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it appears that Silas Deane seconded the motion a vigorous attempt to effect our total destruction. of Galloway, that it was supported by John Jay By a late act, all these colonies are declared to be and Edward Rutledge, that Richard Henry Lee, in rebellion, and out of the protection of the Briwithout opposing it, said he could not agree to it tish crown, our properties subjected to confiscawithout consulting his constituents, and that Pat- tion, our people, when captured, compelled to rick Henry alone opposed it in debate. That in join in the murder and plunder of their relatives such an emergency he exerted himself to the and countrymen, and all former rapine and op. utmost, and that to him we are indebted for the pression of Americans declared legal and just. defeat of the insidious proposal can hardly be Fleets and armies are raised, and the aid of foreign doubted, though Samuel Adams seems to have troops engaged to assist these destructive purposes. heartily co-operated with him, and to have done The king's representative in this colony hath not much towards effecting the defeat. There was only withheld all the powers of government from another, and a most memorable occasion, upon operating for our safety, but, having retired on which Patrick Henry, if not by his single effort board an armed ship, is carrying on a piratical saving Independence from imminent peril, may and savage war against us, tempting our slaves, by be said to have fought its last battle, and to have every artifice, to resort to them, and training and won its last victory. In the spring of 1776 it employing them against their masters. In this had become apparent that the time to claim Inde- state of extreme danger, we have no alternative pendence had come, if the struggle with Great left but an abject submission to the will of these Britain was to be continued. Many of the warm- overbearing tyrants or a total separation from the est patriots, however, shrank back from taking the crown and government of Great Britain, uniting step. To attempt a declaration of it, a unan- and exerting the strength of all America for deimity in their ranks, or something approaching it, fence, and forming alliances with foreign powers must be had. With a Declaration of Indepen- for commerce and in war : Wherefore, appealing dence, it was believed that foreign aid could be to the SEARCHER OF HEARTS for the sincerity of obtained, and without such aid the struggle was former declarations, expressing our desire to pursue of more than doubtful issue.
the connexion with that nation, and that we are In this crisis the Convention of Virginia as- driven from that inclination by their wicked counsembled, numbering Patrick Henry amongst its cils, and the eternal laws of self-preservation, members. Upon consultation it was determined Resolved, unanimously, That the delegates apthat Virginia should take the lead on this most pointed to represent this colony in General Conmomentous question. It was indeed a passing of gress be instructed to propose to that respectthe Rubicon, a forward movement which could able body to declare the United Colonies free and not be misunderstood, and the consequences of independent States, absolved from all allegiance which could not be avoided. It was taking a to or dependence upon the crown or Parliament position which could not be afterwards aban- of Great Britain; and that they give the assent of doned, except with disgrace and ruin. On the the colony to such a declaration, and to whatever 14th of May, 1776, the Convention sat as a measures may be thought proper and necessary by Committee of the Whole, with closed doors, and the Congress for forming foreign alliances, and a General Nelson moved the following resolutions, confederation of the colonies, at such time and in drawn by the President of the body, the venerable the manner as to them shall seem best. Providel, Edmund Pendleton :
that the power of forming government for and the “ For as much as all the endeavors of the regulation of the internal concerns of each colony United Colonies, by the most decent representa- be left to the respective colonial legislatures. tions and petitions to the King and Parliament of Resolved, unanimously, That a committee be Great Britain to restore peace and security to appointed to prepare a DECLARATION OF Rights, America under the British government, and a and such a plan of Government as will be most reunion with that people upon just and liberal likely to maintain peace and order in this colony, terms, instead of a redress of grievances, have and to secure substantial and equal liberty to the produced, from an imperious and vindictive ad people." ministration, increased insult, and oppression, and Opposition was immediately manifested, and it was of the greatest importance that it should be services during the Revolutionary period in the overcome and the action made unanimous. Hap: declaration of Mr. Jefferson, that in Virginia they pily, ihe man who was entitled to “the glory of could not have gotten along without him. Forbeginning this glorious revolution” was present to tunately, much material is left with which. the finish his work. We have an account of his mag- future historian may re-write, with more justice to nificent effort from an eye-witness fully capable of Virginia, the important page of her history which appreciating it. Edmund Randolph, in describing relates to the Revolution. Till then there can be the scene, mentions no other speaker, and attri- no just appreciation of her wisdom in council, her butes to him the silencing of all opposition; and valor in battle, her patience in suffering, her he adds: "Henry's eloquence unlocked the secret generous self-sacrifice; in a word, of her noble springs of the human heart, robbed danger of its conduct in the War of Independence. Upon that terror, and broke the keystone in the arch of royal page, even more conspicuously than now, will power.” On the 15th of May, 1776, the resolu- stand the name of Patrick Henry, “who will have tions were reported to the House, and were by it the glory with posterity of beginning this great unanimously adopted.
