Primary tabs

To Lord North

v2:992

TO LORD NORTH.

London, June 15, 1775.

MY LORD: Whilst I feel the deepest anguish and sensibility for the loss of our hapless countrymen who lately fell in the action with the Americans, near Boston, suffer me to entreat you to stay the sword, and suspend any further operations against the Colonies, until some happy conciliating means may be devised, some fortunate expedient may be hit upon, to heal the bleeding wounds and reunite us again with that unfortunate and distracted Country. It is, my Lord, the sincere wish of every true friend of freedom, who are too sensibly afflicted, adequately to express their feelings on the above most, melancholy event.

As a well-wisher to your Lordship and all mankind, I entreat you, from every motive of humanity, to listen to the dictates of sound reason and policy, and you cannot fail of being convinced of the justice and expediency of a measure so essentially requisite to stop the further effusion of the blood of our countrymen, and prevent us from being engaged in all the horrours of a civil and intestine war; the bare apprehension of which, my Lord, fills me with the most poignant anxiety, and makes me dread the impending consequences with a torture of mind utterly impossible to he described.

If, by those extraordinary exertions which have often proceeded from people contending for their liberties, or by any of those accidents which have frequently decided the fate of battles and of empires, taking the victory from the strong and the race from the swift, we should be repulsed, to what a state of humiliation should we be reduced? Such is the insuperable absurdity of the measure, that whether victors or vanquished, we are sure of being sufferers.

With ties so strong to bind us to each other, is it not strange, is it not deplorable that we should differ? Do they who talk of chastising our Colonies and reducing them to obedience, consider how much we hazard when we dissolve those ties? What, are we to substitute in their place force and fear, which Tacitus wisely tells us are insecure restraints, and always succeeded by inveterate hatred? When these consequences follow from the coercive measures we are now pursuing, will the counsellors who have impelled us to them by representations, (not, I am sure, very fair,) defend us from their fatal effects?

It is from experience only, my Lord, that men learn wisdom; but, unhappily, sometimes the injury of the experiment is irretrievable. We have too much reason, I think, to apprehend that this will be the event of our present contest with America.

I acknowledge I admire the bravery of our Troops. What men can do they will do; but in a Country furnished with fastnesses and defiles without number, intimately known to the enemy you are to combat, where discipline is unavailing or embarrassing, and valour useless, it requires more than human power to succeed to any permanent purpose. Heaven forbid that the bravery of such troops as the English should be so vainly, so fatally employed. They who remember the fatal overthrow of Braddock by a few Indians in ambush, an overthrow incurred by the very discipline in which he vainly put his trust, will be apt to doubt the facility of reducing the Colonies by military force. They who reflect that the united aid and efforts of all the Colonies were necessary to give success to our arms in the late war against the Canadians, will be still more doubtful of this expedient.

But, my Lord, so much having been already said on the subject, I will not take up more of your valuable moments, which I am persuaded must now be fully employed. Indulge me, however, once more to entreaty our most serious attention to the true interest and happiness of this Country, and to the welfare of our brethren in America; so shall you be revered and esteemed by all good men, your name deservedly transferred with honour to posterity, and the tribute of gratitude, affection, and esteem, be echoed from every quarter of this great and extensive Empire.

MEMENTO.

Share