SATURDAY, April 22, 1775.

The present necessary defensive war, on the part of America, justified by the laws of God, nature, rea­son, state and nations; and there­fore no treason or rebellion.

IT must be apparent to every Englishman, not blinded by malice or ignorance, that the Americans, by raising forces, and tak­ing up arms, have no intention to offer vio­lence to his Majesty's person, crown or dig­nity, nor to draw any English blood; but only to defend themselves, their rights and liberties, against encroaching violence and lawless power, to rescue his Majesty out of the hands of his present evil malignant ad­visers, to bring him back to a just sense of his duty, and those delinquents to condign punishment, who are now engaged in a des­perate conspiracy against the natural rights of mankind. The Americans have endeavoured, by every possible means, to accommodate the [Page 114]present unhappy dispute with the King and his infernal minions, upon just, reasonable, and honorable terms, but hitherto in vain. His Majesty having, contrary to his oath, his duty, and the fundamental laws of God and the realm, sent an army of mercenary soldiers to America against his subjects, for the avowed and open purpose of robbing them of their peace, their rights, their liberties, their properties, or their lives, and to impose un­lawful taxes by force of arms; the Ameri­cans may lawfully and justly, by the great principles of the constitution, without any treason or rebellion, take up arms in defence of their privileges, laws, lives, liberties and properties; even if the King were present to assist and encourage his soldiers in this un­natural, bloody, and destructive civil war.

When a King throws off all restraint of law, and is bound by no principles of justice or humanity, when he invades with open force the liberties and persons of his subjects in a hos­tile manner, only to answer the most diabolical, arbitrary, and infamous purposes, the people of England, and every part of the British empire, will be justified in taking up arms, and resisting such invasions and violence; otherwise they must fall a prey to his insatiable rapine, and become the absolute slaves of ar­bitrary power, by way of conquest.

We have several instances in the history of this country, and in many ages, of the peo­ple [Page 115]of England resisting, by force of arms, the oppressions, rapines, unjust violence, and armies of their Princes raised against them; and they have even encountered their Kings in open battle, and taken them prisoners; sometimes expelled, and at other times depo­sed them from their royal authority, when they became incorrigible, open and professed enemies to the kingdom, and sought the ruin and desolation of their subjects; when by office, duty, oath, and common justice, they were bound inviolably to protect them in li­berty and peace. Among many other exam­ples of such proceedings, and the bravery and virtue of our ancestors, are the following, viz. the case of King John, Henry the Third, Ed­ward the First, Richard the Third, and Henry the Sixth; nor are these examples singular, all kingdoms, and in all ages, have done the same, when their Kings (like the present So­vereign on the throne of England) degene­rated into tyrants, of which there are infinite precedents in history; and such actions in every age and nation have always been deem­ed lawful and just, as warranted by the laws of God, nature, reason, state and nations, all which instruct not only particular persons, but whole cities and kingdoms, for their own necessary defence and preservation, the sup­port of human society and liberty, to protect themselves against all unlawful violence and tyranny, even in the person of their Kings, [Page 116]their ministers, or minions, to whom the laws of God, nature, man, nor any civil nation, ever yet gave the least authority to murder, spoil, oppress, or enslave their subjects, or deprive them of their liberties or estates; resistance were it unlawful or unjust (as the pimps and parisites of a court would insinuate) a few ambitious, bloody minded, tyrannizing Kings might, without molestation, in a short space of time, ruin, murder, or enslave the whole race of men; overturn the settled forms of civil government, extirpate the christain religion, and destroy human society at their pleasure; this, and worse, if possi­ble, had been effected; nay, every state and kingdom, had been totally subverted long ago by the worst of monsters, lawless Prin­ces, had not this just, natural, hereditary power of resisting and opposing their illegal violence (inherent in the people) restrained and prevented such bloody and destructive designs from being carried into execution.

This necessary and defensive opposition, and resistance against regal violence, which has ever been held lawful, and often practis­ed in almost every kingdom, will justify the Americans, in taking up arms and resisting the present arbitrary, cruel, and bloody mea­sures, now carrying on against them, by an infatuated, obstinate, perverse King, his in­fernal ministers, and their agents, whose only object in view is the entire ruin of this once [Page 117]great, happy, powerful, and flourishing king­dom, and the destruction of public liberty.

