America First: Patriotic Readings (Illustrated) - Jasper Leonidas McBrien - ebook
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America First was the central thought in President Wilson’s addressto the Daughters of the American Revolution on the twenty-fifthanniversary of their organization—their Silver Jubilee—inWashington, D. C., October 11, 1915. The president declared in thisaddress that all citizens should make it plain whether theirsympathies for foreign countries come before their love of the UnitedStates, or whether they are for America first, last, and all the time. Heasserted, also, that our people need all of their patriotism in thisconfusion of tongues in which we find ourselves over the Europeanwar.The press throughout the country has taken up the thought of thePresident and, seconded by the efforts of the Bureau of Education,has done loyal work in making “America First” our national slogan.This is all good so far as it goes—especially among the adultpopulation, many of whom must be educated, if educated at all, onthe run. But the rising generation, both native-born and foreign, toget the full meaning of this slogan in its far-reaching significance,must have time for study and reflection along patriotic lines. Theremust be the right material on which the American youth may settletheir thoughts for a definite end in patriotism if our country is tohave a new birth of freedom and if “this government of the people,by the people, and for the people is not to perish from the earth.”The prime and vital service of amalgamating into one homogeneousbody the children alike of those who are born here and of those whocome here from so many different lands must be rendered thisRepublic by the school teachers of America.The purpose of this book is to furnish the teachers and pupils of ourcountry, material with which the idea of true Americanism may bedeveloped until “America First” shall become the slogan of everyman, woman, and child in the United States.

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Table of contents

FOREWORD

America First was the central thought in President Wilson’s address to the Daughters of the American Revolution on the twenty-fifth anniversary of their organization—their Silver Jubilee—in Washington, D. C., October 11, 1915. The president declared in this address that all citizens should make it plain whether their sympathies for foreign countries come before their love of the United States, or whether they are for America first, last, and all the time. He asserted, also, that our people need all of their patriotism in this confusion of tongues in which we find ourselves over the European war.

The press throughout the country has taken up the thought of the President and, seconded by the efforts of the Bureau of Education, has done loyal work in making “America First” our national slogan. This is all good so far as it goes—especially among the adult population, many of whom must be educated, if educated at all, on the run. But the rising generation, both native-born and foreign, to get the full meaning of this slogan in its far-reaching significance, must have time for study and reflection along patriotic lines. There must be the right material on which the American youth may settle their thoughts for a definite end in patriotism if our country is to have a new birth of freedom and if “this government of the people, by the people, and for the people is not to perish from the earth.” The prime and vital service of amalgamating into one homogeneous body the children alike of those who are born here and of those who come here from so many different lands must be rendered this Republic by the school teachers of America.

The purpose of this book is to furnish the teachers and pupils of our country, material with which the idea of true Americanism may be developed until “America First” shall become the slogan of every man, woman, and child in the United States.

AMERICA FIRST ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Acknowledgments for permission to use copyrighted and other valuable material in this volume are hereby tendered to authors and publishers as follows:

To President Woodrow Wilson for his three addresses “America First,” “The Meaning of the Flag,” and “Neutrality Proclamation.” To Secretary Franklin K. Lane for his speech on “The Makers of the Flag.”

To William Jennings Bryan and his publishers, Funk and Wagnalls Company, New York and London, for extracts from his address on “The Patriotism of Peace.”

To Archbishop Ireland for extracts from his address on “The Duty and Value of Patriotism.”

To George L. Schuman and Company, publishers of Modern Eloquence, Chicago, for the following extracts and addresses: “Our Country,” by William McKinley; “Our Reunited Country,” by Clark Howell; “The Blue and the Gray,” by Henry Cabot Lodge; “A Reminiscence of Gettysburg,” by John B. Gordon; “The New South,” by Henry W. Grady; and “The Hollander as an American,” by Theodore Roosevelt.

To A. C. Butters for the address on “Washington,” by John W. Daniel, from Modern Eloquence published by George L. Schuman and Company.

