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perfection to exercise. And what is offered to you by the late act of partament in their place? Liberty of conscience in your religion? No. God gave it to you; and the temporal powers with which you have been and are connected firmly stipulated for your enjoyment of it. If laws trine and human, could secure it against the despotic capacities of wicked men, it was secured before. Are the French laws in civil cases restored? It seems so. But observe the cautious kindness of the ministers who pretend to be your benefactors. The words of the statute are, that those laws all be the rule, until they shall be varied, or altered by any ordinances if the governor and council' Is the 'certainty and lenity of the criminal aw of England, and its benefits and advantages, commended in the said state, and said to have been sensibly felt by you,' secured to you and your descendants? No. They too are subject to arbitrary 'alterations' by the governor and council; and a power is expressly reserved of 'appointng son courts of criminal, civil, and ecclesiastical jurisdiction, as shall be thought proper. Such is the precarious tenure of mere will, by which you hold your lives and religion.
The crown and its ministers are empowered, as far as they could be wy parliament, to establish even the inquisition itself among you. Have to an assembly composed of worthy men elected by yourselves, and in viom you can confide, to make laws for you, to watch over your welfare, and to direct in what quantity, and in what manner your money shall be km from you? No. The power of making laws for you is lodged in the governor and council, all of them dependent upon, and removeable at de gesture of a minister.-Besides, another late statute, made without tur consent, has subjected you to the imposition of excise, the horror of il free states; they wresting your property from you by the most odious mes, and laying open to insolent tax-gatherers, houses the scenes of iomestic peace and comfort, and called the castles of English subjects in he books of their laws. And in the very act for altering your government, nd intended to fatter you, you are not authorized to assess, levy, or upply any rates and taxes, but for the inferior purposes of making roads, int erecting and repairing public buildings, or for other local conveniences, vn your respective towns and districts.' Why this degrading distinchon? Craght not the property honestly acquired by Canadians to be held as sacred as that of Englishmen? Have not Canadians sense enough to mend to any other public affairs, than gathering stones from one place and ping them up in another? Unhappy people! who are not only inred, but insulted Nay more!-With such a superlative contempt of your understanding and spirit has an insolent ministry presumed to think if you, our respectible fellow-subjects, according to the information we have received, as firmly to persuade themselves that your gratitude, for te injuries and insults they have recently offered to you, will engage you take up arms, and render yourselves the ridicule and detestation of the world by becoming tools, in their hands, to assist them in taking that medom from us, which they have treacherously denied to you; the unavoidable consequence of which attempt, if successful, would be the extinccon of all hopes of you or your posterity being ever restored to freedom: ne idiotcy itself cannot believe, that, when their drudgery is performed, mey will treat you with less cruelty than they have us, who are of the same hood with themselves.
What would your countryman, the immortal Montesquieu, have said such a plan of domination, as has been framed for you? Hear his veds, with an intenseness of thought suited to the importance of the subject—'In a free state, every man, who is supposed a free agent, ought be concerned in his own government; therefore the legislative should reside in the whole body of the people, or their representatives.-The political liberty of the subject is a tranquility of mind, arising from the opinion each person has of his safety. In order to have this liberty, it is requisite the government be so constituted, that one man need not be rod of another. When the power of making laws, and the power of executing them are united in the same person, or in the same body of
magistrates, there can be no liberty; because apprehensions may arise, lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws, to execute them in a tyrannical manner.'
"The power of judging should be exercised by persons taken from the body of the people, at certain times of the year, and pursuant to a form and manner prescribed by law. There is no liberty, if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers.'
'Military men belong to a profession which may be useful, but is often dangerous. The enjoyment of liberty, and even its support and preservation, consists in every man's being allowed to speak his thoughts, and lay open his sentiments.'
Apply these decisive maxims, sanctioned by the authority of a name which all Europe reveres, to your own state. You have a governor, it may be urged, vested with the executive powers, or the powers of administration. In him, and in your council, is lodged the power of making laws. You have judges, who are to decide every cause affecting your lives, liberty or property. Here is, indeed, an appearance of the several powers being separated and distributed into different hands, for checks one upon another, the only effectual mode ever invented by the wit of men, to promote their freedom and prosperity. But scorning to be illuded by a tinselled outside, and exerting the natural sagacity of Frenchmen, examine the specious device, and you will find it, to use an expression of Holy Writ, 'a painted sepulchre,' for burying your lives, liberty and property.