Revolution." The voice of so important a colony as Virginia could not be disregarded, and the vote in her Note-Since writing the foregoing, I have seen Convention may be said to have decided the ques- a fragment of the manuscript history of Virginia, tion. When Richard Henry Lee made her motion written by Edmund Randolph, the distinguished in Congress the patriots of that body rallied to its attorney-general of Washington's administration. support, followed her as a trusted leader, and our The admirable sketches of his cotemporaries of ever-memorable Declaration of Independence was the Revolution have a peculiar value. He awards the result. Nor was it made a moment too soon. to Henry the highest praise for his great services It changed the whole character of the struggle, in the cause of Independence, and pronounces and proved an effectual barrier to all conciliation him without a rival in America as an orator. He unless based on its recognition. It was followed likens his eloquence to that of Lord Chatham. by negotiations of foreign loans, then by foreign The author was a member of the Convention of alliance, and the aid of a foreign army and navy, 1776, and records a fact, hitherto unknown to which enabled us to effect the capture of Corn history, which adds greatly to the debt of gratitude wallis and to end the struggle triumphantly. What due to Henry by his country. He states that would have been the issue, had not this decisive while George Mason wrote fourteen articles of the step been taken no one can declare; but with our Virginia Bill of Rights, Patrick Henry proposed credit exhausted, without the aid of France, and the Fifteenth and Sixteenth articles of that famous without the embarassments which soon surrounded instrument. The Sixteenth article announces as England, consequent upon our recognition in one of the foundations of government the grand Europe, it may well be believed that we would principle of Religious Liberty, in these words, have finally abandoned the struggle, and acceded “All men are equally entitled to the free exercise to the conciliatory proposals of Great Britain, of Religion, according to the dictates of conwhose ministry before the struggle was over, would science." This vital principle was afterwards gladly have conceded everything but Indepen-embodied by Mr. Jefferson in his celebrated bill dence.
for establishing Religious freedom, passed by the Upon the formation of the State government, Virginia Legislature December 16th, 1785; and Patrick Henry was made the first Governor of it constituted part of the amendments to the Virginia, a fitting acknowledgment of his great Federal Constitution urged by Patrick Henry in services in the cause of independence. Again the Virginia Convention of 1788, and at his inand again he was unanimously reëlected, till the stance it was engrafted upon that Constitution in Constitution prevented his further services. How the first article of the amendments adopted. It worthily be filled the office and how powerfully thus appears that America is indebted to Patrick he aided in the struggle, history has not yet fully Henry for the complete separation of Church and recorded. We have some intimation of his State, and Independence in Religion.
JAMES OTIS, THE FATHER AND THE SON.
BY JOHN H. TASH.
