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revolutionary struggle, a sanction to any enormity that our enemies were capable of inflicting. It is now said, and there is indeed a precedent that gives a colourable pretext for such an assertion, that all resistance to established authority becomes, ipso facto, criminal; and while the true friend of liberty deplores the enormities, the pander of arbitrary power rejoices in the history, of the French revolution. It furnishes the latter with a pretext to prove his favourite position, that no nation is to be entrusted with the government of itself: it serves to consecrate any tyranny on the part of the rulers, and any state of servile acquiescence on the part of the people. To this example, however, the former may proudly oppose the history of the Ame
government; it was a revolution in favour of that law, that had been handed down to us as an invaluable legacy by our ancestors; it was a revolution that preserved to the Colonies, under another name, the rights secured by Magna Charta. Astonishing as the fact may appear, it is nevertheless true, that so little did the Ame. ricans contend for, beyond what was secured to them in the grant of their royal charter, that some of them have preserved those very charters to the present day, notwithstanding they have renounced the authority of the Monarch by whom they were granted. Others have, in the constitutions that have been subsequently framed under the name of the people, recognized and adopted all those rights guaranteed by the royal charters; and even at the present day, the constitution of the
United States, and the constitutions of the several States, have only given to those chartered rights a new name. The People now speak in their collective majesty, where a Monarch, in his individual majesty, formerly spoke; and the lips of both utter precisely the same sentiments--so false was the opinion prevalent in the day of our revolution, that our ancestors were rebels.
In the prosecution of the present work, it is deemed proper to state, that the facts have been drawn from what is honestly believed to be the most unquestionable sources : from a painful and accurate examination and comparison of the various histories of that important event; from the correspondence of those who were the immediate parties in a struggle so glorious to our country; from official documents, from the archives of our Continental Congress, and those of the different Legislatures; and from the orderly books, that may properly be denominated the journals of the army. Much, perhaps, remains to be known, that may yet be preserved to posterity, if the private correspondence of those who were the immediate actors in this important drama, has yet survived the dilapidations of time and of accident; but much is irrevocably covered by the ashes of the grave.
It may be proper here to mention, that the author, in recording the events of our Revolution, is largely indebted to the voluntary services of two of his literary friends, without whose kind assistance it is probable that he should have never been able to have complied with his obligations to the publick : an assistance, so
important that he is confident the reader will have abundant cause for congratulation. This will account for the difference of style that will be observed in the course of the present work. He regrets that he is not allowed to mention the names of his associates. If this history should answer the expectations of its patrons, he hopes that it will be remembered to whom honour is due.
Our Country has now acquired a rank, and a name, and a character, amongst the powers of the earth : she has extended her dominion from the Maine to the Gulph of Mexico; from the Atlantick to the Pacifick Ocean. She has, in the language of Milton, risen like a strong man from sleep; and has shaken her invincible locks. Every American must fervently offer up a prayer to the throne of Divine Grace, that she may grow in dignity, in honour, and in virtue, as she has grown in power-Or, to pursue the prophecy of the Bard, that she may kindle her undazzled eyes at the full mid-day beam, and unscale her long abused sight at the fountain itself of Heavenly influence.”
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