What I can do for my country, I am willing to do.
I therefore beg that you would indulge me with the liberty of declining the arduous trust.
My sentiments for the American cause, from the Stamp Act downward, have never changed... I am still of opinion that it is the cause of liberty and of human nature.
The House of Commons, refused to receive the addresses of the colonies, when the matter was pending; besides, we hold our rights neither from them nor from the Lords.
I give no more paroles to British officers.
No man in America ever strove more, and more successfully first to bring about a Congress in 1765, and then to support it ever afterwards than myself.
The present times require the vigor and the activity of the prime of life; but I feel the increasing infirmities of age to such a degree, that I am conscious I cannot serve you to advantage.
It may not be proper for me, perhaps, to let my feelings carry me further am therefore resigned to stop here, if sir, you think my particular reasons following too free, or will give offense to the House, which I would be sorry to be thought capable of intending.
And, Mr. Speaker, if the Governor and Council don't see fit to fall in with us, I say let the general duty law, and all, go to the devil, sir, and go about our business.
I gave my parole once, and it has been shamefully violated by the British Government; I shall not give another to people on whom no faith can be reposed.