Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature: An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891. Vol. III: Literature of the Revolutionary Period, 17651787
An Appeal to Justice
By John Jay (17451829)
[Born in New York, N. Y., 1745. Died at Bedford, Westchester Co., N. Y., 1829. 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.]
WE 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.
By the destruction of the trade of Boston, the ministry have endeavored 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 years 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, independence, 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 majestys kingdoms and territories, so ardently wished for by every true and honest American.