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Full text of "Review. The tomb of the martyrs, adjoining the United States Navy Yard, Brooklyn City, in Jackson Street, who died in dungeons and pestilential prisonships, in and about the city of New York, during the seven years of our Revolutionary War;"




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K E V 1 E W. 

THE 

TOMB OF THE MARTYRS, 

ADJOININa THE UNITED STATES NAVY YARD, 
BROOKLYN CITY, IN JACKSON-STREET. 

WHO DIED IN 

DUNGEONS AND PESTILENTIAL PRISON-SHIPS, IN AND ABOUT THE CITY OF NEW- YORK, 
DURING THE SEVEN YEARS OF OUR 

REVOLUTIONARY WAR. 



BY 



5;^ BENJAMIN ROMAINE, 



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J\)^ iN OLD NATITE CITIZEN OF NEW-TORK. 



^-~\ \ NEW-YORK: 

^\* PRINTED BY C. C. & E. CHILDS, Jr., 80 VESEY-STREBT. 

4th July, 1839. 



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THE TOMB Of THE MARTYRS 



THE 

TOMB OF THE MARTYRS 



The following inscriptions are now displayed in and about the sacred premises. 

First. — The Portal to the Tomb of 1 1,500 patriot prisoners of War, who died in dungeons 
and pestilential prison-ships, in and about the City of New-York, during the War of our Revolu- 
tion. — The top is capt with two large Urns, in black, and a white Globe in the centre. 

Second. — The interior of the Tomb contains thirteen Coffins, arranged in the order as observed 
in the Declaration of Independence, and inserted thus — JVew-Hampshire, — Massachuseits, — 
Rhode Island, — Connecticut, — JVeto-Yorh; — JVeiv-Jerseij, — Pennsylvania, — Delaware, — Mary- 
land, — Virginia, — North Carolina, — South Carolina, and Georgia. 

T/nVd.— Thirteen beautifully turned posts, pamted white, each capt with a small Urn, in 
black; and between the posts, the above-named States are fully Lettered. 

Fourth.— In 1778 the C^olonial Congress promulgated the Federal-league-Compact. though 
it was not finally ratified until 1781, only two years before the peace of 1783. 

Fifth. — In 1789 our grand national Convention, '' to form a more perfect Union," did ordain 
" the present Constitution for the United Slates of .fimerica," — to be One entire Sovkreigntv, 
and in strict adhesion to the equally necessary and sacred State Rights. Such a Republic 
must endure forever ! I ! 

Sj,r//i.— In the same year, 1789, in the City of New- York, Washington began the first 
Presidential career. The wide-spread Eagle of Union, with a gilded Sun and Star in his Beak, 
and standing erect on a Globe, is now represented as waiting on Wabhington's command, and 
then as instantly raising his flight in the heavens,— and like the Orb of Day, speedily became 
visible to half the Globe. Washington had appeared, uncovered, before the majesty of the 
people, under the canopy,— in front of our City Hall.— when Chancellor Livingston administered 
to him the oath of office, — and then proclaimed. Long live George Washington ! The air 
^vas rent with shouts of acclamation, and our goodly ship Union moved on her ways, a model for 
the Universe ! ! — A witness to this scene declared that it appeared to him that the hosts of heaven, 
at that moment, w'ere looking down with approbation on the act. — That he was deprived of 
utterance, and could only wave his hat among the multitude ! — I « as also a witness to the scene ! — 
Then it was, at that moment, when our State Sovereignties, — not our equally sacred State 
Right, ceased to exist, and the Sovereign power was proclaimed to be invested in the whole 
people of the United States, one and indivisible ! ! ! 

Seventh. — The Constitution of the United States consists of two parts, — The Supreme 
Sovereignty, and the unadulterated State Rights, one and inseparable. It has no parallel 
except the sacred Decalii.2u:' liy Moses, which proclaimed our duties to God and man, one and 
indivisible, — six thousand vears ago. 

Eighth. — In the Antechamber to the Tomb will be arranged the Busts, or other insignia, of 
the most distinguished deceased Military men and Civilians of the Revolution. The Governors 
and Legislatures of the CId Thirteen" States, will confer a great favor by sending them to 
Benjamin Romaine, No. 21 Hudson-street, City of New- York. 



In 1776 our Colonial Congress proclaimed the Union of Thirteen British Colonies as " Free, 
Sovereign and Independent States." <^ur old Step-Mother (Britain) having determined to tax 
these Colonies "iV all cases whatsoever," and without representation. The daring act of Inde- 
pendence, done in the face of full thirty thousand British and hired European troops, who had 
crossed the Atlantic ocean, and were encamped on Staten Island, within nine miles of this city, — 
in full array, to commence the scene of blood and conquest. Here v.e ought to name the heroic 
majority of our Colonial Congress who then proclaimed and sustained our first title deed of Inde- 
pendence. 



Our city was speedily captured, and held during the seven years contest — Washington was 
beaten in every direction. 

The energy of determined resistance by the Colonial Congress astonished Europe, though 
many of its most prominent members were appalled, and propositions were made of further 
petitionings for redress of grievance. A mighty host of internal opposition became bold and 
loud, in aid of the external onset. Clouds and mists, and almost total darkness obscured the 
light of our rising sun of Independence, in its first appearance, at the verge of our political 
horizon, and they have not ceased even to this day. 

In 1778 a middle course was adopted by our Colonial Congress. The declaration of our 
Independence then failed to be carried out. The form of government adopted was a mere 
Federal Compact, — Solemn League and Covenant, — a Compromise, — a Confederacy, &c. — 
These terms were however truly significant in word and spirit, though all of them of the same 
sense and meaning. The thirteen Slates were proclaimed to subsist in separate State Sovereign- 
ties. The American Eagle, — thirteen Stars, and thirteen Stripes, were adopted as their motto ; 
and " E Pluribus Unum" was significant of the combination. This federal form of government 
was not finally settled upon until 1781, only two years before the peace of 1783, when the British 
Lion was made to cower under the talons of the American Bird. 

The Federal league or compromise government begins thus — "JSac/i state retains its sovereignty, 
freedom and Independence, and every power, jurisdiction and right, which is not by this confede- 
ration, expressly delegated to the United States in Congress assembled." 

Four years elapsed after the peace, under the old confederation, and which had completely 
failed of all uniting purposes between the Sovereign States. The extension of our commercial 
relations, and the local, dissimilar, and imposing arrangements of some of the most powerful 
states, pointed to a more efficient Legislation to preserve the integrity of the union ; and more 
especially, for the united adjustments and formation of our treaties, both pohtical and commercial, 
with foreign states and nations. 

Those nations refused, nay they could not treat with us collectively, as a united people, while 
the several states continued to be distinct and separate Sovereignties, as declared by the old 
confederation. 

Thus our existence in thirteen independent Sovereignties, and destitute of a united and 
controlling energy, was demonstrated to be totally incompatible with union at home or respect 
abroad, and which became the sole cause for calling the convention, of the then Sovereign States 
to remedy the evil! Certain states had actually commenced restrictions on the intercourse with 
other states, and to form separate tariffs of internal duties, and also on '■'■exports and imports" with 
foreign nations. 

Our present most glorious government proclaims. — " fVe, the people of the United States, in 
order to form a more perfect union, — establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the 
common defence, promote the general v.'elfare, and secure the blessino-s of Liberty to ourselves and 
our posterity, do ordain and establish tliia Constitution for the United Statee of Jlmerica." 

(1:5= In all communities of men it has been found indispensable to create a MAJESTY, a 
Sovereign controlling power, an Arbilor which can have no equal, and much less a superior, or it 
could not he Sovereign, nor act effidently to a general interest. 

Thus Governments of every kind must possess the power of self-preservation. — They must 
be able to enforce the civil laws, command the national purse, bring into action the physical 
force, put down insurrection and rebellion, punish treason, repel invasion, defend the nation 
against foreign power and internal defection, and thus provide for the general welfare. No 
Goverr.r.Tsnt can permit, or shew a weakness, or failure, in any of these indispensible requisitea, 
■with nc^urity to itself, and let it be forever remembered " that fears in the public councils betray 
like treason.." We ought never to doubt fr-r a moment, of the efficiency of our general govern- 
ment, to sustain its united integrity. — [l-Vashingion's jarewell address. 

The United States government, constructed as it now is, of agents to execute the whole people's 
Sovereign power, and who are to be changed at their will, can never become a tyranny. The 
state govern.ments in Sovereignty must, long e'er this day have become contending despotisms : — 
our revolution a curse, and the people of each state made aliens, and foreigners to each other, 
and far less degrading and hum'liated would have been our present condition, to have remained 
the slaves and commercial dependents of our old task-master. 

