Monday, March 5, 2012

Thomas Jefferson, on the Right to Defend

“Happy should I be to convince your Majesty, where legal authority ends, and tyranny begins; and that your dignity alone consists in the happiness of your subjects; and that when virtue and justice forsake your councils, error and ruin must inevitably ensue. With your Majesty's ministers we can keep no longer. If at any time we pitied their innocent infirmities, that pity has long ago been converted into abhorrence from the wickedness of their counsels, and the injustice of their deeds. By their breaches upon your prerogative, Sir! they have broken down the legal barriers of the constitution, and destroyed the distinctions of government; they have changed, or attempted to change lawful possession into arbitrary dominion: and, in the mad career, they may endeavor to make their Sovereign dispense with every thing that entitles him to obedience; and, by this means, convert the first duty of subjects into an opposition which the great and primary law of nature, self-defence, makes necessary. Those cruel, in-expedient, tyrannical measures, which first they adopted, respecting America, notwithstanding the perilous circumstances into which they have brought both the colonies, and our own country, they carry violently on; as if they could persuade us that perseverance was integrity; and open opposition, state necessity.”

No comments:

Post a Comment