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he became a great proficient, and was one of the most distinguished counsellors in the province. Among his other studies, he attained to such an eminence of knowledge in political history, and the principles of free government, that, during the disputes between Great Britain and the colonies, he was regarded as one of the ablest advocates of American liberty. His integrity, both in public and in private life, was inflexible, and was not even questioned by his political opponents. He was repeatedly elected a member of the council, but refused in every instance to accept the office, as he preferred a seat in the house of representatives, where his character for disinterested patriotism, and his bold and manly eloquence gave ħim an ascendency, which has seldom been equal-led.
In 1776, he, together with Samuel Adams and John Hancock, were elected members of the legislature. He acquired great influence in the public councils. The ascendancy which was allotted to him by the deference of others, was a fortunate circumstance for his country. Never was influence exercised with more intelligent, devoted and inflexible patriotism. He made up his mind earlier than most men, that the struggle against. oppression would lead to war, and that our rights at last must be secured by our arms. As the crisis approached, when some persons urged upon him the danger of a contest, so apparently unequal, his answer was, “We must put to sea, Providence will bring us into port.”
From a correspondence between Mr. John Adams, late president of the United States, and William Wirt, Esq. of Virginia, the biographer of Patrick Henry, it would seem that the declaration “We must fight,” which Mr. Wirt had claimed for Mr. Henry, was derived from a letter which he himself had shown to Mr. Henry, written by
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major Hawley, in 1774. Mr. Adams, in a letter to Mr. Wirt, dated Quincy, January 23, 1818, says, “When congress had finished their business, as they thought, in the autumn of 1774, I had, with Mr. Henry, before we took leave of each other, some familiar conversation, in which I expressed a full conviction that our resolves, declaration of rights, enumeration of wrongs, petitions, remonstrances and addresses, associations, and non-importation agreements, however they might be expected in America, and however necessary to cement the union of the colonies, would he but waste water in England. Mr. Henry said they might make some impression among the people of EngJand, but agreed with me that they would be totally lost upon the government. I had just received a short and hasty letter, written to me by major Joseph Hawley, of Northampton, containing a few 'broken hints,' as he called them, of what he thought was proper to be done, and concluding with these words, “AFTER ALL WE MUST FIGHT.' This letter I read to Mr. Henry, who listened with great attention, and soon as I had pronounced the words, “after all we must fight,' he raised his head, and, with an energy and vehemence that I never can forget, broke out with •By – I am of that man's mind.' I put the letter into his hand, and when he had read it he returned it to me, with an equalJy solemn asseveration, that he agreed entirely in opinion with the writer. I considered this as a sacred oath, upon a very great occasion, and could have sworn it as religiously as he did, and by no means inconsistent with what you say, in some part of your book, that he never took the Sacred Name in vain.”
In 1819, president Adams communicated the “broken hints," alluded to in the foregoing, to H. Niles. Esq. which are inserted at length in Mr. Niles's valuable work, entitled, “Principles and
sht, if the broke of76. "W vene
Acts of the Revolution in America:" a work which ought to be in the Nbrary of every man who venerates the principles and the men of '76. We here insert an extract from the broken hints.”
6 We must fight, if we can't otherwise rid ourselves of British taxation, all revenues, and the constitution or form of government enacted for us by the British parliament. It is evil against right; utterly intolerable to every man who has any idea or feeling of right or liberty. ,
" It is easy to demonstrate that the regulation act will soon annihilate every thing of value in the charter, introduce perfect despotism, and render the house of representatives a mere form and ministerial engine.
“ It is now or never, that we must assert our liberty. Twenty years will make the number of tories on this continent equal to the number of whigs. They who shall be born will not have any idea of a free government.
" It will necessarily be a question, whether the new government of this province shall be suffered to take place at all; or whether it shall be immediately withstood and resisted?
6 A most important question this; I humbly conceive it not best forcibly or wholly to resist it immediately.
6 There is not heat enough yet for battle. Constant, and a sort of negative resistance of government, will increase the heat and blow the fire. There is not military skill enough. That is improving, and must be encouraged and improved, but will daily increase.
“Fight we must, finally, unless Britain retreats.
66 But it is of infinite consequence that victory be the end and issue of hostilities. If we get to fighting before necessary dispositions are made for it, we shall be conquered, and all will be lost forever.
; “Our salvation depends upon an established persevering union of the colonies.
“ The tools of administration are using every device and effort to destroy that union, and they will certainly continue so to do.
“Thereupon, all possible devices and endeavours must be used to establish, improve, brighten, and maintain such union.
“ Every grievance of any one colony must be held and considered by the whole as a grievance to the whole, and must operate on the whole as a grievance to the whole. This will be a difficult matter to effect: but it must be done.
" Quere, therefore; whether is it not absolutely necessary that some plan be settled for a continuation of congresses? But here we must be aware that congresses will soon be declared and enacted by parliament, to be high treason.
6 Is the India company to be compensated or not?
“ If to be compensated-each colony to pay the particular damage she has done, or is an average to be made on the continent?
6. The destruction of the tea was not unjust; therefore, to what good purpose is the tea to be paid for, unless we are assured that, by so doing, our rights will be restored and peace obtained ?
66 What future measures is the continent to preserve with regard to imported dutied tea, whether it comes as East India property or otherwise, under the pretence and lie that the tea is imported from Holland, and the goods imported before a certain given day? Dutied tea will be imported and consumed; goods continue to be imported; your non-importation agreement eluded, rendered contemptible and ridiculous; unless all teas used, and all goods, are taken into some public custody which will be inviolably faithful.”
Major Hawley did not appear in the legislature after the year 1776, but he never relaxed his zeal in the service of his country, and was ready to contribute his efforts to the public service. By his private exertions, he rendered assistance at some very critical and discouraging periods. At the season when the prospects of the American army were the most gloomy, when the Jerseys were overrun, and the feelings of many were on the verge of despondency, he exerted himself with great activity and success, to rally the spirits of his fellow-citizens. At this time, when apathy appeared stealing upon the country, and the people were reluctant to march, on a seemingly desperate enterprise, he addressed a body of militia to urge them to volunteer as recruits. His manly eloquence, his powerful appeals to their pride, their patriotism, their duty, to every thing which they held dear and sacred, awakened their dormant feelings, and excited them to enthusiasm.
Major Hawley was a sincerely religious and pious man, but here, as in politics, he loathed all tyranny and fanatical usurpation. In the latter part of 1776, he was afflicted with hypochondriacal disorders, to which he had been frequently subject in former periods of his life; and after this declined public business. He died, March 10, 1788, aged 64 years.
Major Hawley was a patriot without personal animosities, an orator without vanity, a lawyer without chicanery, and a gentleman without ostentation; a statesman without duplicity, and a christian without bigotry. As a man of commanding talents, his firm renunciation and self-denial of all ambitious views, would have secured him that respect which such strength of mind inevitably inspires; while his voluntary and zealous devotion to the service of his countrymen, established him in their affection. His uprightness and plainness, united to his affability and disinterestedness, gave the most extensive influence to his