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' Appius' to the Printer of the London Chronicle: Some of the late proceedings of the Americans have convinced him that their opposition is not dictated by true patriotism, but by a spirit of tyranny and despotism



London, September 19, 1776.

SIR: I confess I was once an advocate for the Americans; their claim to be exempted from Parliamentary taxation seemed to me to be founded in justice; and I thought it was equitable at least to give them security against an oppressive exercise of it. But some of their late proceedings have convinced me that their opposition is not dictated by true patriotism, but by a spirit of tyranny and despotism. I shall not insist on their having destroyed the liberty of the press, and preventing any thing from being published amongst them, which controverted the measures of the Congress; I shall not mention their having obliged peaceable citizens, at the peril of the loss of their lives and fortunes, to subscribe associations, however contrary to their principles and opinions. Some of the late resolutions of the Provincial Congress at New-York, must fill the mind of every good man, of every friend to the rights of humanity, with indignation and horrour. We there find these pretended advocates for freedom audaciously depriving their fellow-citizens of the common privilege of investigation and speech, precluding them of the benefit of trial by jury, subjecting them to punishments by ex post facto laws; and exposing to the mercy of an unconstitutional and inquisitorial judicatory, the fortunes and lives of those whom they may determine have spoken disrespectful of their proceedings, or controverted their authority. A judicatory, indignant reader! which may be composed of men who may at the same time act in the capacity of accusers, legislators, and judges, and enjoy the forfeited estates of those who may be so unhappy as to fall under their sentence. Are these the men for whom Englishmen are contending? Is the happiness of thousands to be sacrificed, to aggrandize riches like these? Shall the sacred name of Liberty be made the instrument to glut the avarice, the tyranny, of such enemies to civil society? I beg leave only to insert an extract from the resolves of the Provincial Congress, which met at New-York, on September 1, 1775, and submit it to the perusal of every impartial Briton:

"Resolved, That if any person or persons shall hereafter deny or oppose the authority of the Continental or this


Congress, or the Committee of Safety, or the Committees of the respective Counties, Cities, Towns, Manors, Precincts or Districts, in this Colony, or dissuade any person or persons from obeying the recommendations of the Continental or this Congress, or the Committee of Safety, or Committees aforesaid, and be thereof convicted before the Committee of the County, or any thirteen or more of their number, who shall or may meet upon a general call of the Chairman of the Committee where such person or persons may reside, that such Committee shall cause such offenders to be disarmed, and for the second offence they shall be committed to close confinement at their respective expense; and in case any of the said Committees are unable to carry this or any resolution into execution, they are hereby directed to apply to the next County Committee, or Commanding Officer of the Militia, &c˙, for necessary assistance, as the case may require. But if it shall so happen, that any violators of this resolution shall reside in a County where there is no Committee of the County, in that case the matter shall be triable before the Committee of the next County, &c.

"Resolved, further, That the respective Committees and the Militia of the several Counties by order of their respective Committees, or of the Commissioned Officer of the Militia then nearest, are expressly enjoined to apprehend every inhabitant or resident of this Colony, who now is, or shall hereafter be discovered to be inlisted, or in arms against the liberties of America, and to confine such offender or offenders into safe custody, and his or their punishment is reserved to the determination of this or some future Provincial Congress. And the Committee nearest to any person who shall be so inlisted, or hath taken up arms against the liberties of America, are hereby directed to appoint some discreet person to take the charge of the estate, both real and personal, of any such person or persons; which person so appointed, shall be invested with such estate, and render on oath a just and true account thereof to this or some future Congress, or to Commissioners to be by them appointed, and pay the issues and profits thereof to the Treasurer appointed by this Congress for the use of the associated Colonies."

Thus have these pretended advocates for liberty given us a true picture of their spirit and designs; and the best punishment which can be inflicted on their abettors in this country, would be to transport them to that, that they may experience the difference between the mild and equitable laws of a British Parliament and the tyrannical edicts of an American Congress.

I am, sir, your humble servant, APPIUS.