It is expressly declared by Aristotle, Xeno­phon, King Edward the Confessor in his esta­blished laws, the Council of Paris in 829, by Bracton, Fortescue, and even King James himself, that a King governing in a settled kingdom, ceases to be a King, and degene­rates into a tyrant, so soon as he leaves to rule by law, much more when he begins to in­vade his subjects persons, rights, liberties, to set up an arbitrary power, impose unlawful taxes, raise forces, and make war upon his subjects, whom he should protect, and rule in peace; to pillage, plunder, waste, and spoil his kingdoms; imprison, murder, and destroy his people in an hostile manner; this they severally declared to be the highest de­gree of tyranny, condemned and detested by God and all good men. The whole state and kingdom therefore, in such cases as these, for their own necessary preservation, may law­fully, with force of arms, when no other means can secure them, not only passively but actively resist their Prince, in such his violent and tyrannical proceedings; without resisting any kingly lawful authority, for that is vested in the King's person, for the pre­servation and not the destruction of the king­dom; because the illegal oppression and ty­rannical actions are not warranted, but pro­hibited by the laws of God, and the realm [Page 118](to whom he is accountable, and by whom he is justly censurable) he is no lawful King, nor magistrate, but an unjust oppressive ty­rant, a mere private man, who by such pro­ceedings hath denuded himself of his just regal authority; so that all those laws made for the defence of the King's person and so­vereign power, the suppression of insurrec­tions, treasons, and conspiracies against him, while he governs his people according to law, as by oath and duty he is bound, will yield on countenance, encouragement, or protection to him in such tyrannical and cruel oppres­sions, but more especially when he turns a public enemy to his people, and proclaims open war against them; invades their laws, liberties and persons, and exercises all man­ner of hostilities against them, the same as the most barbarous and foreign enemy would do; it being contrary to common sense and reason, to suppose that our laws, which strictly inhibit and punish the very smallest violations of the public peace in all other persons, should countenance, justify, and pa­tronize them in the King, the first minister, and supreme fountain of justice; and not permit the people, under pain of rebellion and treason, so much as to defend their lives, li­berties, estates and religion, from the open violence of the King himself, or his malig­nant plundering ministers and favourites. When as Fortescue and Bracton prove, Kings [Page 119]of all others, both by oath and duty, ought to be more observant, and obedient to the laws of God and the land than the very meanest of their subjects.

That precept of St. Paul, Romans xiii. 1, 2, 3, Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers, &c. means no more than this, that as long as Kings legally and justly execute the trust committed to their charge, and conferred on them by God and the peo­ple, they must, and ought to be obeyed and submitted to, without the least resistance pri­vate or public; but if they degenerate into tyrants, and turn professed enemies to their people, by murdering, imprisoning, or de­stroying them by open violence, or endea­vouring by force of arms, to subvert their laws, liberties or religion, and expose them as a prey to their merciless blood thirsty soldi­ers, I dare confidently to affirm, it was never the intention of St. Paul, much less of our laws, to inhibit subjects, under pain of dam­nation, high in conscience, treason or rebel­lion, by defensive arms, to resist Kings them­selves or any of their mercenary adherents.

It was certainly never the intention of the Apostle, to establish in the world any irrisis­tible lawless tyranny, or spoil of kingdoms, and butchery of subjects, execrable to God and man in all ages, and in all persons who have resisted them, even unto blood; he meant rather totally to suppress them. There being scarce any more pregnant text against [Page 120]the tyranny, the boundless prerogative, the illegal proceedings of Kings, and the higher powers in all the scripture, than that of Ro­mans xiii. 1st to 7th verse, if properly under­stood, and rightly interperted, as Pareus and others prove; therefore the resistance of the Americans, against our present seduced, ma­lignant Popish King, is no violation of any law of God or the land, but a just and neces­sary war, which they have by every means, to the utmost of their power, endeavoured to prevent, and therefore no treason or rebel­lion within the meaning of any law or statute; they are only arming themselves, for their own necessary preservation, and to prevent their inevitable ruin, they mean not openly to assault the royal army of butchers; and I believe there is no divine among the whole bench of Popish Bishops, no casuist among the whole tribe of venal lawyers, except a few prostituted court slaves, villainous enough to affirm that it is damnation in conscience, or treason and rebellion in point of law, for our injured and suffering fellow subjects in America, to take up arms for the preservation of their lives, their liberties, and their property, but would rather deem it just and honorable, nay a duty for every Englishman to venture his life, and his fortune in their defence; in defence of the dear bought rights of his country, and rather than live a slave, to die gloriously in the cause of public liberty.

[To be continued.]


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.