May Our Land be a Land of Liberty: 1772 Oration Highlights

Dr. Joseph Warren delivered the 1772 Boston massacre Oration

in by Warren, top 20 quotes

Date: March 5, 1772

“May we ever be a people favoured of GOD. May our land be a land of liberty, the seat of virtue, the asylum of the oppressed, a name and a praise in the whole earth.”

“In young and new formed communities…the motives which urged to the social compact, cannot be at once forgotten, and that equality which is remembered to have subsisted so lately among them, prevents those who are clothed with authority from attempting to invade the freedom of their brethren… [E]very member feels it to be his interest, and knows it to be his duty, to preserve inviolate the constitution on which the public safely depends…”

“When they [Pilgrims] came to this New World, which they fairly purchased of the Indian natives, the only rightful proprietors, they cultivated the then barren soil, by their incessant labour, and defended their dear bought possessions with the fortitude of the Christian, and the bravery of the hero.”

“I am very much at loss to know by what figure of rhetoric, the inhabitants of this province can be called FREE SUBJECTS, when they are obliged to obey implicitly such laws as are made for them by men three thousand miles off, whom they know not, and whom they never have empowered to act for them; or how they can be said to have PROPERTY when a body of men, over whom they have not the least control, and who are not in any way accountable to them, shall oblige them to deliver up any part, or the whole of their substance, without even asking their consent…”

“None but they who set a just value upon the blessings of liberty are worthy to enjoy her.”

“[I]f you, from your souls, despise the most gaudy dress that slavery can wear; if you really prefer the lonely cottage (whilst blest with liberty) to gilded palaces, surrounded with the ensigns of slavery, you may have the fullest assurance that tyranny, with her accursed train, will hide their hideous heads in confusion, shame and despair…”

Source: An Oration Delivered March 5th, 1772. At the Request of the Inhabitants of the Town of Boston; to Commemorate the Bloody Tragedy of the Fifth of March, 1770. 2nd ed. Boston: Edes and Gill by order of the town of Boston, 1772. Reprinted many times both during the Revolutionary era and in collections of the Massacre Orations through the mid-nineteenth century.



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