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Loyal Strictures

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

It is an observation of the celebrated Montesquieu, “that individuals rarely incline to part with power–great bodies never.” The conduct of the Congress furnishes another instance of the truth of this remark. Though it is the grand interest of America to be reconciled to Great Britain, and though it Has been the constant and repeated profession of the several assemblies, that reconciliation was their object; yet, when reconciliation was held out by government, and commissioners were appointed to confer with the colonies upon their own ground for that purpose, these ambitious incendiaries, seeing that, upon such an event, all their assumed consequence must be lost, had art enough to hasten a declaration of absolute independence, before the desired commission could possibly arrive. The delegates had perfect information of what was intended, and fearing that this act of benevolence and conciliation might operate upon many persons in the colonies, whose properties made it their interest to solicit peace, resolved to put it out of the power of the several assemblies to listen to any overtures, by previously drawing them into an acquiescence with the avowal of independency. Thus the avarice of some indigent men, bankrupts both in fortune and character, and the ambition of others who lusted after power, has plunged this once happy country into a flood of miseries, for which the lives and fortunes of these parricides would, in the issue, make but a poor atonement. ‘Tis easy to foresee that, so long as these demagogues have the direction of affairs, no peace or settlement can be hoped for. And it is not to be believed that the colonies can have had reconciliation sincerely in view, because they have hitherto employed means which they must have known were exceptionable and offensive. Nor can it be supposed that they will ever be really desirous of it, till they have applied themselves, not through the medium of a Congress, but of their own respective assemblies, to the promoting of this salutary measure. 1


1 New York Gazette, October 21.