lips of those whose very names should have been a guaranty of their attachment to freedom, principles which would have blotted out every page of our past history.
Borne down, but not dismayed,--confident that the hearts of the people, could the truth but reach them, were sound at the core,--we sought out the weapon which our fathers wielded; we besieged the doors of our State legislatures with petitions and remonstrances.
I need not tell the county of Essex
how that appeal was answered.
Of that answer they have already taken note.
There was one refuge left,--the government which our fathers established, “to promote justice, and secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and their posterity.”
There, at least, we might hope to find men able to look behind circumstances to principles.
Who does not recollect the astonishment — for the first feeling was rather astonishment than indignation -with which we heard that the door of the capitol
was closed to the voice of the people?
It seemed as if the nation had been pressing on blindfold, and we opened our eyes only to behold the precipice over which we were rushing; as if the time-honored rights which had been fought for on British ground, and which our fathers had inherited, not won, were again to be struggled for. The car of Liberty had rolled back four centuries, and the contest whose history is written on the battlefields and scaffolds of England
had been all in vain.
Well might hope sicken, and the bravest despair.
And who does not recollect the thrill of enthusiastic feeling with which we heard that Adams
had thrown himself into the gap, and was contending, at first single-handed, for the right of the citizen to petition, no matter what his creed, his color, or his party?
The effort was the nobler in that he was not a member of the body of