taking advantage of the times, to oppress and ruin their deb-
tors but, at the same time, not to put it in the power of the
debtors, wantonly, to withold their just dues from their credi-
tors, when they are able to pay them. The law ruins many a
good honest family. Disputes may be settled in a more friendly
way; one or two virtuous neighbours may be chosen by each
party to decide them. If the next congress should think any
regulations concerning the courts of justice requisite, they will
make them; and proper persons will be appointed to carry them
into execution, and to see, that no individuals deviate from
them. It will be your duty to elect persons, whose fidelity and
zeal for your interest you can't depend upon, to represent you in
that congress; which is to meet at Philadelphia, in May ensuing.
The Farmer cries,
"tell me not of delegates, congresses com-
mittees, mobs, riots, insurrections, associations, a plague on hem
all. Give me the steady, uniform, unbiassed influence of the
courts of justice. I have been happy under their protection,
and I trust in God, I shall be so again."
I say, tell me not of the British Commons, Lords, ministry,
ministerial tools, placemen, pensioners, parasites. I scorn to let
my life and property depend upon the pleasure of any of them.
Give me the steady, uniform, unshaken security of constitutional
freedom; give me the right to be tried by a jury of my own
neighbours, and to be taxed by my own representatives only.
What will become of the law and courts of justice without this?
The shadow may remain, but the substance will be gone. I
would die to preserve the law upon a solid foundation; but
take away liberty, and the foundation is destroyed.
The last thing I shall take notice of, is the complaint of the
Farmer, that the congress will not allow you "a dish of tea to
please your wives with, nor a glass of Madeira to cheer your
spirits, nor a spoonful of molasses, to sweeten your butter milk
with." You would have a right to complain, if the use of these
things had been forbidden to you alone; but it has been equally
forbidden to all sorts of people. The members of the congress
themselves are no more permitted to please their wives with a
dish of tea, or to cheer their spirits with a glass of wine, or to
sweeten their butter milk with a spoonful of molasses, than you
are. They are upon a footing with you in this respect.