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He has affected to render the military, independent of and superior to the civil power:
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitutions and unacknowledged by our laws, giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation, for quartering large bodies of armed troops among us; for protecting them by a mock trial from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states; for cutting off our trade with all parts of the world; for imposing taxes on us without our consent ; for depriving us in many cases of the benefits of trial by jury; for transporting us beyond the seas to be tried for pretended offences; for abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these colonies; for taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and fundamentally the forms of our governments, for suspending our own legislatures and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever :
He has abdicated government here, withdrawing his governors, and declaring us out of his allegiance and protection.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns and destroyed the lives of our people :
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy unworthy the head of a civilized nation :
He has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions of existence :
He has incited treasonable insurrections of our fellow-citizens, with the allurements of forfeiture and confiscation of our property :
He has constrained others, taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands :
He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating
its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of distant people, who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the Christian king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where Men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce : and that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished dye, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them by murdering the people upon whom he also obtruded them; thus paying off former crime committed against the liberties of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the lives of another.
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms; our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injuries. A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a people who mean to be free. Future ages will scarce believe that the hardiness of one man adventured within the short compass of twelve years only, to build a foundation, so broad and undisguised for tyranny over a people fostered and fixed in principles of freedom.
Nor have we been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over these our states. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here, no one of which could warrant so strange a pretension : that these were effected at the expence of our own blood and treasure, unassisted by the wealth or strength of Great Britain : that in constituting indeed our several forms of government, we had adopted a common king, thereby laying a foundation for perpetual league and amity with them: but that submission to their parliament was no part of our constitution nor ever in idea, if history be credited ; and we have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, as well as to the ties of our common kindred, to disavow these usurpations which were likely
to interrupt our connection and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity, and when occasions have been given them, by the regular course of their laws of removing from their councils the disturbers of our harmony, they have by their free elections re-established them in power. At this very time they are permitting their chief magistrate to send over not only soldiers of our own blood, but Scotch and other foreign mercenaries, to invade and destroy us. These facts have given the last stab to agonizing affections, and manly spirit bids to renounce forever these unfeeling brethren. We must endeavor to forget our former love for them, to hold them as we hold the rest of mankind enemies in war,
friends. We might have been a free and a great people together; but a communication of grandeur and of freedom it seems, is below their dignity. Be it so, since they will have it: the road to happiness and to glory is open to us too; we will climb it apart from them, and acquiesce in the necessity which denounces our eternal separation !
We therefore the representatives of the United States in General Congress assembled in the name and by the authority of the good people of these states, reject and renounce all allegiance and subjection to the kings of Great Britain and all others who may hereafter claim by, through, or under them; we utterly dissolve all political connection which may heretofore have subsisted between us and the people or parliament of Great Britain, and finally we do assert and declare these colonies to be free and independant, and that as free and independant states, they have full
power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honour.
[Jefferson's draft of the Declaration of Independence as preserved in the Department of State. It is here reprinted from P. L. Ford's Writings of Thomas Jefferson, vol. ii, pp. 42-58, by permission of the publishers, G. P. Putnam's Sons.]
CHARLES BROCKDEN BROWN
[Charles Brockden Brown was born in Philadelphia, Jan. 17, 1771, and died in the same city, of consumption, Feb. 22, 1810. By his own statement, made in a letter written just before his death, we learn that he never had more than one continuous half-hour of perfect health. In spite of his short life and his ill-health he accomplished much. At first he studied law, but abandoned it for literature. He was a frequent contributor to the magazines of the time and was himself the editor of the Monthly Magazine and American Review (1799), and the Literary Magazine and American Register (1803-8). His first published work, The Dialogue of Alcuin (1797), dealt with questions of marriage and divorce, and he was also the author of several essays on political, historical, and geographical subjects. His novels followed each other with astonishing rapidity: Sky Walk; or the Man Unknown to Himself (1798, not published), Wieland; or the Transformation (1798), Ormond; or the Secret Witness (1799), Arthur Mervyn; or Memoirs of the Year 1793 (17991800), Edgar Huntly; or Memoirs of a Sleep-Walker (1801), Jane Talbot (1801), and Clara Howard; or the Enthusiasm of Love (1801). They met with an equally astonishing success, and constitute the first important contribution to American fiction. The standard text of Brown's works, based on early editions, is that published by David McKay, and from this, with his permission, the extracts are reprinted.]
When, in 1834, the historian Jared Sparks undertook the publication of a Library of American Biography, he included in the very first volume — with a literary instinct most creditable to one so absorbed in the severer paths of history - a memoir of Charles Brockden Brown. It was an appropriate tribute to the first imaginative writer worth mentioning in America, and to one who was our first professional author. He was also the first to exert a positive influence, across the Atlantic, upon British literature, laying thus early a few modest strands towards an ocean-cable of thought. As a result of this influence concealed doors opened in lonely houses, fatal epidemics laid cities desolate, secret plots were organized, unknown persons from foreign lands died in garrets leaving large sums of money ; the honor of innocent women
was constantly endangered, though usually saved in time; people were subject to somnambulism and general frenzy; vast conspiracies were organized with small aims and smaller results. His books, published between 1798 and 1801, made their way across the ocean with
promptness that now seems inexplicable ; and Mrs. Shelley in her novel of The Last Man founds her description of an epidemic on “the masterly delineations of the author of Arthur Mervyn."
Shelley himself recognized his obligations to Brown; and it is to be remembered that Brown himself was evidently familiar with Godwin's philosophical writings, and that he may have drawn from those of Mary Wollstonecraft his advanced views as to the rights and education of women, a subject on which his first book, Alcuin, provided the earliest American protest. Undoubtedly his books furnished a point of transition from Mrs. Radcliffe, of whom he disapproved, to the modern novel of realism, although his immediate influence and, so to speak, his stage properties, can hardly be traced later than the remarkable tale, also by a Philadelphian, called Stanley; or the Man of the World, first published in 1839 in London, though the scene was laid in America. This book was attributed, from its profuse literary information, to Edward Everett, but was soon understood to be the work of a very young man of twenty-one, Horace Binney Wallace. In this book the influence of Bulwer and Disraeli is palpable, but Brown's concealed chambers and aimless conspiracies and sudden mysterious deaths also reappear in full force, not without some lingering power, and then vanish from American literature forever.
Brown's style, and especially the language put by him into the mouths of his characters, is perhaps unduly characterized by Professor Woodberry as being "something never heard off the stage of melodrama.” What this able critic does not sufficiently recognize is that the general style of the period at which they were written was itself melodramatic, and that to substitute what we should call simplicity would then have made the picture unfaithful. One has only to read over the private letters of any educated family of that period to see that people did not then express theinselves as they now do; that they were far more ornate in utterance, more involved in statement, more impassioned in speech.