To Henry Watterson, Louisville, Kentucky, for the extracts from his lecture on Abraham Lincoln. To E. Benjamin Andrews and to his publishers, Fords, Howard and Hulbert, for the extracts from his lecture on Robert E. Lee.

To J. B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia, for the poem by Thomas Buchanan Read, “The Rising in 1776.” To Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, for the poem by Henry van Dyke, “America for Me,” and also for the extract from the poem “Wanted,” by J. G. Holland.

To The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis, for the poem by James Whitcomb Riley, “The Name of Old Glory.” To Henry Holcomb Bennett for his poem entitled, “The Flag Goes By.” To Christopher Sower Company, Philadelphia, for the poem by Edward Brooks, entitled “Be a Woman.”

The selections from the poems of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, and Bayard Taylor are used by permission of and special arrangement with Houghton Mifflin Company, the authorized publishers of the works of those authors.

The thanks of the author are also extended to Nelson Warner, Katherine M. Cook, Mrs. L. R. Caldwell, Belvia Cuzzort, W. R. Hood, and Dr. Stephen B. Weeks of the Bureau of Education, for valuable assistance in the compilation of this work. THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS

A DRAMATIZATION INTRODUCTION

This dramatization of the Continental Congress portrays the spirit of the times during the period of the American Revolution. It deals principally with the debates for and against the Declaration of Independence; it is a summary of the grievances, struggles, sacrifices, and victories of the colonies from the enactment of the obnoxious Stamp Act by the British Parliament to the resignation of George Washington as commander-in-chief of the American army.

In the construction of a drama covering such a heroic period and relating to events so momentous, all of which must pass in review before us within an hour and a half’s time, it is necessary to exercise a certain dramatic license. The historical literalist, like the scriptural literalist, makes the letter kill the spirit of the truth. After all, it is not the dry facts, dates, and mechanics of history that are of greatest importance; it is the fundamental principles, causes, and effects underlying the events as well as the spirit of the times, that are of first consideration.

Any modification of historical fact in this dramatization has been made only to give a fuller meaning to the great facts of history touched upon therein. It is the period of the American Revolution that is to be portrayed, as already stated—not alone those memorable days of June and July, 1776, during which the debates on the Declaration of Independence took place. For example, Patrick Henry was a member of the First and the Second Continental Congress, though not a member at the time the Declaration of Independence was debated, Washington was a member of the First Continental Congress, but Jefferson was not. Congress was a changing body in its membership then as is our Congress to-day.

SIGNING THE DECLARATION

Jefferson declares that Patrick Henry was the man who put the ball of the American Revolution in motion. Not to give Henry a place in this dramatization would be like the play of “Hamlet” with Hamlet left out. It must be remembered that no record was made of the debates in the Continental Congress as is done verbatim by expert reporters in Congress to-day and published in the Congressional Record. Therefore, the speeches herein have been adapted from such sources as Paine’s “Separation of Britain and America,” Webster’s “Supposed Speech of John Adams,” “Wirt’s Supposed Speech of Patrick Henry,” Alexander H. Stephens’s “Corner Stone Speech,” Webster’s “Supposed Speech of Opposition to Independence,” and Sumner’s “True Grandeur of Nations.” The dialogue between Jefferson and Adams is taken from a letter of John Adams to Timothy Pickering, dated August 6, 1822. The speeches of Stephens and Sumner are paraphrased to suit the times to which they are here applied.

Great care has been exercised to place each of the leading characters in these debates on the side in which he at that time conscientiously believed. In the roll call in this drama on the vote for independence, the history of each colony has been thoroughly studied so as to bring out the changed attitude of the people of the various colonies toward independence, as well as of certain members of the Continental Congress on this question.

The scenes of Washington and his army just before the battle of Long Island, the tableau of The Spirit of ‘76, and Washington’s resignation as commander-in-chief of the army, are introduced not alone for their psychological effect on the dramatization proper, but for their own worth in teaching patriotism.

