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The Life of Gouverneur Morris

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that we shall not need a little protection against them?  We may indeed put a clause in the agreement, that Britain shall not use them to enslave us; and then all will he safe, for we cannot suppose they will break their promise.

‘Thus I find, Sir, that with the help of a little paper and ink, we may draw out a long treaty, filled with cautious items; and wise et ceteras.  Then the whole affair is settled.  America is quite independent of Great Britain, except that they have the same King; for although the British Parliament is allowed to possess, under the name of supremacy, an immense train of legislative powers, there are contained in the agreement strict inhibitions from using any one of them.  Thus it is settled, I say, for seven years.  Not a clay further.  The very next Parliament, not being hound by the acts of the former, the whole is in law as to them a nullity.  Our acknowledgment of supremacy binds us as subjects, and our most exquisite restrictions, being contrary to the very nature of civil society, are merely void.  Remember, too, that no faith is to be kept with rebels.

In this case, or in any other case, if we fancy ourselves hardly dealt with, I maintain there is no redress but by arms.  For it never yet was known, that, when men assume power, they will part with it again  unless by compulsion.  Now the bond of continental union once broken, a vast load of debt accumulated, many lives lost, and nothing got, I wonder whether the people of this country would again choose to put themselves into the hands of a Congress; even if a general attack were made upon their liberties.  But undoubtedly the whole continent would not run to arms immediately, upon an attempt against one of the colonies, and thus, one after another, the should infallibly be subjugated to that power, which we know would destroy even the shadow of liberty among us.’[26]

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From The Life of Gouverneur Morris: With Selections from His Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers; Detailing Events in the American Revolution, The French Revolution, and in the Political History of the United States, by Jared Sparks, Volume 1, Boston: Gray & Bowen, 1832, p 96. Some minor edits may have been made, but an attempt has been made to preserve the original spelling. Although some effort has been made to correct the limitations of OCR technology, if you find an error please report it to


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