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Letter from London to a Gentleman in Boston



This being the time of recess from publick business, little is stirring in the political hemisphere; but to shew that your friends here are not idle, a pamphlet is enclosed, which is now circulating in this Kingdom. The spirit which has appeared in all America has given much uneasiness to our wicked Ministers, and I conjecture they will, by their wicked emissaries, try every expedient to bring about a disunion among you, when the Congress meets; therefore, with much circumspection, you should watch their motions, and take all possible precaution to defeat their attempts. It appears to me the greatest stake that ever was played for; no less than whether the Americans, and their endless generations, shall enjoy the common rights of mankind, or be worse than Eastern slaves. The trial must now come to issue, as open war is declared by the Boston Port Act; the others, for altering your Charter, and licensing the soldiery and Custom House Officers in murder and bloodshed; and above all, by the Quebec Bill.

These are the fruits of the seeds that have been sowing ever since 1764; therefore it will be necessary in your Bill of Rights, which it appears the Congress is to draw up, to specify every oppressive Act of Parliament since that period, and if that is done with decency and manly firmness, I think Lord Chatham and his friends will support it, thought it is by no means prudent to rely over much on any support on this side the water; your chief confidence must be in your own virtue, unanimity and steadiness; temper and resolution must be joined. When your Bill of Rights is agreed on, the great consideration will be how to get it confirmed here. Was the Congress composed of Deputies, regularly authorized by the Assemblies of each Province, it might be proper to have it presented to the King, by a Deputy, as an ambassador from every Colony; but as the Congress will not be so constituted, your Bill will not be received through such a medium; therefore, I suppose it must go through the old channel of the agents.

But this I would have you rely on as a thing of absolute certainty, that your Bill or Petition will not be in the least regarded, unless you can compel the merchants, manufacturers, and people of England, to join you. For this end I know of no possible means but immediately to stop all commerce with this country, both exports and imports, which plan must be steadily and with the strictest faith adhered to, until you have obtained redress. The want of American naval stores, particularly pitch, tar, and turpentine, would be most sensibly felt here immediately; tobacco alone yields above £500,000, to the revenue, which deficiency it would puzzle the Ministers in the extreme to make good.

Your Province will surely be wise and prudent enough not to enter into any violent measures without the strictest concert with the other Colonies, particularly Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas, because upon them depend


the whole effect of the American non-exportation. The Northern Colonies have all the European markets almost for their exports; but those Colonies have hardly any but the English markets for their chief exports, which are tobacco and naval stores; therefore it will require your greatest address to get them to join in the non-exportation as well as the non-importation, for I am well convinced that the latter without the former will not avail, nor indeed will they both do, unless put in immediate practice; for if you lose the present crisis, the new House of Commons will be modelled in a year' s time to the Ministerial mould, and Carleton will have forwarded the plan of the Quebec Bill, so that any resistance you can make then will be fruitless; whereas if all commerce is immediately stopped, the intelligence will be known over the whole Kingdom in the winter, when we are in the height of a general election, and then will be the best time that can be wished for the people at large to convince the candidates to serve in Parliament of the necessity there is to do you justice, by repealing all the late wicked Acts; and I think it more than probable that in such an event it would be made a stipulation with the candidates that they should use their utmost efforts to obtain a total repeal of all the oppressive Acts that you complain of. You must make the merchants feel before they will stir for you, as their conduct respecting the Boston Port Bill sufficiently evinces.