Sunday, November 18, 2007

Rev. Dr David Caldwell (1725-1824)

From History of North Carolina, by Samuel A'Court Ashe, v.1 1584-1783, pub. 1908, C.L. Van Noppen:

    In Guilford, David Caldwell, the leading Presbyterian of the province, from the pulpit raised a powerful voice for unity of purpose and co-operation in maintaining American liberty. Succinctly and graphically he portrayed existing conditions and eloquently urged the duties of patriotism."We petitioned," said he, "his Majesty in a most humble manner to intercede with the Parliament on our behalf. Our petitions were rejected, while our grievances were increased by acts still more oppressive, and by schemes still more malicious, till we are reduced to the dreadful alternative either of immediate and unconditional submission or of resistance by force of arms. We have therefore come to that trying period in our history in which it is manifest that the Americans must either stoop under a load of the vilest slavery or resist their imperious and haughty oppressors; but what will follow must be of the utmost importance to every individual of these united colonies.... If we act like the sluggard, refuse, from the mere love of ease and self-indulgence, to make the sacrifices and efforts which the circumstances require, or, from cowardice or pusillanimity, shrink from dangers and hardships, we must continue in our present state of bondage and oppression... until life itself will become a burden; but if we stand up manfully and unitedly in defence of our rights, appalled by no dangers and shrinking from no toils or privations, we shall do valiantly. Our foes are powerful and determined on conquest; but our cause is good, and in the strength of the Lord, who is mightier than all, we shall prevail.... If I could portray to you... the results of your conduct in this great crisis in your political destiny; or if I could describe... the feelings which you will have of self-approbation, joy, and thankfulness, or of self-reproach, shame, and regret, according to the part you act—whether as men and as patriots, or as cowards and traitors—I should have no difficulty in persuading you to shake off your sloth and stand up manfully in a firm, united, and persevering defence of your liberties.... We expect that none of you will be wanting in the discharge of your duty, or prove unworthy of a cause which is so important in itself, and which every patriot and every Christian should value more than wealth, and hold as dear as his life."