An Address delivered at the request of a committee of the citizens of Washington: on the occasion of reading the Declaration of Independence, on the Fourth of July, 1821
Continued from previous post:
Yet, Fellow-Citizens, these are not the causes of the separation assigned in the paper which I am about to read. The connexion between different portions of the same people, and between a people and their government, is a connexion of duties as well as of rights. In the long conflict of twelve years which had preceded and led to the Declaration of Independence, our fathers had been not less faithful to their duties, than tenacious of their rights. Their resistance had not been rebellion. It was not a restive and ungovernable spirit of ambition bursting from the bonds of colonial subjection, it was the deep and wounded sense of successive wrongs, upon which complaint had been only answered by aggravation, and petition repelled with contumely, which had driven them to their last stand upon the adamantine rock of human rights.
It was then, fifteen months after the blood of Lexington and Bunker’s Hill, after Charlestown and Falmouth, tired by British hands, were but heaps of ashes, after the ear of the adder had been turned to two successive supplications to the throne ; after two successive appeals to the people of Britain, as Friends, Countrymen, and Brethren, to which no responsive voice of sympathetic tenderness had been returned
“Nought but the noise of drums and timbrels loud,
” Their children’s cries unheard that passed thro’ fire
” To the grim idol.”
Then it was, that the Thirteen United Colonies of North America, by their delegates in Congress assembled, exercising the first act of sovereignty by right ever inherent in the people, but never to be resorted to, save at the awful crisis when civil society is solved into its first elements, declared themselves free and independent States, and two days afterwards, in justification of that act, issued this Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America.