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Extract of a Letter from London to a Gentleman in Virginia



The die is now thrown: the two Houses of Parliament have declared the Massachusetts in rebellion, and the rest of the Provinces abetting them, which is tantamount to declaring them too Rebels. It becomes every American now to look firmly forward; submission and chains, or resistance and liberty; this is the alternative. If the former be most eligible, it cannot be too soon; we cannot too soon cover our shame and silence, and compose our minds to the inexorable yoke. If the latter, with its worst consequences, labour, endurance, and even death, should, to free minds, be preferable, it becomes you most seriously and deeply to consider of, and provide the means of seconding the glorious resolution.

To contend with a mighty state, with all its lifted terrours and united powers, and for a prize so precious, the world never, saw a contest more important. The very contemplation of it elevates and nerves the mind. But let your means be wisely prepared, and well husbanded; they will grow every hour more strong. The powerful opposition in this country; its Commerce and Revenue shocked; its Taxes augmented; its Merchants alarmed, and its Manufacturers starving; France and Spain watching for a favourable rnoment to strike, if your people have calm courage enough for a protractive defensive war, with the hardships of an interdicted commerce with the rest of the world, their success is sure. There is nothing upon earth more sure than that one year' s determined resistance must reduce this country to any terms. On the contrary, from the declarations which have been made in both Houses of Parliament, the consequences of submission will be the execution of all those who have stood forth for the people, and a confiscation of their estates; a general disarming law; taxes to reimburse Great Britain her expenses; the abridgment of all chartered rights; and the degradation of Assemblies, so as to prevent them from making any stand for the people, while they are an instrument of their oppression, in carrying the edicts of Ministers into execution.

Were the non-export of Grain from America only now in force, this country would be in a state of famine and insurrection in six weeks. In my opinion one year' s faithful adherence to that resolution must compel the King' s Ministers to do justice. The utmost vigilance should be used to keep the Non-Export and Import Agreement inviolated.

Lord Mansfield, who is the author and instigator of taxing


America, has declared in the House of Lords, that Parliament has also a right to tax Ireland. This you may depend upon.

Remember the danger of hesitation and inactivity on one side, while on the other the sword is drawn, and the scabbard thrown away.

The Petition from the General Congress was sent to the House, undistinguished, among a mass of other papers; and, as far as I can understand, not even read. For God' s sake exert that vigour, fortitude, firmness, vigilance, and activity which the times call for, and to which we must owe the preservation of our inestimable rights.

It is current here, that orders are seat from hence to seize upon particular persons. A prudent caution, therefore, is necessary; for, in fact, we are in a state of warfare.