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ystematic plan of parliamentary despotism, and without waiting for an appeal from Boston, they resolved on its deliverance. First among them as an orator stood Patrick Henry, whose words had power to kindle in his hearers passions like his own. But eloquence was his least merit; he was revered as the ideal of a patriot of Rome in its austerest age. The approach of danger quickened his sagacity, and his language gained the boldness of prophecy. He was borne up by the strong support of Richard Henry Lee and Washington. It chanced that George Mason also was then at Williamsburg, a man of strong Chap. III.} 1774. May. and true affections; learned in constitutional law; a profound reasoner; honest and fearless in council; shunning ambition and public life, from desponding sorrow at the death of his wife, for whom he never ceased to mourn; but earnestly mindful of his country as became one whose chastened spirit looked beyond the interests of the moment. After deliberation with these
anything from their justice. The crisis, he said, Chap. VI.} 1774. Aug. is arrived when we must assert our rights, or submit to every imposition that can be heaped upon us, till custom and use shall make us tame and abject slaves. From the first he was convinced that there was not any thing to be expected from petitioning. Ought we not, then, he exclaimed, to put our virtue and fortitude to the severest test? Thus Washington reasoned privately with his friends. In the convention, Richard Henry Lee and Patrick Henry were heard with such delight that the one was compared to Cicero, the other to Demosthenes. But Washington, who never was able to see distress without a desire to assuage it, made the most effective speech when he uttered the wish to raise one thousand men, subsist them at his own expense, and march at their head for the relief of Boston. The resolves and instructions of Virginia corresponded to his spirit. They demanded that the restrictions on navigation should
tee as came in his way, crossed to Charlestown, and with the committee of that town hastened to meet the committee of Cambridge. On their arrival, they found Danforth, a county judge and mandamus councillor, addressing four thousand people who stood in the open air round the court house steps; and such order prevailed, that the low voice of the feeble old man was heard by the whole multitude. He finished by giving a written promise, never to be any way concerned as a member of the council. Lee, in like manner, confirmed his former resignation. The turn of Phipps, the high sheriff, came next, and he signed an agreement not to execute any precept under the new act of parliament. Oliver, the lieutenant governor, who resided at Cambridge, repaired to Boston in the greatest distress. It is not a mad mob, said he to the British admiral; and he warned Gage that sending out troops would be attended with the most fatal consequences. Had they marched only five miles into the country, W
all; and from respect for the mechanics, it was accepted by a great majority. The names of the members were then called over, and Patrick Henry, Washington, Richard Henry Lee, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Jay, Gadsden, John Rutledge of South Carolina, the aged Hopkins of Rhode Island, and others, representing eleven colonies, answere the Ancient Dominion; and he was at once rebuked by his colleagues. Though a representation equal to the importance of each colony, were ever so just, said Richard Henry Lee, the delegates from the several colonies are unprepared with materials to settle that equality. Bland, of Virginia, saw no safety but in voting by colonies.setts rising in arms. The next day muffled bells were tolled. At the opening of congress, Washington was present, standing in prayer, and Henry, and Randolph, and Lee, and Jay, and Rutledge, and Gadsden; and by their side Presbyterians and Congregationalists, the Livingstons, Sherman, Samuel Adams, John Adams, and others of Cha
ry. But the Virginians, conforming to their instructions, narrowed the issue to the innovations during the reign of George the Third; and as Maryland and North Carolina would not separate from Virginia, the acts of navigation, though condemned by Lee as a capital violation of American rights, were not included in the list of grievances. The Virginians had never meant to own the binding force of the acts of navigation; the proposal to recognise them came from Duane, of New York; and encountether in point of fortune or in point of blood, than the man who now addresses you. His scheme held out a hope of a continental union, which was the long cherished policy of New York; it was seconded by Duane, and advocated by Jay; but opposed by Lee Chap. XII.} 1774. Sept. of Virginia. Patrick Henry objected to entrusting the power of taxation to a council to be chosen not directly by the people, but indirectly by its representatives; and he condemned the proposal in all its aspects. The o
oint is yielding all. Against him spoke John Adams and Duane. A right, said Lynch of Carolina, to bind us in one case may imply a right to bind us in all; but we are bound in none. The resolution of concession was at first arrested by the vote of five colonies against five, with Massachusetts and Rhode Island divided, but at last was carried by the influence of John Adams. Duane desired next to strike the Quebec act from the list of grievances; but of all the bad acts of parliament Richard Henry Lee pronounced it the worst. His opinion prevailed upon a vote which Duane's adhesion made unanimous. Thus eleven acts of parliament or parts of acts, in- Chap. XIII.} 1774. Oct. eluding the Quebec act and the acts specially affecting Massachusetts, were declared to be such infringements and violations of the rights of the colonies, that the repeal of them was essentially necessary, in order to restore harmony between the colonies and Great Britain. The congress had unanimously reso
lmighty God!—I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death. His transfigured features glowed as he spoke, and Chap. XXV.} 1775. April. his words fell like a doom of fate. He was supported by Richard Henry Lee, who made an estimate of the force which Britain could employ against the colonies, and after comparing it with their means of resistance, proclaimed, that the auspices were good; adding, that Thrice is he armed, who hath his quarrel just! The resolutions were adopted. To give them effect, a committee was raised, consisting of Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, Washington, Jefferson, and others, who in a few days reported a plan for the establishment of a well-regulated militia by forming in every county one or more volunteer companies and troops of horse, to be in constant training and readiness to act on any emergency. Whatever doubts had been before expressed, the plan was unanimously accepted. Nicholas would even have
Chapter 34: The second continental congress. May, 1775. few hours after the surrender of Ticonderoga, Chap. XXXIV} 1775. May 10. the second continental congress met at Philadelphia. There among the delegates, appeared Franklin and Samuel Adams; John Adams, and Washington, and Richard Henry Lee; soon joined by Patrick Henry, and by George Clinton, Jay, and Jay's college friend, the younger Robert R. Livingston, of New York. Whom did they represent? and what were their functions? They were committees from twelve colonies, deputed to consult on measures of conciliation, with no means of resistance to oppression beyond a voluntary agreement for the suspension of importations from Great Britain. They formed no confederacy; they were not an executive government; they were not even a legislative body. They owed the use of a hall for their sessions to the courtesy of the carpenters of the city; there was not a foot of land on which they had the right to execute their dec