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tress, so many hundreds of families would be involved in!
The thought of this latter circumstance so much affects me, that I cannot forbear expatiating somewhat more upon it. You have, my dear countrymen and fellow-citizens, riches to tempt a considerable force to unite and attack you, but are under no ties or engagements to unite for your defence. Hence, on the first alarm, terror will spread over all; and, as no man can with certainty depend that another will stand by him, beyond doubt very many will seek safety by a speedy flight. Those, that are reputed rich, will flee, through fear of torture, to make them produce more than they are able. The man, that has a wife and children, will find them hanging on his neck, beseeching him with tears to quit the city, and save his life, to guide and protect them in that time of general desolation and ruin. All will run into confusion, amidst cries and lamentations, and the hurry and disorder of departers, carrying away their effects. The few that remain will be unable to resist. Sacking the city will be the first, and burning it, in all probability, the last act of the enemy. This, I believe, will be the case, if you have timely notice. But what must be your condition, if suddenly surprised, without previous alarm, perhaps in the night! Confined to your houses, you will have nothing to trust to but the enemy's mercy. Your best fortune will be, to fall under the power of commanders of king's ships, able to control the mariners, and not into the hands of licentious privateers. Who can, without the utmost horror, conceive the miseries of the latter, when your persons, fortunes, wives, and daughters shall be subject to the wanton and unbridled rage, rapine, and lust of negroes, mulattoes, and others, the vilest and most abandoned of
mankind.* A dreadful scene! which some may represent as exaggerated. I think it my duty to warn you; judge for yourselves.
It is true, with very little notice, the rich may shift for themselves. The means of speedy flight are ready in their hands; and with some previous care to lodge money and effects in distant and secure places, though they should lose much, yet enough may be left them, and to spare. But most unhappily circumstanced indeed are we, the middling people, the tradesmen, shopkeepers, and farmers of the province and city! We cannot all fly with our families; and, if we could, how shall we subsist? No; we and they, and what little we have gained by hard labor and industry, must bear the brunt; the weight of contributions, extorted by the enemy, (as it is of taxes among ourselves) must be surely borne by us. Nor can it be avoided, as we stand at present; for, though we are numerous, we are quite defenceless, having neither forts, arms, union, nor discipline. And though it were true, that our trade might be protected at no great expense, and our country and our city easily defended, if proper measures were but taken, yet who shall take these measures? Who shall Who shall pay that expense? On whom may we fix our eyes with the least expectation, that they will do any thing for our security? Should we address that wealthy and powerful body of people,
* By accounts, the ragged crew of the Spanish privateer that plundered Mr. Liston's, and another plantation, a little below Newcastle, was composed of such as these. The honor and humanity of their officers may be judged of, by the treatment they gave poor Captain Brown, whom they took with Martin's ship in returning from their cruise. Because he bravely defended himself and vessel longer than they expected, for which every generous enemy would have esteemed him, did they, after he had struck and submitted, barbarously stab and murder him, though on his knees, begging quarter!
who have ever since the war governed our elections, and filled almost every seat in our Assembly;-should we entreat them to consider, if not as friends, at least as legislators, that protection is as truly due from the government to the people, as obedience from the people to the government; and that if, on account of their religious scruples, they themselves could do no act for our defence, yet they might retire, relinquish their power for a season, quit the helm to freer hands during the present tempest, to hands, chosen by their own interest too, whose prudence and moderation, with regard to them, they might safely confide in, secure, from their own native strength, of resuming again their present station, whenever it shall please them;-should we remind them, that the public money, raised from all, belongs to all; that since they have, for their own ease, and to secure themselves in the quiet enjoyment of their religious principles (and may they long enjoy them), expended such large sums to oppose petitions, and engage favorable representations of their conduct, if they themselves could by no means be free to appropriate any part of the public money for our defence, yet it would be no more than justice to spare us a reasonable sum for that purpose, which they might easily give to the King's use as heretofore, leaving all the appropriation to others, who would faithfully apply it as we desired;-should we tell them, that, though the treasury be at present empty, it may soon be filled by the outstanding public debts collected, or at least credit might be had for such a sum, on a single vote of the Assembly; that though they themselves may be resigned and easy under this naked, defenceless state of the country, it is far otherwise with a very great part of the people,with us, who can have no confidence that God will protect
those, that neglect the use of rational means for their security; nor have any reason to hope, that our losses, if we should suffer any, may be made up by collections in our favor at home;-should we conjure them by all the ties of neighbourhood, friendship, justice, and humanity, to consider these things; and what distraction, misery, and confusion, what desolation and distress, may possibly be the effect of their unseasonable predominancy and perseverance;-yet all would be in vain; for they have already been, by great numbers of the people, petitioned in vain. Our late Governor did for years solicit, request, and even threaten them in vain. The Council have since twice remonstrated to them in vain. Their religious prepossessions are unchangeable, their obstinacy invincible. Is there then the least hope remaining, that from that quarter any thing should arise for our security?
And is our prospect better, if we turn our eyes to the strength of the opposite party, those great and rich men, merchants, and others, who are ever railing at Quakers for doing what their principles seem to require, and what in charity we ought to believe they think their duty, but take no one step themselves for the public safety? They have so much wealth and influence, if they would use it, that they might easily, by their endeavours and example, raise a military spirit among us, make us fond, studious of, and expert in, martial discipline, and effect every thing that is necessary, under God, for our protection. But envy seems to have taken possession of their hearts, and to have eaten out and destroyed every generous, noble, publicspirited sentiment. Rage, at the Rage, at the disappointment of their little schemes for power, gnaws their souls, and fills them with such cordial hatred to their opponents, that every proposal, by the execution of which those
may receive benefit as well as themselves, is rejected with indignation. "What," say they, "shall we lay out our money to protect the trade of Quakers? Shall we fight to defend Quakers? No; let the trade perish, and the city burn; let what will happen, we shall never lift a finger to prevent it." Yet the Quakers have conscience to plead for their resolution not to fight, which these gentlemen have not. Conscience with you, gentlemen, is on the other side of the question; conscience enjoins it as a duty on you (and indeed I think it such on every man) to defend your country, your friends, your aged parents, your wives, and helpless children; and yet you resolve not to perform this duty, but act contrary to your own consciences, because the Quakers act according to theirs. Till of late, I could scarce believe the story of him, who refused to pump in a sinking ship, because one on board, whom he hated, would be saved by it as well as himself. But such, it seems, is the unhappiness of human nature, that our passions, when violent, often are too hard for the united force of reason, duty, and religion.
Thus unfortunately are we circumstanced at this time, my dear countrymen and fellow-citizens; we, I mean, the middling people, the farmers, shopkeepers, and tradesmen of this city and country. Through the dissensions of our leaders, through mistaken principles of religion, joined with a love of worldly power, on the one hand; through pride, envy, and implacable resentment on the other; our lives, our families, and little fortunes, dear to us as any great man's can be to him, are to remain continually exposed to destruction, from an enterprising, cruel, now well-informed, and by success encouraged, enemy. It seems as if Heaven, justly displeased at our growing wickedness,