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[442] the new war-cry of the world—‘freedom AND
chap. XXIV.} 1766. Mar.
equality.’1 ‘Death,’ said he, ‘with all its tortures, is preferable to slavery.’ ‘The thought of independence,’ said Hutchinson despondingly, ‘has entered the heart of America.’2

Virginia had kindled the flame; Virginia had now the honor, by the hand of one of her sons, to close the discussion, by embodying, authoritatively, in calm and dignified, though in somewhat pedantic language, the sentiments which the contest had ripened. It was Richard Bland,3 of the Ancient Dominion, who, through the press, claimed freedom from all parliamentary legislation; and pointed to independence as the remedy for a refusal of redress. He derived the English constitution from Anglo-Saxon principles of the most perfect equality, which invested every freeman with a right to vote at the election of members of parliament. ‘If,’ said he, ‘nine tenths of the people of Britain are deprived of the high privilege of being electors, it would be a work worthy of the best patriotic spirits of the nation to effectuate an alteration in this putrid part of the constitution, by restoring it to its pristine perfection.’ ‘But the gangrene,’ he feared, ‘had taken too deep hold to be eradicated in these days of venality.’ Discriminating between the disfranchised inhabitants of England and the colonists, and refusing to look for the rights of the colonies in former experience, whether of Great Britain, or Rome, or Greece, he appeal ed to ‘the law of nature, and those rights of mankind ’

1 Joseph Warren to Edmund Dana, 19 March, 1766.

2 Hutchinson to Thomas Pownail, March, 1766.

3 An inquiry into the right of the British Colonies, &c.; No date, but compare resolutions of the Sons of Liberty at Norfolk Court House, 31 March, 1766.

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