AT The DEDICATION of the TREE of LIBERTY, From the Summer House in the TREE.





Dearly beloved Countrymen.

WE His Majesty's subjects▪ who live remote from the throne, and are inhabitants of a new [...]orld, are here met t [...]gether to dedica [...]e the Tree of Liberty On this occasion we c [...]ear [...]u [...]y recog­n [...]ze our allegiance to our sovereign Lord. G [...]orge the third, King of Great-Britain, and [...]upreme Lord of these dominions, but u [...]terly deny any other depen [...]ence on the inhabitants of that island, than what is mutual and reci­procal between all mank [...]nd.—It is good [...] us to be here, to confirm one another in the principles of liberty, and to renew our obligations to con [...]end earnestly therefor.

OUR forefathers, with the permission of [...]h [...]r sovereign, emigrated [...]rom England, to avoid the un [...]a [...]ura [...] oppressi­ons which then took place in that co [...]ntry. They endu­red all sorts of m [...]eries and ha [...]dships, before they could establish any tolerable footing in the new world. It was then hoped and ex [...]ecte [...] that the bl [...]ssings of fr [...]edom would be the inh [...]ritance of their posterity, which they preferred to every other temporal consideration. With the extremest toil, [...]ifficulty, an [...] d [...]nger, our gr [...]at and noble ancestors founded in America a number of coloni [...]s [Page 4] under the allegiance of the crown of England. They forfeited not the privileges of Englishmen by removing themselves hither, but brought with them every righ [...], which they could or ought to have enjoyed had they abi­ded in England.—They had fierce and dreadful wars with savages, who often poured their whole force on the infant plantations, but under every difficulty and discouragement, by the good providence of GOD they multiplied exceed­ingly, and flourished, without receiving any protection or [...]ssistance from England. They were free from impositi­ons. Their kings were well di [...]posed to them, and their fellow subjects in Great-Britain had not then gaped after Naboth's vineyard. Never were people so happy as our forefathers, after they had brought the land to a state of inh [...]bi [...]ancy, and procured peace with the natives. They sat every man under his own vine, and under his own fig- [...]ree. They had but few wants; and luxury, extravagance, and deba [...]c [...]ery, were known only by the names, as the things si [...]n [...]fied thereby had not then arri­ved from the o [...]d world. The public worship of GOD, and the education of children and youth, were never more encouraged in any part of the globe. The laws which they made for the general advantage were exactly carried into execution. In fine, no country ever exp [...]rienced more perfect felicity. Religion, learning, and a pure ad­ministration of justice were exceeding conspicuous, and kept even pace with the population of the country.

WHEN we view this country in its extent and variety of climates, soils, and produce, we ought to be exceeding thankful to divine goodness in bestowing it upon our forefathers, and giving it as an heritage [...] their children. — We may call it the promised land, a good land and a large—a land of hills and vallies, of rivers, brooks, and springs of water—a land of milk and honey, and wherein we may eat bread to the full. A land whose stones are iron, the most useful material in all nature, and of other choice mines and minerals; and a land whose rivers and adj [...]cent seas are stored with the best of fish. In a word, no part of the habitable world can boast of so many na­tural [Page 5] advantages as this northern part of Americ [...]

BUT what will all these things avail us, if we be depri­ved of that liberty which the GOD of nature hath giv [...] us. View the miserab [...]e condition of the poor wretches, who inhabit countries once the most fertile and happy in the wor [...]d, where the blessings of liberty have been re­moved by the hand of arbi [...]rary power. Religion, learn­ing, arts, and industry, vanished at t [...]e deformed appear­ance of tyranny. Those countries are depopulated, and the scarce and thin inhabi [...]an [...]s are fast fixed in chains and slavery They have nothing which they can call their own; even their lives are at the absolute [...]isposal of the monsters who have usurped dominion over them.

