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The Crisis. No. V



To the People:

At a juncture like the present, when the National reputation of Britain, as well as her absolute safety, stands tottering on the brink of destruction; when Liberty and Freedom, the great pillars of the Constitution, are, by force and fraud, undermined, and tumbling into ruins; when the bloody sword of tyranny is drawn against America, and soon to be plunged into the bowels of her innocent inhabitants; when the present Sovereign, aided by a despicable junto, the rebel, outcast, and refuse of Scotland, and a Parliament not returned by the free suffrages of the People, are rioting with impunity in the spoils of an insulted powerful Kingdom; when they, by cruel oppression, have spread terrour and civil war in every part of the British Empire; when they have destroyed or suspended her trade, and sapped the credit of publick security; when the most iniquitous and unjust Laws are daily passed to curb the spirit, and bind in chains the hands of a brave and free People; when St˙ James' s is made the slaughter-house of America; when the Sovereign has become a National Executioner, and for a sceptre carries a bloody knife; when, by a most scandalous and shameful profusion of the publick money, we are hourly robbed and plundered to answer all the purposes of kingcraft and villany; when new Taxes are daily imposed upon the People in time of peace, to the almost entire ruin of the State; when the minions of despotism are increasing the Land Forces, for the open and avowed purpose of wading knee-deep in blood through the Liberties of Britain; when the Protestant Religion is openly subverted, and the British subjects in Canada deprived of those great securities of their personal liberty and property — the Habeas Corpus Act, and Trial by Juries; when a suspending and dispensing power is assumed by the Crown; when opposition to the most cruel and wanton acts of lawless power is deemed Rebellion; when the Senators, designed as the protectors of the People, are become their destroyers; when the appointed guardians of publick freedom are become base apostates and conspirators against the Liberties of mankind; when neither oaths nor conscience can bind the Sovereign or his Ministers; when both publick and private justice is denied to a subject, nay, to the whole body of the People at large; when our lives are exposed to false accusations, and our persons to arbitrary imprisonment and heavy fines; when the Judges before whom we are to stand upon life and death, and before whom all cases concerning liberty and property must be brought, are too much devoted to the will and pleasure of the Crown, and enemies to the natural rights of mankind; when Juries, who are to decide our fate, are packed, bribed, or modeled to the pernicious designs of a wicked and detestable Ministry; when every post, Civil, Naval, and Military, is filled by Northern flatterers and their adherents, by men of no principles, by parasites, pimps, catmites, and the advocates for arbitrary power; when the People can see nothing but misery and slavery before their eyes; when this vast and mighty Empire, the admiration and envy of


the world, is, through corruption and villany, fallen into ruins:

At such a juncture as this, and under these dreadful and alarming circumstances of experienced and impending danger, it becomes the duty of every Englishman to stand forth to defend his life, his liberty, and his property, from lawless violence, and to save his Country from perdition.

So highly did our brave and worthy ancestors value and esteem their rights, liberties, and privileges, that they spared neither blood nor treasure in their defence, when invaded, as they too often were, by some of our Kings, who, in the pursuit of lawless power, pulled down all the fences of liberty, and broke in, like the present Sovereign, upon the Constitution, so far that the lives, liberties, and properties of the subjects of this Realm were hourly in danger, and many fell sacrifices to Royal or Ministerial vengeance.

Then it was, that our generous forefathers nobly associated themselves in defence of their inherent and legal rights, and made an offering of the best and choicest blood in the Kingdom to the shrine of Liberty, that we, their posterity, might be free and happy. To them and the glorious struggles they made with power, we owe all the blessings we enjoy, and the English Constitution — our greatest boast and their greatest glory.

It was in such times as these, when our brave progenitors behaved like Britons; with a true patriot-zeal, with which almost every breast was fired, they spurned the yoke, and broke the chains that were prepared for them, letting their King and his minions know they would not suffer him nor them to destroy their birthrights, and dispense with the known laws of the land, by which they were resolved to be governed, and not by his will, or any other lawless power upon earth.

Let us at this time, in this hour of imminent danger, follow so bright and glorious an example, by a well-timed, noble resistance to the present Royal and Ministerial plan for subverting the Laws and Religion, and overturning the Constitution of the British Empire in England and America; a resistance that will secure freedom to posterity, and immortal honour to ourselves. The field of glory is open before us; let us rouse from a state of apathy, and exert ourselves in a manner becoming of Englishmen, worthy of men who love liberty, and deserve to he free. Let us show to the world we are not to be enslaved by one nor by five thousand tyrants; for the sons of cruelty, corruption, and despotism, will pursue their bloody designs with great vigour, and with all the unrelenting malice of barbarians, against our fellow-subjects in America, in proportion as we are tame and acquiescing; and if once they can succeed, through our baseness and cowardice, the sword will be immediately turned against us — the sacred Constitution of our Empire dissolved, and we shall fall despised, unlamented, and detested, into the same horrible gulf of arbitrary power.

