I do clearly see the perfect justice and great importance of the claim on the one hand, and easily conceive the power of prejudice on the other.
On the part of America, there was not the most distant thought of subverting the government or of hurting the interest of the people of Great Britain, but of defending their own privileges from unjust encroachment; there was not the least desire of withdrawing their allegiance from the common sovereign [King George III] till it became absolutely necessary – and indeed, it was his own choice.
On the other hand, I can easily conceive that those who have been long accustomed to subjection, and from whom it is really due, should not suddenly enter into the reasons of exempting a people, otherwise situated from the same burden. They are therefore of course easily deceived by false or imperfect accounts of a distant country, and insensibly biased by the phraseology constantly used, particularly the terms rebels and rebellion. Upon the whole, as I am now to dismiss this subject and prosecute the plan laid down in my first number, I shall conclude with saying, That humanity is the noblest attendant on true valour; and that he will probably sight most bravely, who never fights till it is necessary, and ceases to fight as soon as the necessity is over.”
– John Witherspoon— Page 250 of “THE WORKS OF JOHN WITHERSPOON, D.D. SOMETIME MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL AT PAISLEY, AND LATE PRESIDENT OP PRINCETON COLLEGE, IN NEW JERSEY . CONTAINING ESSAYS, SERMONS, etc. ON IMPORTANT SUBJECTS; INTENDED TO ILLUSTRATE AND ESTABLISH THE DOCTRINE OF SALVATION BY GRACE, AND TO POINT OUT ITS INFLUENCE ON HOLINESS OF LIFE. TOGETHER WITH HIS LECTURES ON MORAL PHILOSOPHY, ELOQUENCE, AND DIVINITY; HIS SPEECHES IN THE AMERICAN CONGRESS; AND MANY OTHER VALUABLE PIECES, NEVER BEFORE PUBLISHED IN THIS COUNTRY.” 1805