THE dreadful scenes of massacre and bloodshed, the cruel tortures and brutal b [...]rbarities▪ which have been committed on t [...]e image of GOD, with all the horrible mi [...]eries which have overflowed great part of the globe, have proceeded from wicked and ambitious men, who u [...]urped an absolute dominion over their f [...]llows. If this coun [...]ry should experience such a shocking change in t [...]eir aff [...]irs, or i [...] despotic sway shou [...]d succeed the fair enj [...]ym [...]n [...] of liber [...]y, I should p [...]efer a li [...]e of freedom in Nova-Zembla, Greenland, or in the most fr [...]zen regions in the wor [...]d, even where the use of fire is unk [...]own, ra [...]her than [...]o live here to be tyrannized over by any of the hum [...]n race.

GOVERNMENT is necessary. It was instituted to secure to individuals that natural liberty, which no human crea­ture ha [...]h a right to deprive them of. For which end the peop [...]e have given power unto the rulers to use as ther [...] may be occasion for the good of whole community, and not that the civi [...] mag [...]strate, who is only the peoples tr [...]stee, should make use of it for the hurt of the governed. If a commander of a fortress, appointed to make defence against the approaches o [...] an enemy, should breech about his gu [...]s and fire upon his own town, he would com­mence tyrant, and ought to be treated as an enemy to mankind.

THE ends of civil government have been well answered [Page 6] in Am [...]rica, and justice duly administred in general, whil [...] we were governed by laws of our own make, and consent­ed to by the Crown. It is of the very essence of the British constitu [...]ion, that the people shall not be governed by laws, in the making of which they had no hand, or have their monies taken away without their own c [...]nsent. This privilege is inherent, and cannot be granted by any but the Almighty. It is a natural right which no creature can give, or hath a [...]ight to take away. The great char­ter of liber [...]ies, commonly called Magna Charta, doth not give the privileges therein mentioned, nor doth our Charte [...]s, but must be considered as only declaratory of our rights, and in affi [...]mance of them. The formation of legi [...]latures was the first object of attention [...]n the co­lonies. They all recognized the King of Great Britain, and a government in each was erected, as like to that in England, as the nature of the country, and local circum­stances, would admit. Ass [...]mb [...]ies or parliaments were inst [...]tuted, wherein were present the King by his substi­tutes, with a council of grea [...] men, and the people, by their representatives. Our distant si [...]uation from Great-Britain, and other at [...]endant circumstances, make it im­possible for us to be represented in the parliament of that country, or to be governed from thence The exigencies of state often require the immediate hand of governmen [...]; and confusion and misrule would ensue if government was not topical. From hence it will follow that our le­gislatures were compleat, and that the parliamentary au­thori [...]y of Great-Britain cannot be extended over us without involving the greatest con [...]radict [...]on: For if we are to be controu [...]ed by their parliament, our own will be useless. In short, I cannot be perswaded that the par­liament of Great Britain have any lawful right to make any laws whatsoever to [...]ind us, because there can be no fountain from whence s [...]ch right can fl [...]w. It is univer­sally agreed amongst us that they cannot tax us, because we are not [...]. Many other acts of legis­lation may affect us as nearly as taking away our monies. There are many kinds of proper [...]y as dear to us as our [Page 7] money, and in which we may be greatly injured by al­lowing them a power in, or to direct about. Suppose the parliament of Great-Britain should undertake to prohibit us from walking in the streets and highways on certain saints days, or from being abroad after a certain time in the evening, or (to come nearer to the matter) to re­strain us from working up and manufacturing materials of our own growth, would not our liberty and property be as much affected by such regulations as by a tax act? It is the very spirit of the constitution that the King's subjects sháll not be governed by laws, in the making of which they had no share; and this principle is the great barrier against tyranny and oppression. If this bulwark be thrown down, nothing will remain to us but a dread­ful expectation of certain slavery. If any acts of the Bri­tish parliament are found suitable and commensurate to the nature of the country, they may be introduced, or adopted, by special acts of our own parliaments, which would be equivalent to making them anew; and without such introduction or adoption, our allowance of the va­lidity or force of any act of the English or British parlia­ment in these dominions of the King, must and will ope­rate as a concession on our part, that our fellow subjects in another country can choose a set of men among them­selves, and impower them to make laws to bind us, as well in the mat [...]er of taxes as in every other case. It hath been fu [...]ly proved, and is a point not to be contro­verted, that in our constitution the having of property, especially a landed estate, entitles the subject to a share in government and framing of laws. The Americans have such property and estate, but are not, and never can be represented in the British parliament. It is therefore clear that that assembly cannot pass any laws to bind us, but that we must be governed by our own parliaments, in which we can be in person, or by representation.

