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No man more highly esteems and honors the English troops than I do; I know their virtues and their valor: I know they can achieve anything but impossibilities; and I know that the conquest of English America is an impossibility. You cannot, my lords, you cannot conquer America.
What is your present situation there?: We do not know the worst; but we know that in three campaigns we have done nothing and suffered much. You may swell every expense, accumulate every assistance, and extend your traffic to the shambles of every German despot; your attempts will be forever vain and impotent; — doubly so, indeed, from this mercenary aid on which you rely; for it irritates to an incurable resentment the minds of your adversaries, to overrun them with the mercenary sons of rapine and plunder, devoting them and their possessions to the rapacity of hireling cruelty. If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, I never would lay down my arms
never, never, never. But, my lords, who is the man, that, in addition to the disgraces and mischiefs of the war, has dared to authorize and associate to our arms the tomahawk and scalping knife of the savage ? — to call into civilized alliance the wild and inhuman inhabitant of the woods ? — to delegate to the merciless Indian the defense of disputed rights, and to wage the horrors of his barbarous war against our brethren? My lords, these enormities cry aloud for redress and punishment.
But, my lords, this barbarous measure has been defended, not only on the principles of policy and necessity, but also on those of morality ; “ for it is perfectly allowable,” says Lord Suffolk,“ to use all the means which God and nature have put into our hands.” I am astonished, I am shocked, to hear such principles confessed ; to hear them avowed in this house or in this country
My lords, we are called upon, as members of this house, as men, as Christians, to protest against such horrible barbarity! — “That God and nature have put into our hands !” What ideas of God and nature that noble lord may entertain, I know not; but I know that such detestable principles are equally abhorrent to religion and humanity. What! to attrib
ute the sacred sanction of God and nature to the massacre of the Indian scalping knife! to the cannibalsavage, torturing, murdering, devouring, drinking the blood of his mangled victims ! Such notions shock every precept of morality, every feeling of humanity, every sentiment of honor. These abominable principles, and this more abominable avowal of them, demand the most decisive indignation.
I call upon that right reverend and this most learned bench to vindicate the religion of their God, to support the justice of their country. I call upon the bishops to interpose the unsullied sanctity of their ermine to save us from this pollution. I call upon the honor of your lordships to reverence the dignity of your ancestors and to maintain your own. I call upon the spirit and humanity of my country to vindicate the national character. ... I solemnly call upon your lordships, and upon every order of men in the state, to stamp upon this infamous procedure the indelible stigma of the public abhorrence.
Thou art, O God! the life and light
Of all this wondrous world we see ;
Are but reflections caught from Thee :
ADDRESS TO THE ARMY.
The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and confidence of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of a brave resistance, or the most abject submission.
We have, therefore, resolved to conquer or to die.
Our own, our country's honor, calls upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion; and if we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. Let us, then, rely on the goodness of our cause, and the aid of the Supreme Being, in whose hands victory is, to animate and encourage us to great and noble actions. The eyes of all our countrymen are now upon us; and we shall have their blessings and praises, if happily we are the instruments of saving them from the tyranny meditated against them. Let us, therefore, animate and encourage each other, and show the whole world that a freeman contending for liberty on his own ground is superior to any slavish mercenary on earth.
Liberty, property, life, and honor are all at stake. Upon your courage and conduct rest the hopes of our bleeding and insulted country. Our wives, children, and parents expect safety from us only; and they have every reason to believe that Heaven will crown with success so just a cause. The enemy will endeavor
a to intimidate by show and appearance; but remember they have been repulsed on various occasions by a few brave Americans. Their cause is bad — their men are conscious of it; and if opposed with firmness and coolness on their first onset, with our advantage of works and knowledge of the ground, the victory is most assuredly ours. Every good soldier will be silent and attentive, wait for orders, and reserve his fire until he is sure of doing execution. [1776.]
Small service is true service while it lasts.