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Letter from John Dickinson to Arthur Lee



Fairfield, August 20, 1774.

DEAR SIR: A general Congress meets in Philadelphia the beginning of next month. These Colonies have appointed Deputies: Massachusetts Bay, New-Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, the Government on Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina. North Carolina it is said to appoint on this day; Georgia will also appoint, as we are assured.

The insanity of Parliament has operated like inspiration in America. They are mad to be sure, but in their phrenzy they have discovered invaluable truths.

The Colonists now know what is designed against them. All classes of people are surprisingly united in sentiment. The first step, in all probability, will be a general non-importation from Great Britain. The next, if grievances are not redressed, a general non-exportation to that Kingdom. If severities increase, events will inevitably take place which a man so connected with this Continent as you are, must view with inexpressible pain of mind.

The people in general through the country look forward to extremes with resolution. Of these, the brave Germans, many of whom have seen service, are in every sense truly respectable. Is it possible that the people of our mother country, so beloved and revered by us, can seriously think of sheathing their swords in bosoms so affectionate to them? Of engaging in a war that must instantly produce such deficiencies in her revenue, expose her to her natural enemies, and, if she conquers, must, in its consequences, drag her down to destruction; and, if she fails of success, as, if the Colonists have common sense, she certainly must, will involve her in immediate ruin?

Surely, sir, you may render your native country eminent services by publishing your sentiments in the present mournful prospect of affairs. That you may undertake the employment is the hearty wish of, dear sir, your affectionate friend, and most obedient servant,



I have just heard that Georgia has appointed Deputies to attend the Congress.