Of the earliest leaders of patriotic opposition to masterly pamphlet, under the title “The Rights the tyrannical machinations of the British Govern- of the Colonies Vindicated," gave him a Contiment, none were braver and nobler than the father nental reputation. The next year, on the 6th of and son James Otis. It is remarkable that, outside June, he offered a motion for a Congress of of New England, few know even the names of Delegates from the several Colonies, which prethese two giants of the days before the war. Yet | vailed and he was a delegate therein and was one fewer know that to these two more than to any of a “Committee to prepare an Address to the other two was due the first development of the Commons of England.” He was elected Speaker spirit of freedom and true Americanism in Massa- of the Legislature in 1767, but negatived by the chusetts, and thence throughout the Colonies. governor. The Legislature having adopted their What Patrick Henry was in Virginia, James Otis famous “Circular Letter” to the Colonies urging the younger was in Massachusetts -a flaming union and concert of action in suitable means of patriot,” Governor Hutchinson aptly styled him, redress against the tyranny of the British governand as such he was cordially revered and esteemed ment, Governor Bernard demanded that it be by the patriots, and dreaded and hated by the rescinded, but the House refused to acquiesce, by a tories, of Boston and of Massachusetts Bay Colony. vote of ninety two to seventeen; in the course of
The father was a self-made man; denied the the debate upon the question of rescinding, Mr. advantages of a regular education, he attained Otis delivered a speech which was characterized signal eminence by the sheer force of native by the loyalists as “the most violent, abusive and energy and an indomitable will.
Even under the treasonable declaration that perhaps was ever royal sway, he had arisen to conspicuous judicial uttered.” September 9th, 1769, he was brutally position, being appointed Judge of Probate for assaulted by some of the customs-officers of Boston Barnstable County in 1763, and Chief-Justice of whom he had denounced in an article in the the Court of Common Pleas in 1764. But although | Gazette during the summer; a deep cut in his his personal interests seemed to demand an oppo. | head, inflicted at this assault, was doubtless the site course, he was already an outspoken advocate direct cause of his mind's becoming seriously of popular rights and opponent of government impaired, and from this time he was unable to measures ;
and so, we find that when, in 1764, take any conspicuous part in the Revolutionary Judge Otis was elected Speaker of the Provincial struggle. Though again elected a representative Legislature and a member of the Council, he was
in 1771, he never sufficiently recovered his health negatived by Governor Bernard ; and each year to be able to serve the cause he so much loved he was elected and negatived until, in 1770, and which he had so signally served hitherto. On Lieutenant-Governor Hutchinson gave the election the 23d of May, 1783, he was killed at Andover, official sanction. The outbreak of the war found by a stroke of lightning. him an old man, but he was ever an ardent patriot There can be no doubt that had Mr. Otis conup to the day of his death, the 9th of November, | tinued in a state of physical and mental health to
permit it, he would have been throughout the The son commenced the practice of law in 1746 period of the war an active co-worker with the at the early age of twenty-one, at Plymouth, but Adamses, Hancock, Treat Paine and the other removed in 1750 to Boston, and soon attained notable patriots of Massachusetts. It has been high repute as a lawyer. In 1761 he delivered charged, on the authority of the tory Hutchinson, his first “Aaming" speech against “ the Writs of that, in 1765, when the Stamp Act was actually Assistance ;" was elected, in May of that year, to passed, Otis favored submission ; I cannot dispute the Legislature and became at once the recognized this, but I can and do believe that his attitude leader of the "opposition" party; in 1764 a was not clearly understood.
1776-1826– 1876. THE GREAT COMMITTEE, AND ITS GREAT CHAIRMAN OF THE “MASTERLY PEN.”
By NELLIE HESS MORRIS.
July 4th, 1776—The Declaration of Indepen- | years and honors, having each been awarded the dence, written by THOMAS JEFFERSON and amended highest official honors the Republic could bestow, by JOHN ADAMS, was ratified by the Delegates and having each lived to see the Nation they had from Thirteen United Colonies in Congress assem- done so much towards establishing, prosperous bled; by this Declaration, the Congress declared and on the high-road to the proud rank it holds to the world the grounds upon which they had, in among the Nations of the world, to daythe resolution of Independence, severed the politi- July 4th, 1876—when all peoples of the earth cal bonds with the British Empire, and made the gladly come to visit the City of our Republic's Thirteen Colonies a new Nation of Free and Inde. Birth, that they may unite with the happy millions pendent States.