BUT of late a new system of politics hath been adopted in Great-Britain, and the common people there claim a sove­reignty over us although they be only fellow subjects. The more I consider the nature and tendency of this [Page 8] cl [...]im, the more I tremble for the liberties of my country▪ For although it hath been unanswerably proved that they have no more power over us than we have over them, yet relying on the powerful logic of guns and cu [...]lery ware, they cease not to make laws injurious to us; and whenever we expostulate with them for so doing, all the return is a discharge of threats and menaces.

IT is now an established principle in Great-Britain, that we are subject to the people of that country, in the same manner as they are subject to the Crown. They express­ly call us their subjects. The language of every paultry scribler, even of those who pretend friendship for us in some things, is after this lordly stile, our colonies—our wes­tern dominions—our plantations—our islands—our subiects in America—our authority—our government—with many more of the like imperious expressions. S [...]range doctrine that we should be the s [...]bjects of subjects, and liable to be controuled at their will! It is enough to break every mea­sure of patience, that fellow subjects should assume such power over us. They are so possessed with the vision of the plenitude of their power, that they call us rebels and traitors for denying their authority. If the King was an absolute monarch and ruled us according to his absolute will and pleasure, as some kings in Europe do their sub­jects, it would not be in any degree so humiliating and debasing, as to be governed by one part of the Kings sub­jects who are but equals. From every part of the con­duct of the administration, from the acts, votes, and reso­lutions of the parliament, and from all the political wri­tings in that country, and libels on America, this appears to be their claim, which I think may be said to be an in­vasion of the rights of the King, and an unwarrantable combination against the liberties of his subjects in America.

LET us now attend a li [...]tle to the conduct of that coun­try towards us, and see if it be possible to doubt of their principles. In the 9th. of Anne, the post-office act was made, which is a tax act, and which annually draws great sums of money from us. It is true that such an establishment would have been of great use, but then the [Page 9] [...]gul [...]tion ought to have been made among ourselve [...]. And it is a clear point to me that let it be ever so muc [...] to the advantage of this country, the parliament had no more right to interfere, than they have to form such an establishment in the electorate of Hanover, the King's German dominions.

THEY have prohibited us from purchasing any kind of goods or manufactures of Europe except from Gr [...]t-Britain, and from selling any of our own goods or ma­nufactures to foreigners, a few inconsiderable articles ex­cepted, under pain of confiscation of vessel and cargo, and other heavy penalties. If they were indeed our so­vereign lords and masters, as they pretend to be, such regulations would be in open violation of the laws of nature. But what adds to this grievance is, that in th [...] trade between us they can set their own prices both on our and their commodities, which is in effect a tax, and of which they [...]ave availed themselves: And moreover, du­ties are laid on diver's enumerated articles on their im­port, for the express purpose of a revenue. They freely [...]ive and grant away our monies without our consent, under the specious pretence of defending, protecting, and securing America, and for the charges of the administra­tion of justice here, when in fact, we are not indebted to them one farthing for any defence or protection from the first planting the country to this moment, but on the contrary, a balance is due to us for our exertions in the general cause; and besides, the advantages which have accrued to them in their trade with us hath put millions in their pockets. As to the administration of justice, no country in the world can boast of a purer one than this, the charges of which have been always chearfully pro­vided for and paid without their interposition. There is reason to fear that if the British people undertake the business of the administration of justice amongst us it will be wo [...]se for us, as it may cause an introduction of their fashionable corruptions, whereby our pure streams of jus­tice will be tainted and polluted. But in truth, by the administration of justice is meant the keeping up an idle [Page 10] fett of officers to rob us of our money, to keep us down and humble, and to frighten us out of our undoubted rights.

AND here it may be proper to mention [...]he grievances of the custom house. Trade is the natural right of all men, but it is so restrained, perplexed and fettered, that the of­ficers of the customs, where there happens a judge of ad­miralty to their purpose, can seize and get condemned any vessel or goods they see fit. They will seize a vessel withou [...] shewing any other cause than their arbitrary will, and keep her a long time without exhibiting any libel, during all which time, the owner knows not on what ac­count she is seized, and when the trial comes on, he is utterly deprived of one by a jur [...], contrary to the usages among our fellow subjects in Britain, and perhaps all his fortune is determinable by a single, base, and infamous tool of a violent, corrupt, and wicked administration. Besides, these officers, who seem to be born with long cl [...]ws, like eagles, exact most exorbitant fees, even from small coast [...]ng vessels, who pass along shore and carry from plantation to plantation, bread meat, firewood, and other necessaries, and without the intervention of which the coun [...]ry would labour under gr [...]t inconveniences, direct­ly contrary to the t [...]ue inten [...] and meaning of one of the acts of trade▪ by which they pretend to govern themselves, such vessels by that act not being obliged to have so much as a reg [...]ster. It is well known that their design in getting into office is to enrich themselves by fleecing the mer­chants, and it is thought that very few have any regard to the interest of the Crown, which is only a pretence they make in order to accomp [...]ish their ava [...]icious purposes.

THE common people of Great Britain very liberally give and grant away the property of the Americans without their consent, which if yielded to by us must fix us in the lowest bottom of slavery: For if they can take away one penny from us against our wills, they can take all. If they have such power over our properties they must have a proportionable power over our persons; and from hence it will follow, that they can demand and take away our [Page 11] lives, whensoever it shall be agreeable to their sovereign wills and pleasure.

THIS claim of the commons to a sovereignty over us, is founded by them on their being the Mother Country. It is true that the first emigrations were from England; but upon the whole, more settlers have come from Ire­land, Germany, and other par [...]s of Europe ▪ than from Eng­land. But if every soul came from England, i [...] would not give them any title to sovereignty or even to superiority. One spot of ground will not be sufficient for all: As pla [...]es fill up, mankind must disperse, and go where they can find a settlement; and being born free, must carry with them their freedom and independence on their fel­lows, go where they will. Would it not be thought strange if the commonalty of the Massachusetts-Bay should require our obedience, because this colony was first settled from that dominion? By the best accounts, Britain was peopled from Gaul, now called France, wherefore accord­ing to their principles the parliaments of France have a right to govern them. If this doctrine of the maternal authority of one country over another be a little examin­ed, it will be found to be the greatest absurdity that ever entered into the head of a politician — In the time of Nimrod, all mankind lived to [...]ether on the plains of Shi­nar, from whence they were dispersed at the building of Babel From that dispersion all the empi [...]es, kingdoms, and states in the world are derived. That this doctrine may be fully exposed, let us suppose a few Turks or Arabs to be the present inhabitants of the plains of Shinar, and that they shou [...]d demand the obedience of every king­dom, state, and country in the world, on account of their being the Mother Country would it be one jot more ridi­culous than the claim made by the parliament of Great-Britain to rule and reign over us? It is to be hoped that in fu [...]ure, the words Mother Country will not be so frequently in our mouths, as they are only [...]ounds without meaning.