With twenty-nine leading characters the dramatization can be well staged. But if fifty-five characters are available—the number who signed the Declaration, and if there is room for so many, so much the better, except as the number of performers is increased there will be an additional expense for costumes. [1] It may be given as a reading lesson without costumes; it may be given so as a drama; but it is a greater success given in costumes.

Those who take part in this dramatization should be costumed as nearly like the characters they represent as possible. As a rule, wigs can be rented for this purpose at a reasonable cost, and it will not be difficult to dress in the style of the Revolutionary period—buckle shoes, silk stockings, knee pants, ruffled shirt, and the conventional coat of the time.

The same freedom must be permitted and exercised in carrying out this dramatization, that marked the actors in the Continental Congress itself in its stormy debates and noisy sessions. Immediately following the close of each speech there should be a clamor for recognition on the part of the delegates, but the president will be careful to recognize the proper person so as to make the play move without any hitch. As each speaker proceeds there should be a reasonable number of interruptions by applause or dissenting voices so as to play both sides as strongly as possible.

The parliamentary procedure must not be followed too strictly or it will kill the interest in the play on the part of the public. It must be given with dispatch and dramatic effect to make a happy hit.

These debates may be considered as an oratorical contest with prizes awarded accordingly if so desired. It adds interest to the work.

It is hard to tell in which years of school work it is best to give this dramatization—whether in the grammar grades, in the high school, or in the college, for it is within the understanding of grammar grade boys; it is not too elementary for young men in the high school; and it is profound enough for the best thought and the best efforts of college students. If given by grammar school boys and high school young men, it will have a wholesome influence in training for a better citizenship at an opportune time. If presented by college, university, and normal school students it will give those who are fitting themselves for teaching a valuable lesson in methods. If it were given by every grammar school, high school, college, university and normal school, on every Chautauqua platform, and by every patriotic society in the United States on Washington’s Birthday and other patriotic occasions, and then repeated on the Fourth of July every year for the next decade it would do much towards combating that dangerous “aggressive hyphenated Americanism,” that has sprung up in our country and whose baneful effects it will take much earnest teaching to obliterate. When all native-born children of foreign parentage, and when all citizens of foreign birth know the story of the struggle and sacrifice by which our country rose to her proud station it will make them feel “that they are Americans among Americans; that they are part of America and have a share and a duty toward American institutions.” May it also cause those native-born Americans who have become lukewarm in their love of country, careless of its honor, and negligent in its defense to awake to their duty with a spirit to do their duty before it is too late. May it make of every one of us a truer American “by being wholly and without reserve, and without divided allegiance, and with emphatic repudiation of the entire principle of ‘dual nationality,’ an American citizen and nothing else.”

In their ragged regimentals Stood the old Continentals, Yielding not, When the grenadiers were lunging. And like hail fell the plunging Cannon shot; When the files Of the isles, From the smoky night encampment, bore the banner of the rampant Unicorn; And grummer, grummer, grummer, rolled the roll of the drummer Through the morn!

TABLEAU—THE SPIRIT OF SEVENTY-SIX CAST OF CHARACTERS S PEAKERS

FOR THE DECLARATION AGAINST THE DECLARATION John Hancock, President Edward Rutledge Richard Henry Lee John Adams Roger Sherman Benjamin Franklin John Dickinson George Walton Robert Morris

Samuel Adams Joseph Hewes Patrick Henry Thomas Jefferson

Josiah Bartlett Stephen Hopkins William Floyd Charles Carroll of Carrollton Samuel Chase Benjamin Harrison Lyman Hall Charles Thomson, Secretary

O THER M EMBERS OF THE C ONGRESS Oliver Wolcott Elbridge Gerry William Hooper Benjamin Rush Richard Stockton Thomas McKean Caesar Rodney

A DDITIONAL C HARACTERS General Washington and his Army

Fifer Drummer Little Boy

} Leading the Army in “The Spirit of ‘76” THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS ACT I. S CENE I.— Congress assembled; John Hancock in the chair as president; his keynote speech.

