Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

his strength of mind, miscellaneous knowledge, and cultivated taste, which were united with a habitual cloquence; with an elegance of manners, and a benignity which made him the delight as well as the ornament of society. The infirmities of declining years had detached him long before his death, from the busy scenes of life; but in retirement his patriotism felt no abatement. The welfare of his country was ever dear to him, and he was ready to make any sacrifices for its promotion. Unequivocal in his attachment to a republican government, he invariably supported, as far as his voice could have influence, those men and those measures, which he believed most friendly to republican principles. He was esteemed for his uprightness, and the purity of his morals. From a letter which he wrote to James Warren, Esquire, dated the 25th of the first month, 1805, it would seem that he was a member of the society of friends. He published a speech delivered in the house of Assembly of Pennsylvania, 1764; a reply to a speech of Joseph Galloway, 1765; late regulations respecting the colonies considered, 1765; letters from a farmer in Pennsylvania to the inhabitants of the British colonies, 1767-1768.

The following is an extract from an address of Congress, to the several states, dated May 26, 1779, which was also from the pen of Mr. Dickin


"Infatuated as your enemies have been from the beginning of this contest, do you imagine they can now flatter themselves with a hope of conquering you, unless you are false to yourselves?

"When unprepared, undisciplined, and unsupported, you opposed their fleets and armies in full conjoined force, then, if at any time, was conquest to be apprehended. Yet, what progress towards it have their violent and incessant efforts made? Judge from their own conduct. Having devoted

you to bondage, and after vainly wasting their blood and treasure in the dishonourable enterprise, they deigned at length to offer terms of accommodation, with respectful addresses, to that once despised body, the congress, whose humble supplications only for peace, liberty and safety, they had contemptuously rejected, under pretence of its being an unconstitutional assembly. Nay more, desirous of seducing you into a deviation from the paths of rectitude, from which they had so far and so rashly wandered, they made most specious offers to tempt you into a violation of your faith given to your illustrious ally. Their arts were as unavailing as their arms. Foiled again, and stung with rage, imbittered by envy, they had no alternative, but to renounce the inglorious and ruinous controversy, or to resume their former modes of prosecuting it. They chose the latter. Again the savages are stimulated to horrid massacres of women and children, and domestics to the murder of their masters. Again our brave and unhappy brethren are doomed to miserable deaths, in goals and prisonships. To complete the sanguinary system, all the 66 EXTREMITIES of war" are by authority denounced against you.

"Piously endeavour to derive this consolation from their remorseless fury, that "the Father of Mercies" looks down with disapprobation on such audacious defiances of his holy laws; and be further comforted with recollecting, that the arms assumed by you in your righteous cause have not been sullied by any unjustifiable severities.

"Your enemies despairing, however, as it seems, of the success of their united forces against our main army, have divided them, as if their design was to harrass you by predatory, desultory operations. If you are assiduous in improving opportunities, Saratoga may not be the only spot on this continent to give a new denomination to the baffled

[ocr errors]

troops of a nation, impiously priding herself in notions of her omnipotence.

"Rouse yourselves, therefore, that this campaign may finish the great work you have so nobly carried on for several years past. What nation ever engaged in such a contest, under such a complication of disadvantages, so soon surmounted many of them, and in so short a period of time had so certain a prospect of a speedy and happy conclusion. We will venture to pronounce, that so remarkable an instance exists not in the annals of mankind. We well remember what you said at the commencement of this war. You saw the immense difference between your circumstances, and those of your enemies, and you knew the quarrel must decide on no less than your lives, liberties, and estates. All these you greatly put to every hazard, resolving rather to die freemen than to live slaves; and justice will oblige the impartial world to confess you have uniformly acted on the same generous principle. Consider how much you have done, and how comparatively little remains to be done to crown you with success. Persevere; and you insure peace, freedom, safety, glory, sovereignty, and felicity to yourselves, your children, and your children's children.

"Encouraged by favours already received from Infinite Goodness, gratefully acknowledging them, earnestly imploring their continuance, constantly endeavouring to draw them down on your heads by an amendment of your lives, and a conformity to the Divine will, humbly confiding in the protection so often and wonderfully experienced, vigorously employ the means placed by Providence in your hands, for completing your labours.

Fill up your battalions; be prepared in every part to repel the incursions of your enemies; place your several quotas in the continental treasury; lend money for public uses; sink the emissions of

your respective states; provide effectually for expe diting the conveyance of supplies for your armies and fleets, and for your allies; prevent the produce of the country from being monopolized; effectually superintend the behaviour of public officers; diligently promote piety, virtue, brotherly love, learning, frugality and moderation; and may you be approved before Almighty God, worthy of those blessings we devoutly wish you to enjoy.'


Mr. Dickinson's political writings were collected and published in two volumes 8vo. 1801.He died at Wilmington, in the state of Delaware, February 15, 1808, at an advanced age..

DRAYTON, WILLIAM HENRY, an ardent patriot, and a political writer of considerable eminence, was a native of South Carolina. He was one of his majesty's justices in that province, when they made their last circuit in the spring of 1775, and the only one born in America. In his charges to the grand jury he inculcated the same sentiments in favour of liberty, which were patronized by the popular leaders. Soon afterwards he was elected president of the provincial congress, and devoted his great abilities with uncommon zeal for the support of the measures adopted by his native country. In 1774, he wrote a pamphlet, addressed to the American congress, under the signature of a Freeman,' in which he stated the grievances of America, and drew up a bill of American rights. He published his charge to the grand jury, in April 1776, which breathes all the spirit and energy of the mind, which knows the value of freedom, and is determined to support it.

The following is an extract from the charge: "In short, I think it my duty to declare in the awful seat of justice, and before Almighty God, that in my opinion, the Americans can have no safety but by the Divine favour, their own virtue, and their being so prudent as not to leave it in the

the power of the British rulers to injure them. Indeed, the ruinous and deadly injuries received on our side; and the jealousies entertained, and which, in the nature of things, must daily increase against us, on the other; demonstrate to a mind, in the least given to reflection upon the rise and fall of empires, that true reconcilement never can exist between Great Britain and America, the latter being in subjection to the former. The Almighty created America to be independent of Britain: Let us beware of the impiety of being backward to act as instruments in the Almighty hand, now extended to accomplish his purpose; and by the completion of which alone, America, in the nature of human affairs, can be secure against the craft and insidi ous designs of her enemies who think her prosperity and power ALREADY BY FAR TOO GREAT. word, our piety and political safety are so blended, that to refuse our labours in this Divine work, is to refuse to be a great, a free, a pious, and a happy people!

In a

"And now having left the important alternative, political happiness or wretchedness, under God, in a great degree in your own hands, I pray the Supreme Arbiter of the affairs of men, so to direct your judgment, as that you may act agreeable to hat seems to be his will, revealed in his miraculous works in behalf of America, bleeding at the altar of liberty."

His letters published expressly to controvert the machinations of the British commissioners, holding out the fallacious hope of conciliation, have been considered as replete with irresistible arguments, and written in the best style of composition. His strictures also on the conduct of general C. Lee, disobeying orders at the battle of Monmouth, have been highly approved of. His speech in the general assembly of South Carolina, on the articles of the confederation, was published in 1778. Several


« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »