Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 23.djvu/19

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General C.A. Evans' Address.

liberty, I could make a volume of quotations; but I will repeat only this, that in 1689 the amplest hill of rights ever drafted was written by George Mason, a Southern farmer, containing these principles: the rule of the majority ascertained by honest elections; all political power is vested in and derived from the people; the executive, legislative and judicial functions shall he separate; free institutions, free enjoyment of life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness; free ballots, free press, free conscience and the equal rights of all men under the law. These grand principles, so familiar to us now, were large additions to Magna Charta, and they advanced the theory of human government to that summit from which amid the conditions of the rebellion of our fathers nearly a century later shone the bold resolutions at Mecklenburg, the Declaration of Independence which Jefferson drew and the Constitution of these United States.



0The idea of a Union of the several Colonies was of slow and painful growth. There were instinctive thoughts of intrinsic and eternal value melting in the minds of noble men, like precious metals in heated ladles, which were cast into a model form of government upon this wild, wooded continent, far away from the Old World's theater, where bad rulers had debauched and debased humanity for centuries. The installation of a new system of inter-state and intersocial regulations, where democracy would mean the rule of the people by representation, and republicanism should signify that public affairs are conducted with single care for the people's—rights this new fashion formed in the political processes of Colonial development, and which all royal and aristocratic Europe derided as a madcap scheme, was the priceless product of prolonged conflicts which bestrewed the field of our heroic history with the wrecks of many patriotic endeavors, but emblazoned it at last by the triumphs of sound principles and the establishment of our novel, potent and rythmical system of government. The English Colonies deployed along the Atlantic coast for a thousand miles from Buzzard's Bay, the outpost of the Plymouth Settlement, to Brunswick harbor, where Oglethorpe fought, rocked the infant Union in the cradle of lose recurring political storms which beat upon it in varying fury for one hundred and fifty years. There was such a growing appreciation of the common interest that wherever the British Crown