Bradshaw’s Epitaph

Stranger,
Ere thou pass, contemplate this cannon,
Nor regardless be told
That near its base lies deposited the dust of
John Bradshaw,
Who, nobly superior to all selfish regards,
Despising alike the pagentry of courtly splendor,
The blast of calumny, and the terrors of royal vengeance
Presided in the illustrious band of heroes and patriots,
Who fairly and openly adjudged
Charles Stuart,
Tyrant of England,
To a public and exemplary death,
Thereby presenting to the amazed world,
And transmitting down, through applauding ages,
The most glorious example
Of unshaken virtue, love of freedom, and impartial justice,
Ever exhibited on the blood-stained theatre of human action.
O, reader,
Pass not on till thou hast blessed his memory
And never – never forget
That rebellion to tyrants is obedience to god.

 

Written by Benjamin Franklin, as recorded by Thomas Jefferson (and posteriority)