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Extract of a Letter from London to a Gentleman in New-York



London, April 10, 1775.

The quality at the court-end despise the poor and industrious, and are obliged now to inform the mob that their brethren in America are to be slaughtered by the large Fleet and Army now ready to sail against them. The people are kept in total ignorance of publick affairs, and the wisdom of our Senators is to deceive those they are chose to protect. There are to be two thousand pounds added to the King' s salary, with a present, to pay his household debts of some thousands. When the budget opens, fine work how this money will be raised, and each common shop pay ten pounds, or fifteen pounds sterling tax. Every thing is taxed but the publick places of diversion; and they are so filled with people so numerous, and cause so large a circulation of cash, that they are the only blessing the people think are left them; for they make the rich spend their money, and the sharpers get it. All this is the wise people who are to have the collecting of your taxes, and to support this mode are the mighty preparations of war. Oh,God! who beholds the inhabitants of the earth, and hears the cries of the poor; who understands judgment, and rules in righteousness, look on America, and keep the land from being polluted with the sins of the Mother Country. Oh, if I dare write what I wish you all to do — what you can do, and what Providence seems to intend you shall do!

If you submit, all will be forever lost; a curse on your names, and your estates confiscated by those bills of attainder that are ready to pass against you. ' Tis impossible to describe the ruin that is studied; the load of taxes; the number of placemen to be saddled on you. The land is to be confiscated, aad the King an arbitrary Monarch. He is determined to be arbitrary, and consults no one who will not encourage his universal sway. He lives retired; only three times a week goes to the publick diversions, pantheon,


plays, operas, and has given fifteen hundred pounds to an Italian singer. The young Prince is to go to housekeeping this spring, and the men appointed to attend his levee are of such a complexion as forebodes evil.

Four thousand of the new Army, with Colonel Howe, are to hoist the flag at New-York, and stop all communication with New-England. If the Fleet sails, you must fight or be destroyed; for the Ministry are determined to destroy your trade, to ruin the growth of the Colonies, and to stop all the bessings Heaven has given you. Get ready to fight, for nothing can save, you but the power of the Colonies and their own strength, and to America will England owe their liberty or be ruined. Several gentlemen called on me, and desired me to write to you to arm immediately. Get ready to receive ten thousand men and four hundred sail, and you are to find provisions and pay them yourselves. New charters are ready now; for your money, the soldiers have orders to fight; new cannon, guns, powder, and ball, for war and blood! The cry of blood is gone but against you.

Your fate now depends on the brave and spirited conduct of yourselves. You see the diabolical plot is deep laid against you; and by bribes and undue influence, has obtained; the late and the present Acts for blocking up your Trade, and taking those unwarrantable measures against the Colonies and the sense of the people.

This day will be remembered in history; for John Wilkes and the King to meet on such a solemn occasion, no less than the lives and property of all America and the whole English Nation. Great will be the event of this day. The Lord Mayor, Aldermen, Liverymen, Recorder, Remembrancer, and City Officers, all went in procession. A copy of the King' s answer is to be sent, to you. This answer will rouse up the blood of the English, and all America will see that they must fight, and that they have no hopes left. The glory of old England is no more! All is lost! God is about to move the Kingdom; and soon, very soon, the King will see, his counsellors have deceived him, and the people of England will not bear their insults. The Bank and the Stocks will fail, as no trade is carried on with spirit until the spring; and now all begins to stop; all things are in an uproar; the City is affronted; the people insulted; the Island of Great Britain exposed to the French and the Spaniards; no remittances from the merchants as usual; the great expense to keep up the war, together with fighting against their own people, (and in the most unjust cause that ever disgraced a Kingdom.) All men of sense are astonished and tremble. England has taken her last legal steps, and done all they lawfully can do, and now depend on the Americans to help themselves, and on their own feelings; that the Americans will act like men of virtue and wisdom, and that all will oppose the greatest tyrant that ever yet was seen, who now is hardened Pharaoh like.

The Quakers in England have petitioned the King themselves, as a people, and now attended the City Petition, all in one voice against the Ministry, and are all faithful to the people in America. The Quakers are the most hearty in the cause, and see the dreadful consequences of a civil war. Our forefathers did not think that ever a King of England would break his oath, and murder his subjects in cold blood, and take their money, or rob his people, without giving them any opportunity to defend themselves but by the sword. This, is dreadful, and dreadfully true. May the God of our forefathers direct you so to defend your rights and property, as will teach us to depend on the justice of our cause, and the hearty love of our country, in full confidence of a complete victory. This is the hearty prayer of thousands.

The continual inquiries are, how will the Colonies behave? Will they act like men? Or are they such poltrons as Lord Sandwich said they were? In his speech in the House of Lords, he said that the Americans are cowards; will not fight; are men of a mean spirit; dastardly poltrons; all noise and bully; that a few soldiers would soon make them submit. But God forbid that my worthy friends in America should add disgrace to ruin, and make the cause of God and man of no effect. The Fleet is sailed or sailing. General Gage has drawn bills on the Treasury, £2400, for secret services, to pay the tools of Government in all the different Colonies. Such bad policy must bring on ruin. Many of the hungry dependants on the King


have asked for places; and you will not only have taxes to pay, and a Standing Army set over you, but you will have all those vile cattle to maintain. You will have all your blessings taken away if you submit. But if you stand firmly out, and demand your rights, and are determined to fight, the Ministry will be obliged to send you offers of peace, and make satisfaction for all the damage you have already sustained, and be glad of a reconciliation, for England cannot possibly live without you. The silence of the people was occasioned by fear of the Bank, as the National debt is so great; but now, the Tobacco and Oil, and other revenues from America, bring to England two millions. This is proved from the Custom-House books, which the Chamberlain of London has been at the expense and trouble to collect and lay before the King. Yet his heart is hardened like iron, and, as Pharaoh, he will drive his chariot into the German Sea, not without a host of his Nobles to attend him.