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Jonathan Mayhew: Conservative Revolutionary
Unformatted Document Text:  as they have been justly called, who had the effrontery to cloke their rapacious violences with the pretext of zeal for liberty”(Snare Broken, 241). On its surface this statement helps give the sermon a conservative tone. But Mayhew does not call upon the colonists to restrict their protest to humble petitioning. Other methods of protest are also “strictly legal.” While Mayhew clearly rejects outwards acts of violence (such as those directed at Hutchinson), he also lauds the “prudent” and “spirited conduct of our merchants,” whose boycott of British imports “had a great share in preserving the liberties of the plantations, when in the most imminent danger” (Snare Broken, 242, 261). In fact, Mayhew endorses and applauds the method of economic boycott more than that of humble petitioning. Legal opposition to “any unconstitutional, hard and grievous treatment,” then, precludes only those “excesses and outrages which all sober men join in condemning,” namely acts of violence that bring repute upon the colonies, commit injustices against the innocent, and undermine stability (Snare Broken, 260). More, the humble petitioning, the “respectful, loyal and dutiful manner of speech and conduct” that Mayhew urges is expressly not akin to an attitude of servility (Snare Broken, 252). The colonists have “an undoubted right to complain,” Mayhew argues, “and, by humble and respectful, tho’ not abject and servile petitions, to seek the redress of . . . supposed grievances.” “The colonists are men,” he continues in language similar to that used by Jefferson on the eve of revolution, “and need not be afraid to assert the natural rights of men” (Snare Broken, 253). For every pronouncement of his desire that the colonists “behave ourselves with humility and moderation,” he also encourages a “manly and spirited, but yet respectful and loyal” attitude in the face of legitimate grievances (Snare Broken, 256, 260) It was an attitude he likewise held up for emulation in the behavior of numerous “devout women,” who were, “I imagine, so far 16

Authors: Lubert, Howard.
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as they have been justly called, who had the effrontery to cloke their rapacious violences with the
pretext of zeal for liberty”(Snare Broken, 241).
On its surface this statement helps give the sermon a conservative tone. But Mayhew
does not call upon the colonists to restrict their protest to humble petitioning. Other methods of
protest are also “strictly legal.” While Mayhew clearly rejects outwards acts of violence (such as
those directed at Hutchinson), he also lauds the “prudent” and “spirited conduct of our
merchants,” whose boycott of British imports “had a great share in preserving the liberties of the
plantations, when in the most imminent danger” (Snare Broken, 242, 261). In fact, Mayhew
endorses and applauds the method of economic boycott more than that of humble petitioning.
Legal opposition to “any unconstitutional, hard and grievous treatment,” then, precludes only
those “excesses and outrages which all sober men join in condemning,” namely acts of violence
that bring repute upon the colonies, commit injustices against the innocent, and undermine
stability (Snare Broken, 260).
More, the humble petitioning, the “respectful, loyal and dutiful manner of speech and
conduct” that Mayhew urges is expressly not akin to an attitude of servility (Snare Broken, 252).
The colonists have “an undoubted right to complain,” Mayhew argues, “and, by humble and
respectful, tho’ not abject and servile petitions, to seek the redress of . . . supposed grievances.”
“The colonists are men,” he continues in language similar to that used by Jefferson on the eve of
revolution, “and need not be afraid to assert the natural rights of men” (Snare Broken, 253). For
every pronouncement of his desire that the colonists “behave ourselves with humility and
moderation,” he also encourages a “manly and spirited, but yet respectful and loyal” attitude in
the face of legitimate grievances (Snare Broken, 256, 260) It was an attitude he likewise held up
for emulation in the behavior of numerous “devout women,” who were, “I imagine, so far
16


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