J OHN H ANCOCK. [2] Gentlemen of the Continental Congress:—I thank you for the signal honor you have conferred on me in making me your presiding officer. I am glad to see so many Colonies represented in this Congress. Let us show the nations of the old world what the people of the new world will do when left to themselves, to their own unbiased good sense, and to their own true interests. On us depend the destinies of our country—the fate of three millions of people, and of the countless millions of our posterity. Matchless is our opportunity—matchless also is our responsibility! May the God of nations guide us in our deliberations and in our actions.

Everything that is right or natural pleads for separation. The blood of the slain, the weeping voice of Nature cries, “‘Tis time to part.” Even the distance at which the Almighty hath placed England and America, is a strong and natural proof that the authority of the one over the other was never the design of Heaven. The time, likewise, at which the continent was discovered, adds weight to the argument, and the manner in which it was peopled, increases the force of it. The Reformation was preceded by the discovery of America, as if the Almighty graciously meant to open a sanctuary to the persecuted in future years, when home should afford neither friendship nor safety.

The authority of Great Britain over this continent is a form of government which sooner or later must have an end: and a serious mind can draw no true pleasure by looking forward, under the painful and positive conviction that what he calls “the present constitution” is merely temporary. As parents, we can have no joy, knowing that this government is not sufficiently lasting to insure anything which we may bequeath to posterity; and by a plain method of argument, as we are running the next generation into debt, we ought to do the work of it, otherwise we use them meanly and pitifully. In order to discover the line of our duty rightly, we should take our children by the hand, and fix our station a few years farther into life; that eminence will present a prospect which a few present fears and prejudices conceal from our sight.

Though I would carefully avoid giving unnecessary offense, yet I am inclined to believe that all those who espouse the doctrine of reconciliation may be included within the following descriptions: Interested men, who are not to be trusted; weak men, who cannot see; prejudiced men, who will not see; and a certain set of moderate men, who think better of the European world than it deserves: and this last class, by an ill-judged deliberation, will be the cause of more calamities to this continent than all the other three.

It is the good fortune of many to live distant from the scene of sorrow; the evil is not sufficiently brought to their doors to make them feel the precariousness with which all American property is possessed. But let our imaginations transport us a few moments to Boston; that seat of wretchedness will teach us wisdom, and instruct us forever to renounce a power in whom we can have no trust. The inhabitants of that unfortunate city, who but a few months ago were in ease and affluence, have no other alternative than to stay and starve, or turn out to beg. Endangered by the fire of their friends if they continue within the city, and plundered by the soldiery if they leave it. In their present situation they are prisoners without hope of redemption, and in a general attack for their relief they would be exposed to the fury of both armies.

Men of passive tempers look somewhat lightly over the offenses of Britain, and, still hoping for the best, are apt to call out, “Come, come, we shall be friends again for all this.” But examine the passions and feelings of mankind, bring the doctrine of reconciliation to the touchstone of nature, and then tell me whether you can hereafter love, honor, and faithfully serve the power that hath carried fire and sword into your land? If you cannot do all these, then are you deceiving yourselves, and by your delay bringing ruin upon your posterity. Your future connection with Britain, whom you can neither love nor honor, will be forced and unnatural, and being formed only on the plan of present convenience, will in a little time fall into a relapse more wretched than the first. But if you say you can still pass the violations over, then I ask, hath your house been burnt? Hath your property been destroyed before your face? Are your wife and children destitute of a bed to lie on, or bread to live on? Have you lost a parent or a child by their hands, and yourself the ruined and wretched survivor? If you have not, then are you not a judge of those who have. But if you have, and can still shake hands with the murderers, then are you unworthy the name of husband, father, friend or lover, and, whatever may be your rank or title in life, you have the heart of a coward and the spirit of a sycophant.

Gentlemen of the First American Congress, in the name of Equality, Fraternity and Liberty, I welcome you to this council. What is your pleasure, gentlemen?

R ICHARD H ENRY L EE. Mr. President:—I wish to move the adoption of the following resolution: “Resolved, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”

J OHN A DAMS. Mr. President:—I second the motion.