Your judges, and your legislative council, as it is called, are dependent on your Governor, and he is dependent on the servant of the Crown in Great Britain. The legislative, executive, and judging powers are all moved by the nods of a minister. Privileges and immunities last no longer than his smiles. When he frowns, their feeble forms dissolve. Such a treacherous ingenuity has been exerted in drawing up the code lately offered you, that every sentence beginning with a benevolent pretension, concludes with a destructive: and the substance of the whole, divested of its smooth words, is-that the crown and its minister shall be as absolute throughout your extended province, as the despots of Asia and Africa. What can protect your property from taxing edicts, and the rapacity of necessitous and cruel masters? Your persons from lettres de cachet, gaols, dungeons, and oppressive service? your lives and general liberty from arbitrary and unfeeling rulers? We defy you, casting your view upon every side, to discover a single circumstance, promising from any quarter the faintest hope of liberty to you or your posterity, but from an entire adoption into the union of these colonies.
What advice would the truly great man before mentioned, that advocate of freedom and humanity, give you, was he now living, and knew that we, your numerous and powerful neighbours, animated by a just love of our invaded rights, and united by the indissoluble bands of affection and interest, called upon you, by every obligation of regard for yourselves and your children, as we now do, to join us in our righteous contest, to make a common cause with us therein, and to take a noble chance of emerging from a humiliating subjection under governors, intendants, and military tyrants, into the firm rank and condition of English freemen, whose custom it is, derived from their ancestors, to make those tremble who dare to think of making them miserable.
Would not this be the purport of his address? 'Seize the opportunity presented to you by Providence itself. You have been conquered into liberty, if you act as you ought. This work is not of man. You are a small people, compared to those who with open arms invite you into fellowship. A moment's reflection should convince you which will be most for your interest and happiness, to have all the rest of North America your unalterable friends, or your inveterate enemies. The injuries of Boston have roused and associated every colony, from Nova Scotia to Georgia. Your province is the only link that is wanting to complete the bright and strong chain of union. Nature has joined your country to theirs. Do you join your political interests. For their own sakes they never will desert or
betray you. Be assured that the happiness of a people inevitably depends on their liberty, and their spirit to assert it. The value and extent of the advantages tendered to you are immense. Heaven grant you may not discover them to be blessings after they have bid you an eternal adieu.'
We are too well acquainted with the liberality of sentiment distinguishing your nation, to imagine, that difference of religion will prejudice you against a hearty amity with us. You know, that the transcendant nature of freedom elevates those, who unite in the cause, above all such lowminded infirmities. The Swiss Cantons furnish a memorable proof of this truth. Their union is composed of Catholic and Protestant states, living in the utmost concord and peace with one another, and thereby enabled, ever since they bravely vindicated their freedom, to defy and defeat every tyrant that has invaded them.
Should there be any among you, as there generally are in all societies, who prefer the favours of ministers, and their own interests, to the welfare of their country; the temper of such selfish persons will render them incredibly active in opposing all public-spirited measures, from an expectation of being well rewarded for their sordid industry by their superiors: but we doubt not you will be upon your guard against such men, and not sacrifice the liberty and happiness of the whole Canadian people and their posterity, to gratify the avarice and ambition of individuals.
We do not ask you, by this address, to commence hostilities against the government of our common sovereign. We only invite you to consult your own glory and welfare, and not to suffer yourselves to be inveigled or intimidated by infamous ministers so far as to become the instruments of their cruelty and despotism, but to unite with us in one social compact, formed on the generous principles of equal liberty, and cemented by such an exchange of beneficial and endearing offices as to render it perpetual. In order to complete this highly desirable union, we submit it to your consideration, whether it may not be expedient for you to meet together in your several towns and districts, and elect deputies who after meeting in a provincial congress, may chuse delegates, to represent your province in the continental congress, to be held at Philadelphia, on the tenth day of May, 1775.
In this present congress, beginning on the fifth of last month, and continued to this day, it has been with universal pleasure, and an unanimous vote, resolved, that we should consider the violation of your rights, by the act for altering the government of your province, as a violation of our own; and that you should be invited to accede to our confederation, which has no other objects than the perfect security of the natural and civil rights of all the constituent members, according to their respective circumstances, and the preservation of a happy and lasting connection with Great Britain, on the salutary and constitutional principles herein before mentioned. For effecting these purposes, we have addressed an humble and loyal petition to his Majesty, praying relief of our grievances; and have associated to stop all importation from Great Britain and Ireland, after the first day of December, and all exportation to those kingdoms and the West Indies, after the tenth day of next September, unless the said grievances are redressed.
That Almighty God may incline your minds to approve our equitable and necessary measures, to add yourselves to us, to put your fate, when ever you suffer injuries which you are determined to oppose, not on the small influence of your single province, but on the consolidated powers North America, and may grant to our joint exertions an event as hap as our cause is just, is the fervent prayer of us, your sincere and affection ate friends and fellow-subjects.
By order of the Congress,
Oct. 26, 1774.
HENRY MIDDLETON, President.