ANOTHER grievance to be considered, is the alarming attempt o [...] the peop [...]e of Old England to restrain our ma­nufactures. This country abounds in iron, yet there is [Page 12] an act of parliament, passed in the late King's reign to restrain us from manufacturing it into plates and rods by mill-work, the last of which forms are absolutely necessary for the making of nails, the most useful article in a new country that can be conceived.—Be astonished all the world, that the people of a country who call themselves Christians and a civilized nation, should imagine that any principles of policè will be a sufficient excuse, for their prohibiting their fellow subjects in a distant part of the earth from making use of the blessings of the GOD of nature! There would be just as much reason to prohi­bit us from spinning our wool and f [...]ax, or making up our cloaths. Such prohibitions are infractions on the natural rights of men, and are utterly void.

THEY have undertook, at the distance of three thou­sand miles, to regulate and limit our trade with the na­tives round about us, and from whom our lands were purchased—a trade which we opened ourselves, and which we ought to enjoy unrestricted. Further, we are pro­hibited by a people, who never set foot here from making any more purchases from the Indi [...]ns, and even of settling those which we have made. The truth is, they intend to take into their own hands the whole of the back lands, witness the patents of immense tracts continually sol­licited, and making out to their own people. The con­sequence will be shocking, and we ought to be greatly alarmed at such a procedure. All new countries ought to be free to settlers; but instead thereof every settler on these patent lands, and their descendants forever, will be as compleat slaves to their landlords, as the common peo­ple of Poland are to their lords.

A standing army in time of profound peace is cantoned and quartered about the country to awe and intimidate the people—Men of war and cutters are in every port, to the great distress of trade. In time of war we had no sta­tion ships, but were obliged to protect our trade, but now in time of full peace, when there are none to make us afraid we are visited with the plague of men of war, who commit all manner of disorders and irregularities; [Page 13] and behave in as hostile a manner as if they were open and declared enemies. In open defiance of civility, and the laws of Great-Britain, which they profess to be go­verned by, they violently seize and forcibly carry on board their ships the persons of the King's loving subjects. What think ye my brethren, of a military government in each town?—Unless we exert ourselves in opposition to their plan of subjecting us, we shall all have soldiers quartered about upon us, who will take the absolute command of our families. Centry boxes will be set up in all the streets and passages, and none of us will be able to pass, without being brought too by a soldier with his fixed bayonet, and giving him a satisfactory account of ourselves and business. Perhaps it will be ordered that we shall put out fire and candle at eight of the clock at night, for fear of conspiracy. From which fearful calamities may the GOD of our fathers deliver us!

BUT after all, nothing which has yet happened ought to alarm us more then their suspending government here, because our parliaments or assemblies (who ought to be free) do not in their votes and resolutions please the po­pulace of Great-Britain. Suppose a parcel of mercenary troops in England should go to the parliament house, and order the members to vote as they directed under pain of dissolution, how much liberty would be left to them▪ In short, this dissolving of government upon such pretences as are formed, leaves not the semblance of liberty to the people.—We all ought to resent the treatment which the Massachusetts-Bay hath had, as their case may soon come to be our own.

We are constantly belied and misrepresented to our gra­cious sovereign, by the officers who are sent hither, and others who are in the cabal of ruining this country. They are the persons who ought to be called rebels and traitors, as their conduct is superlatively injurious to the King and his faithful subjects.

MANY other grievances might be enumerated, but the time would fail.—Upon the whole, the conduct of Great-Britain shews that they have formed a plan to subject us [Page 14] so [...]ffectually to their absolute commands, that even t [...] freedom of speech will be taken from us. This plan they are executing as fast as they can; and almost every day produces some effect of it. We are insulted and me­naced only for petitioning. Our prayers are prevented from reaching the royal ear, and our humble supp [...]icati­ons to the throne are wickedly and maliciously represent­ed as so many marks of faction and disloyalty. If they can once make us afraid to speak or write, their purpose will be finished.—Then farewel liberty.—Then those, who were crouded in narrow limits in England will take posse [...]sion of our ex [...]ended and fertile fields, and set us to work for them.