J OHN H ANCOCK. Gentlemen of the Continental Congress, you have heard the motion of Mr. Richard Henry Lee, of Virginia, for immediate and absolute independence. Are there any remarks?

R ICHARD H ENRY L EE. Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Continental Congress:—Why do we delay? Why still deliberate? Let this happy day give birth to an American republic. Let her arise, not to devastate and to conquer, but to reëstablish the reign of peace and law. The eyes of Europe are fixed upon us. She demands of us a living example of freedom that may exhibit a contrast in the felicity of the citizen to the ever increasing tyranny which devastates her polluted shores. She invites us to prepare an asylum where the unhappy may find solace and the persecuted repose. She entreats us to cultivate a propitious soil where that generous plant of liberty, which first sprang and grew in England, but is now withered by the blasts of tyranny may revive and flourish, sheltering under its salubrious shade all the unfortunate of the human race. If we are not this day wanting in our duty to our country, the names of the American legislators of 1776 will be placed by posterity at the side of Theseus, of Lycurgus, of Romulus, of Numa, of the three Williams of Nassau and of all those whose memory has been and forever will be, dear to virtuous men and good citizens. [3]

( At the close of Mr. Lee’s brief speech there is a clamor for recognition. John Adams is recognized.)

J OHN A DAMS. Mr. President:—I move that a committee of five be selected by ballot to draft a Declaration representing the views of these united colonies.

B ENJAMIN F RANKLIN. Mr. President:—I second the motion.

J OHN H ANCOCK. Gentlemen of the Continental Congress:—The motion has been made and seconded that a committee of five be selected by ballot to draft a proper Declaration representing the views of these united colonies. You have heard the motion, are there any remarks? ( Calls for the question.)

As many as favor this motion make it known by saying “aye” ( ayes respond); contrary, “no” ( noes respond). The ayes seem to have it, the ayes have it, and the motion is carried.

Gentlemen of the Continental Congress, I shall appoint Benjamin Rush of Pennsylvania, Samuel Chase of Maryland, and Edward Rutledge of South Carolina as tellers for this election and they will wait upon you for your ballots for the committee. Please write the names of the five men whom you wish to serve on this committee, on your ballot and deposit the same in the hat when passed.

( Ballots are gathered by the tellers who report the result to the president of the Congress.)

Gentlemen of the Continental Congress:—By your ballots you have selected the following persons as the committee of five to draft the Declaration as already ordered—Thomas Jefferson of Virginia, John Adams of Massachusetts, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, and Robert R. Livingston of New York. Gentlemen, what is your further pleasure?

S AMUEL A DAMS. Mr. President:—I move that the Congress do now take a recess until to-morrow morning at 10 o’clock to give the committee just appointed time in which to prepare the Declaration ordered.

J OSEPH H EWES. Mr. President:—I second the motion which Mr. Adams has offered.

J OHN H ANCOCK. Gentlemen of the Congress:—It has been moved and seconded that this Congress take a recess until to-morrow morning at 10 o’clock in order to give the committee just appointed time in which to prepare a proper Declaration. You have heard the motion, are there any remarks? ( Calls for question.)

As many as favor the motion make it known by saying “aye” ( ayes respond); contrary, “no” ( noes respond). The ayes seem to have it, the ayes have it, and this Congress will take a recess until to-morrow morning at 10 o’clock.

CURTAIN ACT II. S CENE I.— Meeting of the Committee of Five. Livingston absent.

B ENJAMIN F RANKLIN. Gentlemen of the Committee, I move that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams be appointed as a sub-committee of this Committee of Five to draft the Declaration ordered by the Continental Congress.

R OGER S HERMAN. I second the motion. B ENJAMIN F RANKLIN. Gentlemen, you have heard the motion. As many as favor the same make it known by saying “aye.” ( Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Adams are silent while Mr. Sherman and Mr. Franklin vote aye.) The ayes seem to have it, the ayes have it, and Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Adams are elected. J OHN A DAMS. Gentlemen, it seems to me you have taken snap judgment on Mr. Jefferson and myself. T HOMAS J EFFERSON. Yes, gentlemen, you have.

