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Extract of a Letter from a Gentleman of Philadelphia



In a letter which I wrote to you a few nights ago, I mentioned that the manufactories of Gunpowder and Fire-arms which were setting on foot in this country, would defeat the designs of the Ministry in forbidding the exportation of these articles from Great Britain. The only design of this letter is to rectify some mistakes which have been transmitted to England respecting the conduct of General Lee, who is now in America.

The Ministry have been made to believe that the military preparations in the Colonies have been recommended and taught entirely by that officer. Nothing can be farther from the fact; the Americans were determined to seal their love of liberty with their blood long before they heard of the name of General Lee.

The people of Massachusetts Bay were armed and disciplined before General Lee visited them, and the Congress agreed to recommend the study of the Military Exercises to the Colonies without hearing a word on the subject from the General. It is a falsehood that the General has offered to head our Troops. He has too much knowledge of the world not to perceive that men who fight for all they hold dear to them, will prefer men born among them for Commanders, to the most experienced foreign Officers. Moreover, the Colonies are not so wrapped up in General Lee' s military accomplishments as to give him the preference to Colonel Putnam and Colonel Washington; men whose military talents and achievements have placed them at the head of American heroes. There are several hundred thousand Americans who would face any danger with these illustrious heroes to head them. It is but just to General Lee' s merit to acknowledge that he has, upon all occasions, exposed the folly and madness of the present Administration,


and has shewn the most tender regard to the liberties of this country, but in this he has acted the part of an Englishman. What is England without America? Her Liberty and Commerce, which are her two capital pillars, are both supported by this country. There cannot be a greater errour than to suppose that the present commotions in America are owing to the arts of demagogues; every man thinks and acts for himself in a country where there is an equal distribution of property and knowledge. It is to no purpose to attempt to destroy the opposition to the omnipotence of Parliament by taking off our Hancocks, Adamses, and Dickinsons. Ten thousand Patriots of the same stamp stancd ready to fill their places. Would to Heaven our rulers would consider these things in time; one more rash and unjust action on your side the water may divide us beyond the possibility of an union. For God' s sake try to rouse up the ancient spirit of the Nation: we love you; we honour you as brethren and fellow-subjects; we have shared in your dangers and glories; only grant us the liberty you enjoy, and we shall always remain one people. Let the bond of our union be in the Crown of Great Britain.

I am, sir, yours, &c.