It is of , general remark, "that the States have given away a large portion of their liberties to 
secure tha resi." S:ich is not the fact. No important State authority, which they ever exer- 
cised, under toe Old Confederation, except their adventitious and most destructive individual 
Sovereignty, wa-. yielded to the general Govrrnmenf, that is yielded to themselves collectively : 
and in the mo=t ample manner and form, with full powers to enforce ^nd sustain their undivided 



integrity, fVom foreign attack, and internal aberration. Not only was every State right made 
sacred, but vast additional powers and influences were guaranteed to them for ever ; — a free 
press, a full share of representation in both houses of Congress, to guard the general and local 
interests of each State, and the free instructions to them in the Councils of the nation. The 
Senators from each State control the President in all our foreign relations, and in his nominations 
to office, both civil and military, which appertain to the Government of the United States. Are 
these things, and a thousand more, " the giving away of State Rights ?" Each State now stands 
erect, as a mighty column, '■'■consolidated" in the fabric of Union, and is protected by the whole 
power of it! That which injures one State, must injure all ; and no unjust or unequal law can 
be long sustained, having such tendency, if it be possible to afford relief; and be assured, that 
none of the states would yield their proud original, present eclat, and elevation in the eye of the 
world, (and their own united poxver,) for all the individual state Sovereignty blessings of the old 
confederation compact. 

Six thousand years are said to have passed since the creation, and the United States is the 
first instance of a great nation, in a time of profound peace, whose religion was of their own 
choice, whose politics were derived from their own experience, freed from the power of personal 
despotisms, and from the superstitions of the old world ; — and thus choosing their form of 
Government. Then it was, that our sages deliberated, and by the most happy combination, they 
finally arrano-ed, entwined, " consolidated," and formed our general Government, and WHOLLY 
BY AUGMENTATIONS OF POWER ADDED TO THE INDIVIDUAL STATE 
GOVERNMENTS ! ! 

If the states had intended to retain their Sovereignty, they would have so instructed their 
several delegates in the Convention, or have refused to sanction the Constitution, as the words 
State Sovereignttj are not even mentioned in it ; but it is declared by the Convention, to be 
"obviously impracticable in the government of the United States." 

What is the general government, but the aggregate of state rights ? The state authorities, 
legislative, judiciary and executive, are in the constant exercise of those retained rights, to sustain 
their united Sovereignty. It certainly borders on the ridiculous, even to suppose this united 
Sovereignty to seek to injure or destroy the state rights by which alone that Sovereignty can 
continue to exist ! Nevertheless in every individual and state aberration, the first we hear, is 
state Sovereignty, and a vast concern about the infringements on '^paramount" state rights. 

The convention having finished the work assigned to them, by their separate state Sovereign- 
ties, did on the 17th day of September, 1787, — " Resolve, that the preceding Constitution be laid 
before the United States in Congress assembled, and that it is the opinion of this Convention 
that it should afterwards he submitted to a Convention of delegates chosen in each state, by the 
people thereof, under the recommendation of its Legislature, for their assent and ratification." 

In conformity to this resolution the Convention finally closed their labors, by the following 
(in part recited) address to the President of Congress. 

Sir, — " We have now the honor to submit to the consideration of the United States in Congres."* 
as!-etribled, that Constitution which has appeared to us the most advisable." 

" The friends of our country have long seen and desired, that the power of making War, Peace 
and Treaties, that of levying money and regulating commerce, and the corresponding executive 
and judicial authorities should be fully and effectually vested in the general government of the 
Union. It is obviously impr.\ctic,4Bi.e, in the federal government of these states, to secure 
all riri-hls of Independent Sovereignttj to each and yet provide for the interests and safety of all" 

" In all our deliberations on this subject we kept steadily in our view, that which appears to 
us the greatest interest of every true American, the coNsoLiDATioN of our Union, in which is 
involved our prosperity, felicity, safety, perhaps our national existence. This important con- 
sideration, seriouslvand deeply impressed on our minds, led each state, in the Convention to be 
less rigid on points of inferior magnitude, than might have been otherwise expected. That it 
may promote the lasting welfare of that Country so dear to us all, and secure her freedom and 
happiness, is our most ardent wishes." 

With great respect, we have the honor to be, Sir, 

Your Excellency's most Obedient and Humble Servants, 

George Washington, President, 
By unanimous order of the Convention. 

Sept 17di, 1787. His Excellency, the President of Congress. 

The Convention also declares it " obviously impracticable, in the Government of these States, 
to .ipcure all the rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet provide for the interest and 
safely of all" Here the Convention affirms the abolition of the State Sovereignties, as an aet 



of plain common sensf; necessily, ami to avoiil a downright absuidity, fVoni their iiaving " consoli- 
dated" the Sovereign power in the whole people of the States co//«7n'e/;i/ ,• and wlio, by their 
several independent State Conventions, consented to be clothed with every attribute of power 
denominated supreme, and as appertains to every other Government on earth ; when each state, 
then relinquished its individual Sovereignty, and in good faith, proceeded so to alter and conform 
their several State Constitutions accordingly. If the State Sovereignties had been reserved, 
would they have failed to mention it in their State Constitutions ? or in that of the United States 1 
Surely, those sacred instruments, and especially the old thirteen, and those since formed, would 
have been made the depositories of so sacred a reservation ! 

We had been accustomed to use the words Slate Sovereignty and Independence with venera- 
tion and correctness from the 4th day of July 1776, up to the 4th day of March 1789, twelve 
years and eight months, when the present Constitution went into full effect. On this all important 
transition, or change " of the relations between the states and general government," it only 
required to i)ut in use their true substituted fact meaning, viz. — Slate Rights, in the stead of 
continuing the words Stale Sovereignhj, which became abrogated, on the adoption of the present 
Constitution. These two words are the true hocus-pocus, of all the state aspirants from that 
day to this. What shall restrain a Sovereign power but its limitations, if the states are all 
Sovereign, then is the United States Sovereignty annihilated ; and this is the sum of the whole 
matter at issue! The idea of State Sovereignty had become inveterate. 

Washington says in his farewell address — " The unity of Government makes you one people. 
Designing men will ENDEAVOR to excite a belief that there is a real difference of interests 
and vieios ; beware of heart-burnings from these misrepresentations.^^ 

Again. — " That facility in changes upon the credit of mere hypothesis and opinions, exposes 
to perpetual change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opinion..!^ That in a country 
so extensive as ours, a Government of as much vigor, as is consistent with perfect security of 
liberty, is indispensible. Frowning upon the first dawning of every atlempt to alienate any 
•portion of our country from the rest, enfeebling the sacred ties icliich link together the rarioiis 
parts. BUT LET THERE BE NO CHANGE BY USURPATION; THOUGH IT 
BE THE INSTRUMENT OF GOOD, WHICH IS OVERBALANCED IN EVIL 
TENDENCY ! Parties in small minorities, will seek to make the public administration the 
MIRROR OF FACTION, and bccomc the most frightful despotisms, of one faction over another." 

Here we see the penetrating mind of our Washington to ward off the " Evil tendency of mere 
hypothesis and opinions in a country so extensive as ours." 

It appears clear to my mind that a case in full point has already occurred, and spread its most 
deleterious effects throughout our entire Republic. If the law of Congress in relation to the 
tariff system be in any shape or form a compromise with any State already in full fellowship with 
our consolidated twenty-six States, the " evil tendency" has occurred, and we are thus thrown 
back into the arms of our old Confederation Compact system. This " tendency" is industriously 
circulated throughout our Union, and the assumptions are already made to justify the States to 
seek their separate defence on the old ground of their separate sovereignty. Conventions are 
said to be now forming for like purposes. There is certainly no clause in our national Consti- 
tution which warrants such practice ; it is nevertheless now boldly defended on the ground of 
mere " opinion," that the tariff Compromise " prevented the severance of our Union !" 

Our united Republican Empire will fully inquire into this matter. 

In ISOS, after thirty years neglect, the corner-stone of this Tomb or Vault, was laid by the 
present owner, as then Grand Sachem of Tanmiany Society. — In the same year, from the great 
collection of the bleached remains of the Martyrs to our Independence, — Thirteen Coffins were 
filled, and interred into the Tomb, in great display of military and civil procession from the city 
of New- York and Brooklyn. Fifteen thousand attendants, without distinction of party, were 
then believed to have been present. 

The monument hereby contemplated to be erected is strictly and properly the business of the 
United States, it is therefore respectfully intended that no individual Slate, or States, — City, — 
Town, or Corporate Body, be concerned in expenditure of the work ; — except that the thousand 
dollars donation of this State, made some years since, to me as an individual, by a law of this 
State, and to be accounted for by me, — is not yet taken up on account of the smallness of the 
sum, — and other means faihng. This sum only will be applied for, at the commencement of 
the work. 

That the President of the United States, and the general Congress, be most respectfully 
addressed on this subject. If ever there was an event deserving the most imperishable materials 
to stand as representative oi' it, this occunence must, one day, be made to appear as of imperish- 
able memorial, and stand as a main Pillar in the fabric of our liecdom and perpetual Union. 



It IS ordered that all monies to be received by nie as peiisioo rewards (or military duties during 
the Revolutionary War, be wholly expended, iVom time to time, on these saered premises. 

The o-overnmeiit of the United States is now, and has been since 17S9, one entire and con- 
solidated Republican Empire, — on its like the sun of heaven never before shown, and it has 
been so administered from that day to this, whatever party fogs and mists may have been thrown 
around it in the pursuit of oflice, the principle remains, and without it, we could not preserve 
our national influence, and sustain any permanent internal solidity. — The term Empire, as 
applied to this State, is invidious. The word Consolidation has been, and yet continues to be, 
made as of friohtful tendency, now full fifty years. When these spectres shall become extinct, 
then will the "0/AeHo.s occwpatioiis" be gone, and the boundary line set to irregular personal and 
tumultuous state ambition. It is the object of their perpetual hate. 

Our general o-overnment is not now a compact, contract, bargain or compromise, between 
twenty-six independent state Sovereignties ; that compact has been had, and settled. It is 
now a government in" fact, holding command, and by order of the whole people, of all the ener- 
gies of supreme power over the Union, to enforce and sustain its undivided integriiij. Thus are 
the main powers and penalties of our government all plainly written and published to the world ; — 
those of England are mostly first declared by certain " Orders in Council,^' — and no where 
known before, — no, not to their King and Parliament themselves, until the Expediency arrives, 
which o-ives the impulse to their action ; — if that be a declaration of war, — or the interdict of 
trade between certain independent powers at peace with each other, on the pains and penalties 
of confiscation of property. Then is their " Faiihj'ul Commons" but first informed and requested 
to furnish the supplies ! That they are sure to do, until the game is given up, when the said 
Commons declare against that ministry, (not their king) — and that ministry then retires. And 

so on, ao-ain and again ! Yet our President and Congress are held to exercise more power 

than the English King and his Parliament ! Our government cannot now turn to the right hand 
nor to the left, until it be forced into a display of the people's power, by some overt act, of daring 
obstruction to its straight forward, conslilutional course. 

If the executive arm fail, or refuse to enforce the supreme laws, or other misdemeanor, 
or tiimtdhiotis excitement, then will the people's reserved power, through their immediate repre- 
sentatives, in the Congress of the United States, resume the executive command, and impeach 
such delinquent, at the Bar of the Nation ; whether it be the President, the Vice President, or 
other individual who may be called to cvercise the Executive Authority ; then will the supreme 
jndiciarij preside, and the Senate of the United States, the immediate representatives of the 
states, as states collectively, try and adjudge such delinquents, in conformity to the Sacred 
Charter of Union. This federalism is not ot' league and compromise character. 

The basis of our Consolidation is the universally extended elective franchise. This principle, 
hitherto unknown, and much less practised upon by any other people on this earth, — it will 
require the most rigid laws, " consistent with civil liberty," to enforce its true practice. 

When the child shall ask his parent, after the lapse of a thousand years, — My Father, what 
does that structure mean ? what is its use ? The Father shall say, — My Son, there were interred 
the representative remains of eleven thousand five hundred heroes of our Revolutionary War, 
who perished in doleful dungeons, and pestilential prison-ships, in and about the City of New- 
York, and who rather chose death than enlist in the enemy's service, to which they were daily 
' urged, as well by threats as by enticing allurements. Of many of these facts I have practical 
knowledge, at my imprisonment in two of those dungeons during seven weeks of the Revolu- 
tionary War, after which 1 was exchanged in October 1781. 

A single individual, or battle-giound, is glorious in remembrance to freemen, but here was an 
event of long and painful duration, a crisis, and without a parallel of suffering in the history of our 
Revolution. — I had long hoped and expected, and yet hope and expect, in this life, to see the 
cap-stone take its bed, and hearing the last stroke of the hammer on some noble edifice, ordered 
by none but the United States, at the Wallabout, reaching towards the heavens, at least one 
hundred feet above its base ; — which shall transmil, inspire and perpetuate throughout a thousand 
years, the heroism and patient endurance of misery, and ultimate death, rather than accept the 
dishonorable term of submission. 

I will only add here, that if those revolutionary dead had survived our glorious conflict, they 
would have obtained their pension claims and bounty lands of the Union and every state in it, to 
themselves, their wives and their children, — ten thousand times more even in pecuniary expendi- 
ture, than the most splendid monument which is now expected to be erected. All those sires 
now a.sk, and for more than fifty years have asked, and never can cease to plead from their silent, 
though not mute abode at the Wallabout — is — Only (;ive lis a Monumental Tomb!! 

ELEVEN THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED. ^ 




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