B ENJAMIN F RANKLIN. The committee has so ordered and as Congress itself gave Mr. Jefferson the highest number of votes and Mr. Adams the next highest number in the selection of this committee, I am sure that Congress will be highly pleased at our having selected you for this great work. We also feel that we should congratulate ourselves upon the choice we have made.

J OHN A DAMS. Thank you, gentlemen, for the compliment. T HOMAS J EFFERSON. I join Mr. Adams in thanking you, gentlemen, for the confidence you have in us.

R OGER S HERMAN. Gentlemen of the committee, I move that we take a recess until to-night so as to give the sub-committee time to prepare the Declaration.

M R. A DAMS. I second the motion.

M R. F RANKLIN. As many as favor the motion make it known by saying “aye” ( ayes respond). The ayes seem to have it, the ayes have it, and the committee will take a recess until eight o’clock to-night.

( Mr. Franklin and Mr. Sherman leave Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson to themselves to deliberate over the Declaration.) M R. J EFFERSON. Mr. Adams, I suggest that you make the draft of this Declaration. M R. A DAMS. I will not! M R. J EFFERSON. [4]You should do it. M R. A DAMS. Oh, no! M R. J EFFERSON. Why will you not? You ought to do it. M R. A DAMS. I will not! M R. J EFFERSON. Why? M R. A DAMS. Reasons enough. M R. J EFFERSON. What can be your reasons?

M R. A DAMS. Reason first, you are a Virginian and a Virginian ought to appear at the head of this business. Reason second, I am obnoxious, suspected, and unpopular. You are very much otherwise. Reason third, you can write ten times better than I can.

M R. J EFFERSON. Well, if you are decided, I will do the best I can. M R. A DAMS. Very well, when you have drawn it up we will have a meeting. ( Exeunt Mr. Adams and Mr. Jefferson.) S CENE II.— Washington’s Address to his Army. Washington and his army [5] in camp on Long Island.

The time is now near at hand, which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves, whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves to be 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 the conduct 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, to resolve to conquer or to die.

Our own, our country’s honor, calls upon us for a vigorous and manly exertion. If we now shamefully fail, we shall become infamous to the whole world. 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 to intimidate by show and appearance; but remember that they have been repulsed on various occasions by a few brave Americans. Their cause is bad—their men are conscious of it. If they are 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.

S CENE III.—T ABLEAU—” The Spirit of ‘76.”

As soon as the sound of battle has died away following the departure of Washington and his army, put on the tableau of “The Spirit of ‘76.” The fifer, the drummer, and the little boy should be good musicians playing patriotic music of the Revolution. Their wounded and ragged comrades are seen in the background.

S CENE IV.— Mr. Jefferson seated at his desk and putting on the finishing touches to his original draft of the Declaration of Independence. Enter Mr. Adams.

M R. A DAMS. Good evening, Mr. Jefferson. M R. J EFFERSON. Good evening, Mr. Adams.

M R. A DAMS. Well, have you the Declaration finished? M R. J EFFERSON. Mr. Adams, I have done the best I could but I am not very well satisfied with what I have written. I wish you would look it over and make such corrections and criticisms as your judgment deems proper.

M R. A DAMS ( studying the Declaration). Mr. Jefferson, I am delighted with your production. Your statements relative to the inalienable rights of men are unanswerable and to secure these rights, governments must be instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. This paragraph concerning negro slavery meets with my approval but I fear it will not meet with the approval of some of the Southern delegates. I congratulate you, Mr. Jefferson, on what you have done. This document will make you immortal.

M R. J EFFERSON. Thank you, Mr. Adams, I fear you are too extravagant in your praise of my work. ( Enter Mr. Franklin and Mr. Sherman.) M R. F RANKLIN. Well, gentlemen, have you completed the draft for the Declaration?

M R. A DAMS. Mr. Jefferson has finished it. It is all his work. I have reviewed the paper very hurriedly but in my opinion it is one of the greatest documents ever written by man. Look it over, gentlemen, and let us hear your opinion of it.

