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Letter from William Hooper to Samuel Johnston



Philadelphia, March 13, 1776.

MY DEAR FRIEND: I had a sight of your last to Mr˙ Hewes. I am glad to find that you are in the land of the living. Life was never more called transitory than in the present uncertain state of things. He makes a very wild wager who bets upon existence for six months to come.

I am happy to hear that my family are well; would to God I was with them. The commotions in Canada are alarming. I wish the accounts we have of the success of the friends of Government against them, may be true. I hope you will not be lulled by their promises into a delusive security. The little regard they have had to their past promises, is, a bad earnest for their future punctuality.

We are kept in most surprising ignorance of the present state of North-Carolina. When we leave the Province, our friends seem to consign us to oblivion; and give us the important trust of defending their liberties, without affording us such Intelligence of their situation as is absolutely necessary to put it in our power to do it effectually. We anxiously wait the return of Cheer, the express.

Twenty Commissioners have sailed from England, to treat with Assemblies, Counties, Townships, in America — in the last instance, with the Continental Congress, when they have tried every other expedient unsuccessfully. Amherst and Lord Howe are of the number. The King would not, for a long time, consent to treat with the Congress, but was at last prevailed upon. They are to contend for much, and be content with little. Their creed is Divide et impera. Heaven grant that America may have virtue to resist their lures. I most earnestly wish peace and reconciliation upon terms honourable to America. Heaven forbid that I should submit to any other.

The enclosed will give you the state of the Army in and out of Boston. Howe is leaving it with his troops, and we suppose is bound to New-York. Pray make my best respects to your lady and family, and all my good friends near you. I am yours affectionately,


To Samuel Johnston, Esq˙, Edenton, North- Carolina.

N˙ B˙ What I say of the Commissioners, I have only on report; take it for so much˙