exhibit to mankind the spectacle of a people attacked
by unprovoked enemies, without any imputation or even suspicion of offence.
In our own native land, in defence of the freedom that is our birthright, for the protection of our property against violence actually offered, we have taken up arms.
We shall lay them down when hostilities shall cease on the part of the aggressors, and all danger of their being renewed shall be removed, and not before.’
So firm a declaration should have been followed by assuming powers of government, opening the ports to every nation, holding the king's officers as hostages and modelling a general constitution.
Such was the counsel of John Adams
also knew that there was no longer a time to negotiate or entreat.
In the ashes of Charlestown
, along the trenches of Bunker Hill
, he saw the footsteps of a revolution that could not be turned back; and to Strahan
, the go between through whom he had formerly communicated with Lord North, he wrote on the fifth of July: ‘You are a member of parliament, and one of that majority which has doomed my country to destruction.
You have begun to burn our towns, and murder our people.
Look upon your hands, they are stained with the blood of your relations!
You and I were long friends; you are now my enemy, and I am yours.’
did not attempt to overrule the opinions or defy the scruples of his colleagues, and, after earnest debates, congress adopted the proposal of Jay
to petition the king once more.
The second petition to the king was drafted by Dickinson
, and in these words put forward Duane
's proposal for a negotiation to be preceded by a truce: