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To General Burgoyne



Philadelphia, June 5, 1775.

Permit me, Sir, though a stranger to your person, but not wholly unacquainted with your character, to address you on your arrival. Glad should I be to offer the language of congratulation; but the love of my Country forbids. Unhappy situation! that virtue must restrain the plaudits with which she hath been used to meet the accomplished Burgoyne.

With the manly openness of a soldier you have delivered your sentiments in the Senate; you have wished that the bravery of every "military man" in America, "may be judged by the test of compassion;" you have chosen "argument," if admitted to intercourse in America, "before activity in the line of your profession." The precious opportunity that you desire is granted; the fertile, the once peaceful, the free shores of America have received you; a people delighting in freedom of inquiry, susceptible of the force of solid argument, capable of refuting sophistry, would gladly meet you on this first ground of your choice, with candour enough to admire the copiousness of your eloquence, though possessed with too much judgment to mistake it for argument. We desire not to meet you reasoning "to the best of your power in the line of your profession," because the issues of war are dreadful and uncertain; and though you have been victorious in a "cause" which it was honourable "to fight for, to bleed, and to die for," yet in this, we apprehend, whether victor or vanquished, you will "find" nothing but "sorrow and remorse."

When Chairman of the Select Committee on East India affairs, you declared, "that the most infamous designs had been carried into execution by perfidy and murder; that the East India Princes held their dignities on the precarious condition of being the highest bribers; and that no claim could be admitted, however just on their part, without being introduced by enormous sums of rupees. Your noble nature started from the horrid scene; the ghost of Omichund could not have thus appalled you. And can you, Sir, be instrumental to enslave and oppress, not effeminate East Indians, but the sons of Englishmen? Can you imbrue your hands in brothers' blood, or stoop to the infamous designs of perfidy? Can you wish that claims the most just should not be admitted, unless the fallacious scheme of the treasury be adopted? Forbid it every ennobling sentiment of the human breast! No, Sir, satisfied with the glorious laurels that adorned your brow, let the peaceful olive twine around them; so shall "Britain and America in future time bless the man who felt that bravery and compassion were associate virtues.