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Answer to the Petition of the Senior Class



College Library, June 9, 1775.

To the Committee of the Senior Class:

GENTLEMEN: Your dutiful and reasonable petition has been duly attended to; and permit us to assure you that it gives us no small satisfaction, that the present members of this institution, and particularly the respectable Senior Class, are so sensibly affected with the distresses of our Country in its present glorious struggles for liberty. We rejoice that you are so ready to sacrifice that applause to which your abilities would entitle you at a publick Commencement. And though by this means you may be deprived of an advantageous opportunity to give proof of your abilities in pleading the righteous cause of liberty, for which your predecessors, in this institution, have been justly celebrated, yet you have hereby given us a convincing proof of your inviolable attachment to the true interest of your Country. Be assured that we shall most heartily concur in this, and every other measure which has been or may be adopted by the Grand American Congress, as well as the Legislature of this Colony, in order to obtain a most ample redress of all our grievances, and deem it the greatest honour to which a noble and generous mind can aspire to contribute in any degree towards a restoration and re-establishment in our Country, of all those liberties and privileges, both civil and religious, which the Almighty Father of the Universe originally granted to every individual of the human race, and which all ought to enjoy till by law forfeited; which reason claims; which the right of soil, obtained of the natives by free purchase, settles upon us; which our charters ensure to us, and which have been recognised by Great Britain, and guarantied to us by the faith of the English Nation. These inestimable rights and privileges our Country has for many years enjoyed, the source of its present wealth and strength, more than its fertile soil or healthy climate. By the cruel and wanton invasion and violation of these, she now bleeds in almost every vein; and finally, it is these that her noble sons, the illustrious American patriots, prompted as well as justified by the examples of heroes in all ages, are now prepared to defend, by the same means which have hitherto preserved the liberties of Great Britain, and raised to royal dignity the House of Brunswick.

And though the din of arms, and the horrours of a civil war, should invade our hitherto peaceful habitations, yet even these are preferable to a mean and base submission to arbitrary power and lawless rapine.

Institutions of learning will doubtless partake in the common calamities of our Country, as arms have ever proved unfriendly to the more refined and liberal arts and sciences ; yet we are resolved to continue College orders here as usual, excepting that the ensuing Commencement, by the advice of such of the Corporation as could be conveniently consulted, will not be publick.

DAVID HOELL, Philos˙ Professor.