M R. F RANKLIN ( studying the Declaration). Mr. Jefferson, I congratulate you, sir. Your declaration on the inalienable rights of men is well stated. I agree with you that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. I like that paragraph on slavery but I believe that some of the Southern delegates will oppose it. This is a paper of which you should be proud, Mr. Jefferson. I congratulate you, sir. Here, Mr. Sherman, let us have your views on this Declaration.

M R. S HERMAN ( studying the Declaration). You have covered all our grievances in the twenty-seven distinct charges you have made against the present king of Great Britain. We can well afford to submit these facts to a candid world. That paragraph on slavery, Mr. Jefferson, meets with my approval heartily, but I fear some of the Southern delegates will oppose it strongly. We can certainly appeal to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions. I believe with you that divine Providence will support us in making this Declaration good. Therefore, I am willing to stand with you in pledging our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to this end. I do not see how I could make any suggestions that would improve it. Mr. Jefferson, I congratulate you on the great work you have done in this paper for our country and for humanity.

M R. J EFFERSON. Gentlemen, I thank you all most heartily and sincerely for the compliments you have paid me on this paper, but I am no orator myself, especially for such an occasion as this; therefore, I should like to have Mr. Adams report this Declaration to the Continental Congress, move its adoption for me, and lead in the debates in favor of it.

M R. F RANKLIN. Gentlemen:—I move that Mr. Adams be requested to report this Declaration to the Congress as desired by Mr. Jefferson. M R. S HERMAN. I second the motion.

M R. F RANKLIN. Gentlemen, you have heard the motion. As many as favor the same make it known by saying “aye.” ( Response of ayes; Mr. Adams is silent.) The ayes seem to have it, the ayes have it, and the motion is carried for Mr. Adams to so report this Declaration. The committee is adjourned.

CURTAIN ACT III. S CENE I.— The Continental Congress again in session.

M R. H ANCOCK. ( Looking at his watch, as he calls the Congress to order.) Gentlemen of the Continental Congress:—The time has come to which we adjourned yesterday in order to give the Committee of Five, appointed to draft the Declaration, due time to prepare the same. Are the gentlemen of the Committee present and ready to report?

M R. A DAMS. Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Continental Congress:—At the request of Mr. Jefferson and the other members of the Committee, I beg leave to submit the following Declaration for your consideration after it has been read by the secretary of this Congress. Permit me to say here, however, that the credit for the authorship of this paper belongs entirely to Mr. Jefferson. It is his work, which the other members of the Committee are unanimous in approving.

( Charles Thomson, secretary of the Congress, reads the Declaration of Independence. This part should be assigned to one who has a good clear voice and is a good public reader. If it is thought best not to read all of the Declaration, its most striking paragraphs should be read. Do not forget to have the famous paragraph on slavery read. If it were omitted the great speech of George Walton would be out of place.)

J OHN A DAMS. [6] Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Continental Congress:—Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish, I give my hand and my heart to this vote in favor of this Declaration of Independence. It is true, indeed, that in the beginning we aimed not at independence. But there’s a divinity which shapes our ends. The injustice of England has driven us to arms; and, blinded to her own interest for our good, she has obstinately persisted, till independence is now within our grasp. We have but to reach forth to it, and it is ours. Why, then, should we defer the Declaration?

Is any man so weak as now to hope for a reconciliation with England, which shall leave either safety to the country and its liberties, or safety to his own life and his own honor? Are not you, [7] sir, who sit in that chair, is not he, [8] our venerable colleague near you, are you not both already the proscribed and predestined objects of punishment and of vengeance? Cut off from all hope of royal clemency, what are you, what can you be, while the power of England remains, but outlaws? If we postpone independence do we mean to carry on, or to give up the war? Do we mean to submit to the measures of Parliament, Boston Port Bill and all? Do we mean to submit, and consent that we ourselves shall be ground to powder, and our country and its rights trodden down in the dust? I know we do not mean to submit. We never shall submit. Do we intend to violate that most solemn obligation ever entered into by men, that plighting, before God, of our sacred honor to Washington, when, putting him forth to incur the dangers of war, as well as the political hazards of the times, we promised to adhere to him, in every extremity, with our fortunes and our lives? I know there is not a man here who would not rather see a general conflagration sweep over the land, or an earthquake sink it, than one jot or tittle of that plighted faith fall to the ground. For myself, having twelve months ago, in this place, moved you, that George Washington be appointed commander of the forces raised, or to be raised, for defense of American liberty, may my right hand forget her cunning, and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I hesitate or waver in the support I give him.

