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Conciliation hopeless from the Conduct of Great Britain to America.
Philadelphia, July 7, 1775.
THE congress met at a time when all minds were so exasperated by the perfidy of general Gage, and his attack on the country people, that propositions of attempting an accomodation were not much relished; and it has been with difficulty that we have carried another humble petition to the crown, to give Britain one more chance, one opportunity more of recovering the friendship of the colonies; which however I think she has not sense enough to embrace, and so I conclude she has lost them for ever.
She has begun to burn our sea-port towns; secure, I suppose, that we shall never be able to return the outrage in kind. She may doubtless destroy them all; but if she wishes to recover our commerce, are these the probable means? She must certainly be distracted; for no tradesman out of Bedlam ever thought of encreasing the number of his customers by knocking them [on] the head; or of enabling them to pay their debts by burning their houses.
If she wishes to have us subjects and that we should submit to her as our compound sovereign, she is now giving us such miserable specimens of her government,
This and the two following letters were addressed to Dr. Priestley, as appears by a letter from that gentleman to the editor of the Monthly Magazine, which will be found in the appendix to the present volume. Editor, 2 A 2
that we shall ever detest and avoid it, as a complication of robbery, murder, famine, fire and pestilence.
You will have heard, before this reaches you, of the treacherous conduct to the remaining people in Boston, in detaining their goods, after stipulating to let them go out with their effects, on pretence that merchants' goods were not effects; the defeat of a great body of his troops by the country people at Lexington; some other small advantages gained in skirmishes with their troops; and the action at Bunker'shill, in which they were twice repulsed, and the third time gained a dear victory. Enough has happened, one would think, to convince your ministers, that the Americans will fight, and that this is a harder nut to crack than they imagined.
We have not yet applied to any foreign power for assistance, nor offered our commerce for their friendship. Perhaps we never may: yet it is natural to think of it, if we are pressed.
We have now an army on the establishment which still holds yours besieged.
My time was never more fully employed. In the morning at six, I am at the committee of safety, appointed by the assembly to put the province in a state of defence; which committee holds till near nine, when I am at the congress, and that sits till after four in the afternoon. Both these bodies proceed with the greatest unanimity, and their meetings are well attended. It will scarce be credited in Britain, that men can be as diligent with us from zeal for the public good, as with you for thousands per annum. Such is the difference between uncorrupted new states, and corrupted old
Great frugality and great industry are now become fashionable here: gentlemen, who used to entertain with two or three courses, pride themselves now in treating with simple beef and pudding. By these means, and the stoppage of our consumptive trade with Britain, we shall be better able to pay our voluntary taxes for the support of our troops. Our savings in the article of trade amount to near five million sterling per annum.
I shall communicate your letter to Mr. Winthrop, but the camp is at Cambridge, and he has as little leisure for philosophy as myself. * * Believe me ever, with sincere esteem, my dear friend,
Yours most affectionately.
Account of the first Campaign made by the British Forces in America*.
Philadelphia, Oct. 3, 1775.
I AM to set out to-morrow for the camp†, and having but just heard of this opportunity, can only write a line to say that I am well and hearty.-Tell our dear good friend * *, who sometimes has his doubts and despondencies about our firmness, that America is determined
*This letter has been several times very incorrectly printed: it is here given from a genuine copy. B. V.
+ Dr. Franklin, col. Harrison, and Mr. Lynch, were at this time appointed by congress (of which they were members) to confer on certain subjects with gen. Washington. The American army was then employed
determined and unanimous ; a very few tories and placemen excepted, who will probably soon export themselves.-Britain, at the expence of three millions, has killed one hundred and fifty Yankies this campaign, which is 20,000l. a head; and at Bunker's Hill she gained a mile of ground, half of which she lost again by our taking post on Ploughed Hill. During the same time sixty thousand children have been born in America. From these data his mathematical head will easily calculate the time and expence necessary to kill us all, and conquer our whole territory. My sincere respects to *, and to the club of honest whigs at Adieu. I am ever
Yours most affectionately,
Probability of a Separation.
Philadelphia, Oct. 3, 1775.
I WISH as ardently as you can do for peace, and should rejoice exceedingly in co-operating with you to that end. But every ship from Britain brings some in
in blocking up gen. Howe in Boston; and I believe it was during this visit, that gen. Washington communicated the following memorable anecdote to Dr. Franklin; viz. "that there had been a time, when this army had been so destitute of military stores, as not to have powder enough in all its magazines, to furnish more than five rounds per man for their small arms.” Great guns were out of the question; they were fired now and then, only to show that they had them. Yet this secret was kept with so much address and good countenance from both armies, that gen. Washington was enabled effectually to continue the blockade. B. V.
telligence of new measures, that tend more and more to exasperate: and it seems to me, that until you have found by dear experience the reducing us by force impracticable, you will think of nothing fair and reasonable. We have as yet resolved only on defensive measures. If you would recal your forces and stay at home, we should meditate nothing to injure you. A little time so given for cooling on both sides would have excellent effects. But you will goad and provoke You despise us too much; and you are insensible of the Italian adage, that there is no little enemy. I am persuaded the body of the British people are our friends; but they are changeable, and by your lying gazettes may soon be made our enemies. Our respect for them will proportionally diminish; and I see clearly we are on the high road to mutual enmity, hatred, and detestation. A separation will of course be inevitable. It is a million of pities so fair a plan, as we have hitherto been engaged in for increasing strength and empire with public felicity, should be destroyed by the mangling hands of a few blundering ministers. It will not be destroyed: God will protect and prosper it: you will only exclude yourselves from any share in it. We hear, that more ships and troops are coming out. We know you may do us a great deal of mischief, but we are determined to bear it patiently as long as we can; but if you flatter yourselves with beating us into submission, you know neither the people nor the country. The congress is still sitting, and will wait the result of their last petition.