Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature: An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891. Vol. III: Literature of the Revolutionary Period, 17651787
The Arraignment of George III.
By William Henry Drayton (17421779)
[Born at Drayton Hall, Ashley River, S. C., 1742. Died in Philadelphia, Penn., 1779. From a Charge to the Grand Jury of Charleston, S. C., 23 April, 1776.]
THE HOUSE of Brunswick was yet scarcely settled in the British throne, to which it had been called by a free people, when, in the year 1719, our ancestors in this country, finding that the government of the lords proprietors operated to their ruin, exercised the rights transmitted to them by their forefathers of England; and, casting off the proprietary authority, called upon the house of Brunswick to rule over thema house elevated to royal dominion, for no other purpose than to preserve to a people their unalienable rights. The king accepted the invitation, and thereby indisputably admitted the legality of that revolution. And in so doing, by his own act, he vested in those our forefathers, and us their posterity, a clear right to effect another revolution, if ever the government of the house of Brunswick should operate to the ruin of the people. So the excellent Roman emperor, Trajan, delivered a sword to Saburanus, his captain of the Prætorian guard, with this admired sentence: Receive this sword, and use it to defend me if I govern well, but against me, if I behave ill.
With joyful acclamations our ancestors, by act of Assembly, passed on the 18th day of August, 1721, recognized the British monarch. The virtues of the second George are still revered among ushe was the father of his people: and it was with ecstasy we saw his grandson, George the Third, mount the throne possessed of the hearts of his subjects.
But alas! almost with the commencement of his reign, his subjects felt causes to complain of government. The reign advancedthe grievances became more numerous and intolerablethe complaints more general and loudthe whole empire resounded with the cries of injured subjects! At length, grievances being unredressed and ever increasing; all patience being borne down; all hope destroyed; all confidence in royal government blasted!Behold! the empire is rent from pole to pole!perhaps to continue asunder forever.
By declaring, that the people of Massachusetts Bay are liable for offences, or pretended offences, done in that colony, to be sent to, and tried for the same in England, or in any colony where they cannot have the benefit of a jury of the vicinage;
And thus America saw it demonstrated, that no faith ought to be put in a royal proclamation; for I must observe to you that, in the year 1763, by such a proclamation, people were invited to settle in Canada, and were assured of a legislative representation, the benefit of the common law of England, and a free government. It is a misfortune to the public, that this is not the only instance of the inefficacy of a royal proclamation.