( At the close of Mr. Adams’ speech there is loud clamor for recognition. The president recognizes Edward Rutledge of South Carolina, who speaks against the Declaration.)

E DWARD R UTLEDGE. [9]Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Continental Congress:—Let us pause! This step, once taken, cannot be retraced. This resolution, once passed, will cut off all hope of reconciliation. If success attend the arms of England, we shall then be no longer colonies, with charters, and with privileges. These will all be forfeited by this act; and we shall be in the condition of other conquered people—at the mercy of the conquerors. For ourselves, we may be ready to run the hazard; but are we ready to carry the country to that length? Is success so probable as to justify it? Where is the military, where the naval power, by which we are to resist the whole strength of the arm of England? For she will exert that strength to the utmost. Can we rely on the constancy and perseverance of the people?—or will they not act as the people of other countries have acted, and, wearied with a long war, submit in the end, to a worse oppression? While we stand on our old ground, and insist on redress of grievances, we know we are right, and are not answerable for consequences. Nothing, then, can be imputable to us.

( At the close of Mr. Rutledge’s speech there is a clamor for recognition. The president recognizes Roger Sherman of Connecticut.)

R OGER S HERMAN. [10]Mr. President and Gentlemen of the Continental Congress:—The war must go on. We must fight it through. And if the war must go on, why put off longer the Declaration of Independence? That measure will strengthen us. It will give us character abroad. The nations will then treat with us, which they never can do while we acknowledge ourselves subjects, in arms against our sovereign. Nay, I maintain that England herself will sooner treat for peace with us on the footing of independence, than consent, by repealing her acts, to acknowledge that her whole conduct toward us has been a course of injustice and oppression. Her pride will be less wounded by submitting to the course of things which now predestinates our independence, than by yielding the points in controversy to her rebellious subjects. The former she will regard as the result of fortune; the latter she would feel as her own deep disgrace. Why, then, why, then, sir, do we not as soon as possible change this from a civil to a national war? And since we must fight it through, why not put ourselves in a state to enjoy all the benefits of victory, if we gain the victory?

If we fail, it can be no worse for us. But we shall not fail. The cause will raise up armies; the cause will create navies. The people, the people, if we are true to them will carry us, and will carry themselves, gloriously through this struggle. I care not how fickle other people have been found. I know the people of these colonies, and I know that resistance to British aggression is deep and settled in their hearts, and cannot be eradicated. Every colony, indeed, has expressed its willingness to follow, if we but take the lead. Sir, the Declaration will inspire the people with increased courage. Instead of a long and bloody war for the restoration of privileges, for redress of grievances, for chartered immunities, held under a British king, set before them the glorious object of entire independence, and it will breathe into them anew the breath of life. Read this Declaration at the head of the army; every sword will be drawn from its scabbard, and the solemn vow uttered to maintain it, or to perish on the bed of honor. Publish it from the pulpit, religion will approve it, and the love of religious liberty will cling around it, resolved to stand with it, or fall with it. Send it to the public halls; proclaim it there; let them hear it who heard the first roar of the enemy’s cannon; let them see it who saw their brothers and their sons fall on the field of Bunker Hill and in the streets of Lexington and Concord, and the very walls will cry out in its support.

( At the close of Mr. Sherman’s speech there is a loud clamor for recognition. The president recognizes John Dickinson of Pennsylvania.)

J OHN D ICKINSON. [11]