WHEREFORE, dearly beloved, let us with unconque­rable resolution maintain and de [...]end that liberty where­with GOD hath made us free. As the total subjection of a people arises generally from gradual encroachments, it will be our indispensible duty manfully to oppose every invasion of our righ [...]s in the beginning Let nothing discourage us from this duty to ourselves and our poste­rity. Our fathers sought and found freedom in the wil­derness; they cloathed them [...]elves with the skins of wild beasts, and lodged under trees and among bushes; but in that state they were happy because they were free — Should these our noble ancestors arise from the dead, and find their posterity trucking away that liberty, which they purchased at so dear a rate, for the mean trifles and frivolous merchandize of Great-Britain, they would re­turn to the grave with a holy indignation against us. In this day of danger let us exert every talent, and try eve­ry lawful mean, for the preservation of our liberties It is thought that nothing will be of more avail, in our present distressed situation, than to stop our imports from Britain. By such a measure this little colony would save more than 173▪000 pounds, lawful money, in one year, besides the advantages which would arise from the indus­try of the inhabitants being directed to the raising of wool and flax, and the establishment of manufactures. Such a measure might distress the manufacturers and poor peo­ple [Page 15] in England, but that would be their misfortune. Cha­rity begins at home, and we ought primarily to consult our own interest; and besides, a little distress might bring the peop [...]e of that country to a better temper, and a sense of their injustice towards us. No nation or pe [...]ple in the world ever made any figure, who were dependent on any other country for their food or cloathing. Let us then in justice to ourselves and our children, break off a trade so pernicious to our i [...]terest, and which is likely to swal­low up both our estates and liberties.—A trade which hath n [...]rished the people, in idleness and dissipation.—We [...], we will not, betray the trust reposed in us by [...] [...]cestors, by giving up the least of our libert [...]es.—We will be freemen, or we will die—we cannot end [...]re the thought of be [...]ng governed by subjects, and we m [...]ke no doubt but the Almighty will look down upon our righteous contest with gracious approbation. We cannot bear the reflection that this country should be yielded to them who never had any hand in subduing it. Let our whole conduct shew that we know what is [...] to ourselves. Let us act prudently, peaceb [...]y, firmly, and jointly. Let us break off all trade and commerce with a people who would enslave us, as the only means to pre­vent our ruin. May we strengthen the hands of the civil government here, and have all our exertions tempered with the principles of peace and order, and may we by precept and example encourage the practice of virtue and morality, without which no people can be happy.

IT on [...]y remains now, that we dedicate the Tr [...]e of Liberty.

WE do therefore▪ in the name and behalf of all the true SONS of LIBERTY in America▪ Great-Britain, Ireland, Corsi­ca, or wheresoever they are dispersed throughout the world, dedicate and solemnly devote this tree, to be a TREE of LIBERTY.—May all our coun [...]ils and de [...]iberations under it's venerable branches be guided by wisdom, and directed to the support and maintenance of that liberty, which our renowned forefathers sought out and found under trees and in the wilder­ness. [Page 16] —M [...]y it long flourish, and may the SONS of LIBER [...]Y [...]ften rep [...]ir [...]ither, to confirm and strengthen each other.— When they look towards this sacred ELM, may they be [...] with [...] sense of their duty to themselves, their country, and their posterity:— And may they, like the house of David, grow stronger and stronger, while their enemies, like the house of Saul, grow weaker and weaker. AMEN.

JOHN WATERMAN, The Printer hereof;

GIV [...] [...] Customers [...] he continues to make all Sorts of Paper as usual, and that he sells the same [...]t the cheapest Rates for Cash. He also carries on the Printing Business at his Office at the Paper-Mill, but intends shortly to remove his Office into the most public Part of the Town, where he proposes to ex­tend the Business. The Public may depend upon h [...]s Fidelity, Care, and Dispatch, in such Printing Work as they may employ him about.

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