chartered rights, for English liberties, for the cause of Algernon Sidney and John Hampden, for trial by jury, the habeas corpus and Magna Charta.
But the English lawyers had decided that Parliament was omnipotent; and Parliament, in their omnipotence, instead of trial by jury and the habeas corpus, enacted admiralty courts in England to try Americans for offences charged against them as committed in America; instead of the privileges of Magna Charta, nullified the charter itself of Massachusetts Bay, shut up the port of Boston, sent armies and navies to keep the peace and teach the colonies that John Hampden was a rebel and Algernon Sidney a traitor.
English liberties had failed them.
From the omnipotence of Parliament the colonists appealed to the rights of man and the omnipotence of the god of battles.
Union! Union! was the instinctive and simultaneous cry throughout the land.
Their Congress, assembled at Philadelphia, once — twice — had petitioned the King, had demonstrat