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Letter from John Dickinson to Arthur Lee



Philadelphia, October 27, 1774.

DEAR SIR: Yesterday the Congress broke up. You will immediately know their Proceedings from publications.

The Colonists have now taken such grounds that Great Britain must relax, or inevitably involve herself in a civil war, likely in all human probability to overwhelm her with. a weight of calamities, in comparison of which, the contentions between the Houses of York and Lancaster, or the distractions of the last century, were gentle misfortunes.

A determined and unanimous resolution animates this Continent, firmly and faithfully to support the common cause to the utmost extremity, in this great struggle for the blessing of Liberty — a blessing that can alone render life worth holding.

I grieve for the fate of a brave and generous Nation, plunged by a few profligate men into such scenes of unmerited and inglorious distress. Let her rouse her noble spirit, be true to herself, and she cannot fail of being true to us. Let her not so far adopt the schemes of base yet visionary men and knaves, that she may think her dignity concerned to maintain the projects of those whom her justice commands her to punish.

Give up the Butes, Mansfields, Norths, Bernards, and Hutchinsons, whose falsehoods and misrepresentations. have inflamed the people; call not their cause the cause of Great Britain; throw all errours and occasions of dissatisfactions on their guilty heads. A new Ministry of such a character that England and America both can trust, may do great things; especially if a considerable change be made at the next general election. Why should Nations meet with hostile eyes, because villains and ideots have acted like villains and ideots?

I wish for peace ardently; but must say, delightful as it is, it will come more grateful by being unexpected. The first act of violence on the part.of Administration in America, or the attempt to reinforce General Gage this winter or next year, will put the whole Continent in arms, from Nova Scotia to Georgia.

May God of his infinite mercy grant a happy event to these afflicting agitations. Your friend,

P˙ S˙ It is suspected here that a design is regularly prosecuted by the Ministry, to make his Majesty dethrone himself, by the calamities and convulsions his reign is likely to bring on his whole people. Please to inform me what is thought on this point in England.