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JOHN AND ROGER : OR NEW ENGLAND INTOLERANCE.
[The Forresters. 1796.] JOHN'S family grew, and he settled his sons, as fast as they became
of age, to live by themselves; and when any of his old acquaintance came to see him, he bade them welcome, and was their very good friend, as long as they continued to be of his mind, and no longer; for he was a very pragmatical sort of a fellow, and loved to have his own way in everything. This was the cause of a quarrel between him and Roger Carrier; for it happened that Roger had taken a fancy to dip his head into water, as the most effectual way of washing his face, and thought it could not be made so clean in any other way. John, who used the common way of taking water in his hand to wash his face, was displeased with Roger's innovation, and remonstrated against it. The remonstrance had no other effect than to fix Roger's opinion more firmly; and as a farther improvement on his new plan, he pretended that no person ought to have his face washed till he was capable of doing it himself, without any assistance from his parents. John was out of patience with this addition, and plumply told him that, if he did not reform his principles and practice, he would fine him, or flog him, or kick him out of doors. These threats put Roger on inventing other odd and whimsical opinions. He took offence at the letter X, and would have had it expunged from the alphabet, because it was the shape of a cross, and had a tendency to introduce Popery. He would not do his duty at a military muster, because there was an X in the colors. After a while he began to scruple the lawfulness of bearing arms and killing wild beasts.
fellow ! the worst of all was, that being seized with a shakingpalsy which affected every limb and joint of him, his speech was so altered that he was unable to pronounce certain letters and syllables as he had been used to do. These oddities and defects rendered him more and more disagreeable to his old friend, who, however, kept his temper as well as he could, till one day, as John was saying a long grace over his meat, Roger kept his hat on the whole time. As soon as the ceremony was over, John took up a case-knife from the table, and gave Roger a blow on the ear with the broad side of it; then with a quick, rising stroke, turned off his hat. Roger said nothing, but, taking up his hat, put it on again; at which John broke out into such a passionate speech as this: “You impudent scoundrel! is it come to this? Have I not borne with your whims and fidgets these many years, and yet they grow upon you? Have I not talked with you time after time, and proved to you as plain as the nose in your face, that your notions are wrong? Have I not ordered you to leave them off, and warned you of
and yet you have gone on from bad to worse? You began with dipping your head into water, and would have all the family do the same, pretending there was no other way of washing the face. You would bave had the children go dirty all their days, under pretence that they were not able to wash their own faces, and so they must have been as filthy as the pigs till they were grown up. Then you would talk your own balderdash lingo “thee' and thou,' and nan' forsooth; and now you must keep your hat on when I am at my devotions, and I suppose would be glad to have the whole family do the same! There is no bearing with you any longer; so now,
I give you fair warning: if you don't mend your manners, and retract your errors, and promise reformation, I'll kick you out of the house. I'll have no such refractory fellows here. I came into this forest for reformation, and reformation I will have."
** Friend John," said Roger, " dost not thou remember, when thou and I lived together in friend Bull's family, how hard thou didst think it to be compelled to look on thy book all the time that the hooded chaplain was reading the prayers, and how many knocks and thumps thou and I had for offering to use our liberty, which we thought we had a right to do? Didst thou not come hitherunto for the sake of enjoying thy liberty? and did not I come to enjoy mine? Wherefore, then, dost thou assume to deprive me of the right which thou claimest for thyself ?"
“Don't tell me," answered John, “of right and of liberty; you have as much liberty as any man ought to have. You have liberty to do right, and no man ought to have liberty to do wrong."
“Who is to be judge?" replied Roger, "of what is right or what is wrong? Ought not I to judge for myself? Or thinkest thou it is thy place to judge for me?”
“Who is to be judge?” said John, “why, the book is to be judge; and I have proved by the book, over and over again, that you are wrong; and therefore you are wrong, and you have no liberty to do anything but what is right.”
“But, friend John,” said Roger, “who is to judge whether thou hast proved my opinions or conduct to be wrong—thou or I?”
"Come, come,” said John, “not so close, neither; none of your idle distinctions. I say you are in the wrong; I have proved it, and you know it. You have sinned against your own conscience, and therefore you deserve to be cut off as an incorrigible heretic."
“How dost thou know," said Roger, “that I have sinned against my own conscience? Canst thou search the heart?”
At this John was so enraged that he gave him a smart kick, and bade him begone out of his house, and off his lands, and called after him to tell him, that, if ever he should catch him there again, he would knock his brains out.
BORN in Norwich, Conn., 1741. Died in London, England, 1801.
HIS PROPOSAL TO HIS PEGGY.
[Letter to Miss Peggy Shippen.-25 September, 1778.] ᎠᎬ
EAR MADAM: Twenty times have I taken up my pen to write
to you, and as often has my trembling hand refused to obey the dictates of my heart-a heart which, though calm and serene amidst the clashing of arms and all the din and horrors of war, trembles with diffidence and the fear of giving offence when it attempts to address you on a subject so important to its happiness. Dear madam, your charms have lighted up a flame in my bosom which can never be extinguished; your heavenly image is too deeply impressed ever to be effaced.
My passion is not founded on personal charms only: that sweetness of disposition and goodness of heart, that sentiment and sensibility which so strongly mark the character of the lovely Miss P. Shippen, renders her amiable beyond expression, and will ever retain the heart she has once captivated. On you alone my happiness depends, and will you doom me to languish in despair? Shall I expect no return to the most sincere, ardent, and disinterested passion? Do you feel no pity in your gentle bosom for the man who would die to make you happy? May I presume to hope it is not impossible I may make a favorable impression on your heart? Friendship and esteem you acknowledge. Dear Peggy, suffer that heavenly bosom (which cannot know itself the cause of pain without a sympathetic pang) to expand with a sensation more soft, more tender than friendship. A union of hearts is undoubtedly necessary to happiness; but give me leave to observe that true and permanent happiness is seldom the effect of an alliance founded on a romantic passion; where fancy governs more than judgment. Friendship and esteem, founded on the merit of the object, is the most certain basis to build a lasting happiness upon; and when there is a tender and ardent passion on one side, and friendship and esteem on the other, the heart (unlike yours) must be callous to every tender sentiment, if the taper of love is not lighted up at the flame.
I am sensible your prudence and the affection you bear your amiable and tender parents forbid your giving encouragement to the addresses of any one without their approbation. Pardon me, dear madam, for disclosing a passion I could no longer confine in my tortured bosom. I have presumed to write to your Papa, and have requested his sanction to my addresses. Suffer me to hope for your approbation. Consider
you doom me to misery, which I have not deserved but by loving you too extravagantly. Consult your own happiness, and if incompatible, forget there is so unhappy a wretch; for may I perish if I would give you one moment's inquietude to purchase the greatest possible felicity to myself. Whatever my fate may be, my most ardent wish is for your happiness, and my latest breath will be to implore the blessing of heaven on the idol and only wish of my soul.
Adieu, dear madam, and believe me unalterably, your sincere admirer and devoted humble servant,
BORN in New York, N. Y., 1745. Died at Bedford, Westchester Co., N. Y., 1829.
AN APPEAL TO JUSTICE.
[“ Address to the People of Great Britain from the Delegates of the Several English
Colonies of New Hampshire,” etc. 1774.-The Life of John Jay, by his Son. 1833.]
CE believe there is yet much virtue, much justice, and much public
spirit in the English nation. To that justice we now appeal. You have been told that we are seditious, impatient of government, and desirous of independence. Be assured that these are not facts, but calumnies. Permit us to be as free as yourselves, and we shall ever esteem a union with you to be our greatest glory and our greatest happiness; we shall ever be ready to contribute all in our power to the welfare of the empire; we shall consider your enemies as our enemies, and your interest as our own.
But if you are determined that your ministers shall wantonly sport with the rights of mankind : if neither the voice of justice, the dictates of the law, the principles of the constitution, or the suggestions of humanity, can restrain your hands from shedding human blood in such an impious cause, we must then tell you, that we will never submit to be hewers of wood or drawers of water for any ministry or nation in the world.
Place us in the same situation that we were at the close of the last war, and our former harmony will be restored.
But lest the same supineness, and the same inattention to our common interest, which you have for several years shown, should continue, we think it prudent to anticipate the consequences.
By the destruction of the trade of Boston, the ministry have endeav
ored to induce submission to their measures. The like fate may befall us all. We will endeavor, therefore, to live without trade, and recur for subsistence to the fertility and bounty of our native soil, which affords us all the necessaries, and some of the conveniences of life. We have suspended our importation from Great Britain and Ireland ; and in less than a year's time, unless our grievances should be redressed, shall discontinue our exports to those kingdoms and the West Indies.
It is with the utmost regret, however, that we find ourselves compelled, by the overruling principles of self-preservation, to adopt measures detrimental in their consequences to numbers of our fellow-subjects in Great Britain and Ireland. But we hope that the magnanimity and justice of the British nation will furnish a parliament of such wisdom, indepen . dence, and public spirit, as may save the violated rights of the whole empire from the devices of wicked ministers and evil counsellors, whether in or out of office; and thereby restore that harmony, friendship, and fraternal affection, between all the inhabitants of his majesty's kingdoms and territories, so ardently wished for by every true and honest American.
AN APPEAL TO HONESTY.
[“ Circular Letter from Congress to their Constituents.” Philadelphia, 1779. From the
natural depreciation of our bills, we have resolved to stop the press, and to call upon you for supplies by loans and taxes. You are in capacity to afford them, and are bound by the strongest ties to do it. Leave us not, therefore, without supplies, nor let in that flood of evils which would follow from such a neglect. It would be an event most grateful to our enemies; and, depend upon it, they will redouble their artifices and industry to compass it. Be, therefore, upon your guard, and examine well the policy of every measure and the evidence of every report that
may be proposed or mentioned to you before you adopt the one or believe the other. Recollect that it is the price of the liberty, the peace, and the safety of yourselves and posterity that now is required; that peace, liberty, and safety, for the attainment and security of which you have so often and so solemnly declared your readiness to sacrifice your lives and fortunes. The war, though drawing fast to a successful issue, still rages. Disdain to leave the whole business of your defence to your ally. Be mindful that the brightest prospects may be clouded, and that prudence bids us be prepared for every event. Provide, therefore, for