It is with mingled feelings of humility and pride that I appear to take, in the presence of the people and before high Heaven, the oath prescribed as a qualification for the exalted nation to which the unanimous voice of the people has called me. . . .
The experiment instituted by our revolutionary fathers, of a voluntary Union of sovereign States for purposes specified in a solemn compact, had been perverted by those who, feeling power and forgetting right, were determined to respect no law but their own will. The Government had ceased to answer the ends for which it was ordained and established. . . .
Fellow-citizens, after the struggles of ages had consecrated the right of the Englishman to Constitutional. Representative Government, our colonial ancestors were forced to vindicate that birthright by an appeal to arms. Success crowned their efforts, and they provided for their posterity a peaceful remedy against future aggression.
The tyranny of an unbridled majority, the most odious, and least responsible form of despotism has denied us both the right and the remedy; therefore, we are in arms to renew such sacrifices as our fathers made to the holy cause of Constitutional liberty. At the darkest hour of our struggle the Provisional gives place to the Permanent Government. After a series of successes and victories, which covered our arms with glory, we have recently met with serious disasters.–But in the heart of a people resolved to be free, these disasters tend but to stimulate to increased resistance.
To show ourselves worthy of the inheritance bequeathed to us by the patriots of the Revolution, we must emulate that heroic devotion which made reverse to them but the crucible in which their patriotism was refined. [Applause.] . . .
—Judith White McGuire, living in Richmond, writes in her diary:
Affectionately, your son,