of her own people in celebrating the One-HunJuly 4th, 1826—the fiftieth anniversary of the dredth Birthday of the American Nation, and in consummation of the grandest work of their lives, giving our good Ship of State (or States) a globut two or three hours though many miles apart, rious send-off on her Second Centennial Cruise. died THOMAS JEFFERSON and JOHN ADAMS, full of During our extended Six-months' Birthday
Party, it is our right, as Americans, to rejoice and jamin Franklin, Robert R. Livingston and Roger be "exceeding glad,” to shout and even to exult Sherman ; that the Chairman,
Mr. Jefferson, in the marvelous history of our Nation's trials and wrote the immortal document, Mr. Adams persontriumphs during its first century; but if we are wise ally revising it and making several amendments ; we shall not forget or ignore the fact that “the that the entire paper was critically analyzed, each Lord reigneth” and that the Almighty“ hath done sentence, nay, each word, carefully weighed, and great things for us’’ as a Nation,
" whereof we are
many amendments made, ere the “Declaration" glad ;" it is He that “ hath made us glad through was finally adopted by the Congress ; that the " De
' His works,” and we should "give unto the Lord claration” was signed voluntarily by nearly all the the glory due unto His name. If it would be Delegates; that the Congress subsequently decided ungrateful to forget George Washington, James that it should be engrossed on parchment, and Otis, Samuel and John Adams, Patrick Henry, that every Delegate should be required to sign the Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Robert engrossed copy; that the engrossed copy was acMorris, and the other noble patriots of a hundred cordingly signed by the Delegates present, on the years ago, how much more ungrateful to forget 2d of August, and that Matthew Thornton, who was Him who raised up these mighty men, as His own not elected a Delegate until September, and did instruments, and appointed unto each his part and not take his seat until November, was granted the portion in the vast work of founding a new and special privilege of signing in the latter month.” mighty Nation upon the rock of truth and justice My purpose in commencing this paper was to and freedom-not upon the quicksand of licence or offer a brief sketch of Thomas Jefferson, but it licentiousness as some would have us pervert | may be interesting to many of my readers to acliberty; it would be a sad token of ingratitude to company it with a few words concerning his cothe Supreme Ruler on the part of a specially favored committeemen. These five men constiiuted the people for us to dishonor the day set apart to His most important Committee of American, if not of honor. We have one hundred and fifty-seven all, History, and we can readily believe that no days for our Centennial Ceremonies; let us not man was placed upon it without ample assurance “rob God” of His twenty-six.
of his eminent fitness as a patriot of the purest The story of the months of June, July and and most unquestionable principles. Three of August, 1776, of the proposal, preparation, adop- the five, Dr. Franklin, John Adams and Roger tion and signing of the Declaration of Indepen- Sherman, were natives of Massachusetts; Thomas dence has been told and so often retold, that I Jefferson, of Virginia, and Robert R. Livingston, need not give it here in detail, especially as I have of New York City. The last named was the had my turn in repeating it a year ago in these youngest of the quintette, being not yet thirty pages. I shall only note the items which I cannot years old ; Mr. Jefferson was but thirty-three ; avoid to enable me to treat my present theme Roger Sherman was a little past fifty-five ; John intelligibly:
Adams in the prime of his manhood, in his fortyIt will be recollected that, after two days' dis- first year, and Dr. Franklin was already an old cussion, the Resolution of Independence, offered man, past the allotted three-score-and-ten-years
' on the 7th of June, by Richard Henry Lee, of limit, though hale, hearty and vigorous, with his Virginia, under instructions of the Convention of mind alert, his head clear, his heart warm, in the that Colony, was laid over until the 1st of the interest of the coming Nation at whose birth he ensuing July, in the hope of securing unanimity was to be more than an interested spectator. in the Congress in its favor; that, to avoid need. The venerable philosopher and sage, Benjamin less loss of time, a Committee of Five was ap- Franklin, had won distinction, not only as a man pointed to prepare a “ Declaration of Indepen- of science and letters, but in public life as Clerk dence" to accompany, and elucidate or explain the of the General Assembly of the Province of Penngrounds of, the Resolution ; that the Committee consisted of Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Ben
Quite a number of the “Signers” were elected subse
quently to the 4th of July, and hence had not voted for the 1 See MONTHLY for July, 1875, under caption “ The Birth
Declaration, but were permitted to sign and thus pledge their of the American Republic, Ninety-nine Years Ago.”
honor and lives to its maintenance.