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Thoughts on Independence

From Diary of the American Revolution, Vol I. Compiled by Frank Moore and published in 1859.

“What’s human life?–to gaze upon the sun,
And go the vulgar round of endless years?
Or is it to be free? “–Taste Independence,
Blissful moments; defend it till ye die!

By the favor of Providence we have reached that political point (which the wise have long seen to be the only foundation of safety)–Independence; our work is now plain before us– to persevere to the end in supporting the Declaration we have made to the world. To do this, every consideration urges us; to retreat is death–is slavery, calamities of every name, and all the gloomy horrors of the most odious and execrable tyranny. Before us is all the glory of Freedom, pregnant with every felicity our wishes can grasp, or human nature enjoy. If we continue our exertions with that wisdom and magnanimity with which we began, Liberty will soon triumph, wealth flow in through ten thousand channels, and America become the glory of all lands. Tyranny is now exerting her utmost power, and if resisted a little longer, George, and all his murderers, must bid adieu to America forever; then we shall have the double happiness and honor of subduing the tyrants, and enjoying liberty; the expense and dangers it has cost us will sweeten the blessing. If we have not suffered enough yet to make us duly prize the inestimable jewel, let us patiently bear what is yet to come. But if we continue in the ways of well-doing, we shall certainly succeed; for unerring wisdom has told us, “if we trust in the Lord and do good, we shall dwell in the land and be fed;” therefore we have nothing to do but to be faithful to God and our country, and the blessings we contend for will be the portion of us and our children. The price of liberty is not to be gained in a day, nor bought with a small price, but is the reward of long labor and unremitting exertions; and a people are commonly made to realize their dependence on Heaven for so great a favor, before they are crowned with complete success. The poor Dutch provinces were oppressed by a Spanish tyrant, like George of Britain, and they (although poor and small in number, compared with the States of America) resisted the tyrant who had at his command a great and rich nation, and after a bloody contest of many years, gloriously triumphed in the complete freedom of their country. During the conflict, they were sometimes reduced to such extreme difficulties as would have sunk any but free minds into absolute despair; but they were blessed with a succession of heroes and statesmen, who wisely preferred liberty to every thing else; and persevered through a long series of the severest calamities of every kind, with undiminished fervor in the glorious cause, until they arrived at the blissful period of Independent States, and remain to this day a glorious monument of the supereminent virtue and valor of freemen. Let us imitate this bright example. With them we shall shine in the history of mankind, until the heavens are no more. The blood and treasure it may cost, will heighten the value of liberty, and brighten the future days of peace and glory, when we or posterity shall recount the noble exertions, and amazing intrepidity of those who were honored by Heaven as the instruments of saving this great people from infernal tyranny. It will add to the joys of prosperity, and sweeten the sacred triumphs of freemen, when encircled with the charms of peace, to look back upon the trying scenes of the present time, and review the difficulties surmounted through a series of conflicts, while each moment was big with importance, and the fate of thousands hung upon every hour. 1


1 Addressed to the Independent sons of America, by a soldier. —New Hampshire Gazette, November 26.

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