Let us take advantage of the present opportunity, while our resentments boil high; while every English breast is fired with indignation against those who are the authors of all our past and present calamities, which now convulse the State to its centre. Let us by all proper, just, and legal means, exemplarily punish the parricides, and avowed enemies of mankind. Let neither private acquaintance nor personal alliance stand between us and our duty to our Country. Let all who have an interest in the publick safety join in common measures to defend the publick safety. Let us pursue to disgrace, destruction, and even death, all those who have brought this ruin upon us, let them be ever so great, or ever so many. Let us stamp and deep engrave, in characters legible to all Europe at present, and to all posterity hereafter, what vengeance is due to crimes which have no less objects in view than the ruin of Nations and the destruction of millions. Let us frustrate their present desperate and wicked attempt to destroy America, by joining with our injured fellow-subjects, and bravely striking one honest and bold stroke to destroy them. Nay, although the designs of the conspirators should be laid deep as the centre; although they should raise hell itself, and should fetch legions of votaries from thence to avow their proceedings; yet, let us not leave the pursuit till we have their heads and their estates.

Hear part of the Address of your injured and oppressed fellow-subjects in America, to you, upon this melancholy


occasion — upon the dreadful prospect of impending ruin. Let every Englishman lay his hand upon his heart, and declare whether he does not think they have been most cruelly treated; and whether he can, in justice, conscience, and humanity, draw the sword against them; or whether he would not rather join with them, and endeavour to obtain a decisive victory over tyranny, or fall gloriously with the liberties of his Country. These are their words:

"When a Nation, led to greatness by the hand of Liberty, and possessed of all the glory that heroism, munificence, and humanity can bestow, descends to the ungrateful task of forging chains for her friends and children; and instead of giving support to freedom, turns advocate for slavery and oppression, there is reason to suspect she has either ceased to be virtuous, or been extremely negligent in the appointment of her rulers.

"In almost every age, in repeated conflicts, in long and bloody wars, as well civil as foreign, against the many powerful Nations, against the open assaults of enemies, and more dangerous treachery of friends, have the inhabitants of your Island — your great and glorious ancestors — maintained their independence, and transmitted the rights of men and the blessings of liberty to you their posterity.

"Be not surprised, therefore, that we, who are descendants from the same common ancestors; that we, whose forefathers participated in all the rights, the liberties, and the Constitution you so justly boast, and who have carefully conveyed the same fair inheritance to us, guarantied by the plighted faith of Government, and the most solemn compacts with British Sovereigns, should refuse to surrender them to men who found their claims on no principles of reason, and who prosecute them with a design that, by having our lives and property in their power, they may, with the greater facility, enslave you.

"The cause of America is now the object of universal attention; it has at length become very serious. This unhappy Country has not only been oppressed, but abused and misrepresented; and the duty we owe ourselves and posterity, to your interest, and the general welfare of the British Empire, leads us to address you on this very important subject.

"We call upon you yourselves to witness our loyalty and attachment to the common interest of the whole Empire. Did we not, in the last war, add all the strength of this vast Continent to the force which repelled our common enemy? Did we not leave our native shores, and meet disease and death, to promote the success of the British Arms in foreign climates? Did you not thank us for our zeal, and even reimburse us large sums of money, which you confessed we had advanced beyond our proportion, and far beyond our abilities? You did.

"To what causes, then, are we to attribute the sudden change of treatment, and that system of slavery which was prepared for us at the restoration of peace?

"Let justice and humanity cease to be the boast of your Nation! Consult your history, examine your records of former transactions; nay, turn to the annals of the many arbitrary Slates and Kingdoms that surround you, and show us a single instance of men being condemned to suffer for imputed crimes, unheard, unquestioned, and without even the specious formality of a trial; and that, too, by laws made expressly for the purpose, and which had no existence at the time of the fact committed. If it be difficult to reconcile these proceedings to the genius and temper of your Laws and Constitution, the task will become more arduous when we call upon Ministerial enemies to justify, not only condemning men untried, and by hearsay, but involving the innocent in one common punishment with the guilty; and for the act of thirty or forty, to bring poverty, distress, and calamity on thirty thousand souls, and those not your enemies, but your friends, brethren, and fellow-subjects.

"Admit that the Ministry, by the power of Britain and the aid of our Roman Catholick neighbours, should be able to carry the point of Taxation, and reduce us to a state of perfect humiliation and slavery, such an enterprise would doubtless make some addition to your National debt, which already presses down your liberties, and fills you with pensioners and placemen. We presume, also, that your Commerce will somewhat be diminished. However, suppose you should prove victorious, in what condition will you then be?"


"What advantage or what laurels will you reap from such a conquest?

"May not a Ministry, with the same Armies, enslave you? It may be said, you will cease to pay them; but remember the Taxes from America; the wealth, and we may add the men, particularly the Roman Catholicks of this vast Continent, will then be in the power of your enemies. Nor will you have any reason to expect that, after making slaves of us, many among us should refuse to assist in reducing you to the same abject state."