Monday, October 02, 2006

Inhabitants of the United States

Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 7, May 29, 1777
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"When obliged to take this first Step the People proceeded with the utmost Caution. No tumult or disorder appeared, every man was impressed with an awful Sense of the Necessity he was under of Exercising that Right which Nature gave to every Man, and which the British Constitution expressly Assented, that of Consulting and resolving Concerning his Safety and Happiness, and each was determined to Exercise it no farther than the Necessity pressingly required....
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"...The Conduct of the British Court towards the Americans in the repeated dissolutions of their Assemblies whenever they attempted to Complain, in disregarding their Complaints when offered in the most humble and supplicating Manner by their Representatives in Congress, in refusing even to point out a Mode whereby they might find an Inoffensive passage to the Royal Ear, in disregarding all Rules of Justice and humanity by Subjecting their persons and Properties to Military Violence and Endeavouring even to Starve them, and by denying any Mitigation of those Enormities, Unless absolute Submission Should be made. this Conduct of the B[ritish] C[ourt] left no room to doubt that they considered the Americans as objects merely of Dominion not of Government. of Plunder not of Protection, of Military Tyranny not of Legal administration of Justice. No choice was left but to Oppose Arms to Arms, or submit to the absolute dominion of Men whose pride and Cruelty is incurrable, and whose rapacity is without Bounds. No alternative was left to the Citizen but to rouse into a Soldier or Sink into a Slave and entail Servitude Irrevocably on his posterity.
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"Yet even after this altho the People of America Could not Hesitate to take Arms, they kept in view their much loved Constitutional Connection with Britain, and altho they knew that when Protection was denied them, and they were driven to arms for their Safety, all relation between them and the Crown of Britain was dissolved, yet they chose to overlook this, and so long as any Hope remained of obtaining it on Just and reasonable Grounds to leave every possible Avenue open to reconciliation, nor did they forego this pleasing tho Imaginary prospect until they four.d that Britain was arming Slaves, Savages, and foreign Mercenaries against them and that she was totally regardless of their sufferings and Intent only on Subduing them to absolute Slavery. It now became Folly to indulge any Hope of Reconciliation. The Americans were universally Sensible that in all her progress Britain was determined to Establish over them an unlimitted Tyranny, that nothing less would Satisfy her ambition, and to Effect this She would Not Scruple to Expose them to the Undistinguishing Plunder and Massacres of Slaves, Indians, and more unfeeling Mercenary Soldiers. All Connection with Britain became impossible Except as Slaves without Right or property, but what must be held at the Precarious Will and pleasure of her Ministers.(2) Reconciliation became the same thing as Slavery, Independence the same thing as Freedom. Independance was not the voluntary choice of America but the Alternative which she prefered to Servitude, for no other Choice but one of them was left...."

2 Comments:

At 1:27 AM, Anonymous The Watcher said...

A good read on the subject:
"The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude" by Etienne de la Boetie. Maybe you are familiar? E-mail your thoughts on this piece to chris.lavalla@nmcco.com. Have a good one.

 
At 4:34 AM, Blogger E. David Quammen said...

Thank you Watcher. Enjoy your posts! Very grateful to you for sending it, and no, I was not aware of it. Will be reading it as time permits.

Glad that you dropped in. Look forward to reading more of your posts. Think that we are on the same page, judging by what I've read so far.

Best,

E. David Quammen

 

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