Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

that jewel shine in this cloudy day, and it will reflect the light of the Sun of righteousness' across the Atlantic, and cheer the western world. The proclamation of a general pardon, accompanied by the grant of a direct representation, and of a security for the equitable proportion, which their taxes shall always bear to ours; -such a proclamation, I say, enforced by the sound of thy trumpets, the roar of thy cannons, the sight of thy fleets, and the terror of thy armies, will shew, that thou art eminently qualified to reign over a brave and free people. Thou mayest thus be merciful without weakness. A Lee and a Washington are resolute enough to stand for a time the shock of thy forces: An Adams and an Hancock are obstinate enough to bury themselves in the ruins of their country. But, resolute and obstinate as they are, thy mercy confounds-thine indulgence disarms them. The paroxysm is over.-Candour and loyalty return together.—The fiery heroes come back to sober heroism; and the rash patriots, to true patriotism. -Thy royal mercy has melted them into tears.-With shame they fix their weeping eyes on the ground; with admiration they lift them up to heaven.-They claim the honour of bringing in person the restitution-money thou insistest upon for thy injured subjects.-They haste to throw themselves at the feet of a sovereign, who knows how to protect, conquer, and pardon.—My imagination sees them cross the Atlantic:-They enter your gates:-They throw American swords at your feet :They ask pardon for themselves, and the guilty people they represent:- They kiss the royal hand, which has averted their impending ruin, and pour out their grateful souls in such words as these :

"Merciful and great king, and ye, his legislative assessors, permit us to distinguish ourselves by our penitential return, as we once did by our rash revolt. With feelings proportionable to the sense we have of our guilt, of the king's mercy, and the parliament's condescension, we lament our misapprehensions; and deploring the bloodshed which they have caused, we acknowledge

that we owe you the reasonable taxes due to the supreme, protecting power, by the consent of all civilized nations, and by the express command of God; and since you condescend to grant us the privilege of a share in your legislature, we will not only religiously, but cheerfully pay them for the time to come. In the mean while, we refund at your feet sums equivalent to the goods, which our rash citizens buried in the sea; and we own it is just, that we should, in due proportion, help to discharge the national debt, which has been in part contracted for our protection, and which our unhappy revolt has of late so greatly increased. Made wiser by our misfortunes, and taught both to revere and love our mother-country, we shall, at every proper opportunity, express our grateful sense of her parental regard. We are indeed separated by the Atlantic ocean, which we lately looked upon as a boundary to your dominions, a vast moat to keep us asunder, and a rampart to defend our Continent against your incursions: But now our views are changed, and we consider that wide sea as a magnificent channel, which Divine Providence seems to have prepared, to facilitate our friendly and commercial intercourse ;-to enrich our respective countries with the treasures of the old and new world;-to make us live in a constant exercise of the art of navigation, and enable us, by these means, powerfully to support the British claims to the empire of the sea.-Such are the pleasing thoughts we have of our happy re-union. May they appear delightful to all, who wish well to the British empire! And may the poisonous breath of discord, more dangerous than all the storms of the Atlantic, never break the sweet calm, which royal mercy and parliamentary condescension have restored to our distracted provinces !"

"Take up your swords, ye brave, though rash patriots," replies the Speaker. "Your courage and love of liberty entitle you to this honour of receiving them again, on condition that you beat them into plow-shares, or use them only against our common enemies. It is the

first-see that it be the last time, they are stained with British blood, and lifted up against the breast that gave you suck. And as the world sees the political and military leaders of the Colonies at the foot of the Throne, and of a British senate; the world shall see, that the king and parliament can not only

Parcere subjectis, et debellare superbos,

but that they know how to conquer the generous friends of liberty, by generous acts of condescending love. Rise, ye mistaken sons of liberty,-rise to demonstrate, that, as we can fight like Britons, so we can forgive as Christians, and indulge as brethren. Take your seats among Bri. tish senators, and particularly represent the American Provinces. But beware of considering this privilege as a bribe bestowed by a timorous Administration,-much less as a reward for your rash revolt. Though we make allowance for your mistakes, and put a favourable construction upon your intentions, we abhor and bear our solemn testimony against your proceedings. But the mantle of royal mercy, and of your repentance, having covered all, we shall not upbraid you with antichristian principles, and bloody scenes, which we wish to be buried in eternal oblivion. If we grant you some seats in the house of commons, it is only to remove your jealousies by a condescension, which becomes a mothercountry and a mild government; and to regain the filial confidence of our American Colonies, by permitting the men, who have been most prejudiced against us, to be eye-witnesses of our firm attachment to the Constitution, of our impartial zeal for the dignity of the crown, of our guardian care for the constitutional liberty of the people, and of our prudent endeavours to secure the due obedience of the British subjects.

"The wound which the demon of discord has given to our union, cannot be perfectly healed but by an amputation, or a consolidation. The former expedient is

inconsistent with our mutual affection, and our common interest; but the latter is perfectly agreeable to both; and our consanguinity loudly demands that it should be

preferred. Help us, then, to consolidate the lacerated parts of the British empire. Let your filial gratitude meet our paternal condescension half-way; so shall reconciling love cast the bridge of union across the Atlantic, and firmly join our happy Island with your fortunate Continent. And may genuine, sober, scriptural patriotism, like an adamantine key, for ever bind the solid arch! May one blood-one language-one constitution-one religion-one king-one supreme legislature-one temporal and eternal interest, combine to make us one flourishing empire, till the kingdom of God swallow up all other kingdoms! Nor let it be said any more,

[blocks in formation]

Whilst the Speaker concludes this patriotic speech, my imagination returns from her pleasing excursion. The awful parliamentary scene vanishes "like the

baseless fabric of a vision." But" a wreck is left behind." Hints of a scriptural method of reconciliation are humbly suggested; and you have some expressions of my cordial concern for the glory of our sovereign, and the satisfaction of our American fellow-subjects, to whom, as well as to Dr. Frice and yourself, I sincerely wish all the sweets of Christian and British liberty, without any of the bitters of religious and civil licentiousness. 'Of making many books, (says Solomon,) there is no end. Let us then hear the conclusion of the whole matter-Fear GOD, and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of Man.'—Or, if you prefer St. Peter's words, Fear God, and honour the king,' for this is the sum of the two tables of Christ's law. That, instead of breaking one of these

[ocr errors]

Our posterity, thinned by our civil wars, will hear of our culpable contentions, and will lament our having turned against each other those swords, which should never have drawn but against our common enemies.

tables under pretence of keeping the other, we may always agree to pay a cheerful obedience to both, is the final and highest wish of,

Reverend Sir,

Your obedient Servant in a Gospel,

which neither makes void the law through faith, nor supersedes loyalty through liberty,


We subjoin here, by way of Postscript to the above Letters, an Extract § from a small Pamphtet published soon after them, and entitled,


We term the following an Extract, because we have judged it proper to omit the introductory part, it being merely a quotation from the Fourth of the preceding Letters, beginning with-" Dr. Price has advanced an argument," &c. p. 164; and concluding with the end of the Letter, p. 178.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »