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American Eloquence, Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 194 pages of information about American Eloquence, Volume 1.
of this power is not a chimerical suggestion of a heated brain.  I will mention some facts.  Mr. Pew had one of these writs, and when Mr. Ware succeeded him, he endorsed this writ over to Mr. Ware; so that these writs are negotiable from one officer to another; and so your honors have no opportunity of judging the persons to whom this vast power is delegated.  Another instance is this:  Mr. Justice Walley had called this same Mr. Ware before him, by a constable, to answer for a breach of the Sabbath-day acts, or that of profane swearing.  As soon as he had finished, Mr. Ware asked him if he had done.  He replied, “Yes.”  “Well then,” said Mr. Ware, “I will show you a little of my power.  I command you to permit me to search your house for uncustomed goods”; and went on to search the house from the garret to the cellar; and then served the constable in the same manner!  But to show another absurdity in this writ:  if it should be established, I insist upon it every person, by the 14th Charles Second, has this power as well as the custom-house officers.  The words are:  “it shall be lawful for any person or persons authorized,” etc.  What a scene does this open!  Every man prompted by revenge, ill-humor, or wantonness to inspect the inside of his neighbor’s house, may get a writ of assistance.  Others will ask it from self-defence; one arbitrary exertion will provoke another, until society be involved in tumult and in blood: 

PATRICK HENRY

OF VIRGINIA. (BORN 1736, DIED 1799)

CONVENTION OF DELEGATES, MARCH 28, 1775

MR. PRESIDENT: 

No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House.  But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope that it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen, if, entertaining as I do, opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve.  This is no time for ceremony.  The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country.  For my own part I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate.  It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfil the great responsibility Which we hold to God and our country.  Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offence, I should consider myself as guilty of treason toward my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly-kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope.  We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that syren, till she transforms us into beasts.  Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty?  Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?  For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst and to provide for it.

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