; and it being judged expedient for his Majesty’s service that the said bounties should be continued to be paid for some longer time, his Majesty, with the advice of his Privy Council, doth therefore order, and it is hereby accordingly ordered, that the time limited for payment of the said bounties be prolonged and extended from the said 30th day of April to the 30th day of June next, inclusive; whereof all persons concerned are to take notice, and govern themselves accordingly.



Williamsburgh Virginia, May 1, 1776.

In my last, I endeavoured to show that a constitutional Independence, founded on the ancient Charters and original contracts of the Colonies, and warranted by the laws of nature, ought to have been the object of our wishes from the beginning of the dispute. I mean such an Independence as would have given us a total exemption from Parliamentary Government, under the allegiance of the Crown of England. I will now proceed to show why we ought still to have in view this great object of a constitutional Independence, and that the necessity of a total separation from Britain does not yet arise.

Those who cry out incessantly for an immediate subversion of our ancient political system, would do well to consider the subject in all its points of view, and look forward into the probable consequences. They will find, from a thorough knowledge of the history of mankind, that the British Constitution, when conducted on its pure and true principle, is the most perfect form of Government which ever yet has been invented by the wit of man. Every writer on politicks agrees in this point. All nations acknowledge the truth of the assertion. This beautiful system of legislation, which so equally tempers and combines the different forms of Democracy, Aristocracy, and Monarchy, secures a sufficient degree of liberty to the People, while it curbs the ambitious strides of their rulers. It is free from those numerous evils which arise out of either of the other forms, and ought forever to be the object of a wise People. We should remember that the primary object of the dispute was a restoration of this Constitution; and, when reduced to the dire necessity of taking up arms in defence of our invaded rights, it is our duty to avoid sullying so fair a cause by an unjustifiable subversion of the whole system, with the determined purpose of never sheathing the sword till we have recovered our rights. We should deem the re-establishment of our original, our constitutional Independency, a sufficient fruit of our victory. Let us resolve in our minds all the benefits which we have derived from our original country. She hath ever been to us an outwork of defence against the ambitious and potent Nations of Europe. She hath served as a guide and a governour, to prevent and to heal those civil dissensions which mutual jealousy and emulation are too apt to excite in Colonies growing up in each others neighbourhood. To the influence of her excellent Constitution we are indebted for that peace and prosperity which we have formerly enjoyed; and while we continue to live in the full possession of our rights, under the gentle rale of the Crown of England, we must go on progressively in that boundless career, of which there is no other instance in history, until the seat of Empire shall be transferred from Britain to America.

Such is the prospect on one side. Let us now see what the opposite view will present us. A publick declaration of absolute Independence will exclude us forever from terms with Great Britain, and either create us a perpetual enemy, who will have it in her power to check our prosperity, or reduce us to the most abject state of slavery. The events of war are uncertain; and however much we may be elated with our present successes, every wise politician will keep within his own grasp the means of promoting a continuance of success, or of securing the best terms on a reverse of fortune. The People of England have manifested an early inclination to do us justice, while we contend for our constitutional liberties, and the Ministry have found it difficult to recruit their armies; but the moment a Declaration of Independency comes out, every man in England will become our enemy. Numbers in America, too, who have been foremost in their opposition to unconstitutional oppressions, will conscientiously stand forth against the idea of innovation. Already the evil has begun. Pennsylvania and the Jerseys have declared for a constitutional connection; the two Ca-rolinas for a total separation. What the event will be, let those reflect that have thrown the deadly cause of disunion among us. Why say anything about it? If we are victorious, we shall have it in our power to command our own terms; but if the battle goes against us, what terms can we then expect, or where can the evil end?

I will venture to go further. Were we this moment triumphant in all the success of victory, I should still think it for the interest and happiness of America to enjoy the benefits and advantage of a free trade, and a constitutional Independence, under the allegiance of the British Crown. A system of absolute Independence would burst asunder the bands of religion, of oaths, of laws, of language, of blood, of interest, of commerce, of all those habitudes, in fine, which hold us united among ourselves, under the influence of the common parent. Who sees not that such a rending to pieces must reach the entrails, the heart, the very life of the Colonies? Should they have the good fortune to escape the fatal extremity of civil wars, will it be an easy matter for them to agree on a new form of Government? Is it probable that they will establish a form on the same salutary principles as the old one; or is it practicable? If they should incline to do so, who among us has pretensions to


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