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Extract of a Letter from Thomas Fraser to George Erving, in Boston, Dated London, May 13, 1775



I thank you most heartily for the great trouble you have given yourself in sending our house, as well as myself, so particular an account of the state of your present unfortunate Country. Sorry, very sorry am I to find so many thousands of its inhabitants act as if they were infatuated, and determined, as much as in them lays, that every thing shall be in confusion. I have for many months flattered myself there was no chance that any blood would be shed on account of the present disagreeable contest. I still hope the wide breach may be healed without proceeding to such extremities, but really I have now my fears. However, trusting that an over-ruling Providence will order every thing for the best, I will patiently wait the event. I am sorry that your trade, as well as ours, is so much interrupted; when it will be otherwise I cannot say. Your, brig, the Harmony, lies in our river, and what is to be done with her I cannot say; on her arrival, our J˙ L˙ sent


his servant with a note to Lord North, acquainting him that the vessel was come, and that he was ready to wait upon his Lordship. I am surprised he has not sent a line; it is probable he may have forgot it. Mr˙ Lane sends to him again to-morrow. I am the more surprised he has not desired him to come to his house, because he read your letter with great attention, and expressed his uneasiness that the friends of good order laboured under so many inconveniences, which he wished might be avoided in future. You have before been informed of his Lordship saying he was glad your brig was gone forward, because it gave him an opportunity of well considering the application you have made. From his silence, I should apprehend he doth not mean the scheme should be put in execution. He hinted to Mr˙ Lane, that if permission was given, we must apply to the Admiralty. In short, I wish you success in all your engagements; but whether or no you and I may have reason to have desired that Captain Shayler might come fully loaded with merchandise from hence, is a point that I cannot determine. You must allow that affairs are in a very critical situation; and although a civil war may never break out, yet there has been a great appearance of one. If you should for once lose the profit you expected to make by the Harmony, I hope it will be amply made up to you when matters get settled; then there may be some comfort in executing our friends' commissions, You may believe me when I say I have experienced very little satisfaction for these two years past, and scarce know what course to take with the little business we have left. I trust that when matters once get settled, that Administration will take proper notice of those who have ventured so much to serve them; your friends here will not be backward in promoting your interest on every occasion.

I have neither time nor abilities to enter into the minutiae of things as I could wish. I have a great respect for Mr˙ Erving, and hope there will ever be a lasting friendship subsisting between us. What the Americans will think of the Restraining Act of the Fishery, &c˙, I cannot tell; I should think it must bring about universal confusion and anarchy, or a happy and speedy settlement; this last I earnestly wish may take place. Mr˙ Lane proposes, when he sees Lord North, to desire him to destroy your letter; though, as it had been in his possession many weeks before, presume it can signify but little, especially as I am pretty confident the contents of your letter will never be known to the publick. I am, with great respect, Sir, your most humble servant,