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To The Americans



FRIENDS AND COUNTRYMEN: Much time and treasure have been spent to accommodate the contests between Britain and her Colonies; though the affair has been very serious, yet no one just or proper step has been taken to accomplish it. Every one who can see the length of his nose, must see the folly of all irritating measures: such ludicrous attempts have, and forever will, widen the breaches between Great Britain and her Colonies. The temperate, discreet Colonists, have been too indolent, whilst restless spirits, by ignis fatuus, led the inconsiderate into the deep gulfs of sedition, where they lost virtue, loyalty, and good manners.

The mode of accommodation, or opposition, call it which you please, adopted by the Congress, was borrowed from the seditious Bostonians, who formed the plan before the Congress had a being, and was vigorously opposed by the virtuous among themselves, by the name of a Solemn League and Covenant, which the seditious entered into in the manner, and enforced by the penalties, the Association is established by.

Had the Congress checked the seditious then; had they supported the loyalists, who had long bitterly complained; had they opposed the anarchy and tumultuous tyranny then prevalent; had they laid the Bostonians under firm obligations to do justice to the India Company, and to make decent acknowledgments to their Sovereign for their violence and insults; had this been the preamble to the Association, the Port might have been opened, the three-penny duties and petty complaints removed, their loyalty and our liberty secured.

Something like this would have laid a foundation to have built upon; the Congress might then have merited the praise of the Bostonians forever, and of the Colonies during good behaviour. This was the way to have entered


into an accommodation; and it was so plain and obvious, that nothing but a peculiar enchantment could have led them from it. However, they joined the factious, and by that junction, the virtuous were, and are persecuted; all Government trampled upon; the King' s Officers, Civil and Military, insulted, and his property invaded. They also wantonly adopted, "approved, recommended," the seditious Resolves of Suffolk County. This imprudent, ill-timed conduct, threw the Province into an irregular fit, out of which it is not likely to recover, confirmed the seditious, and gave too much countenance to sedition in the Colonies.

Now, seeing we can entertain no hopes of peace with our parent state, from the mediation of the Congress, let us consider the provision made for the peace of the Colonies. The Association, which with some is every thing, is calculated for the meridian of a Spanish Inquisition; it is subversive of, inconsistent with, the wholesome laws of our happy Constitution; it abrogates or suspends many of them essential to the peace and order of Government; it takes the Government out of the hands of the Governour, Council, and General Assembly; and the execution of the laws out of the hands of the Civil Magistrates and Juries. The Congress exercises the Legislative, the Committees the Executive Powers: the injustice and oppression of the one and the other are self-evident. But as it is of the Bostonian manufactory, a new edition, fitted to the necessities of his Majesty' s most loyal subjects at home and abroad, will soon appear in both worlds with a pacifick, patriotick Address, agreeable to the old Catholick, generous principles of the Colony.

In the meantime, we must learn the humiliating doctrine of a blind implicit faith, and of passive obedience, and non-resistance; for a Committorial Court of Inquisition is introduced throughout the deluded Colonies; with all its horrid appendixes, our lives, liberties, and properties, are submitted to it. These Inquisitors and Spies are to inspect and watch the motions of the Colonists, and to enforce a due obedience to the rules of the Congress.

Their power is arbitrary and unlimited; they may judge by appearances, and condemn unseen and unheard; they are under no check, there is no appeal to another Court, they are not accountable to any power. Willing, or unwilling, we must be willing to obey the mandates of the Congress; we, though unwilling, must will all the profits of our late importations to the seditious Saints at Boston. The charitable Congress have given a title to them; the Committees, by and with the authority of lawless mobs, claim them; the very least these pious Saints can do for such unheard of favours, is, to stir up sedition, and pray for the continuance of such charitable donations.

But, as the power is tyrannous, so the punishment is horrible; they are authorized to proclaim his Majesty' s best subjects foes to America; to pass an act of outlawry against them; to cast them out of all civil society; deprive them of the benefit of law and civil commerce! For the same reason, they might have proclaimed them traitors! foes to America ! Why are the best subjects so wantonly abused? Are they foes to the King? No; but you want they should be. Are they foes to the laws of the Empire or Province? No; but the Association is. Are they foes to the interest of America? No; but their persecutors are. Why are the best men outlawed, who obey the laws of God, of nature, of the Province, and of the Empire. Where there is no law, there can be no transgression. How will the loyal Canadians relish your insidious, ensnaring addresses, when they hear of a tyranny that exceeds all they had ever heard of?

The Canadian Act, which occasioned so much canting on the one hand, and disloyal invectives on the other, has no such hostile appearance as this. This, however, reminds me of a remark, that the late Usurper' s finger was heavier than the King, Lords, and Commons. He used these engines to cover and forward his rebellious pranks; and as he gained ground he built upon them, until at length he and his tools passed an edict that it was high treason against the Commonwealth for any person, in any case, to aid and assist the King, the Queen even not excepted! By these, wicked, arbitrary engines, the Rebels were increased there as they have been here, and a pretext given to murder the best people in the Nation, and to seize their estates, the King not excepted!


Send back, we pray you, these insidious engines of persecution and cruelty from whence they came; for you have no reason, no right, no power to use them. How similar your ends and designs are to his, your next edition may with horrour inform us. Fie, fie, Americans, fie! Are these proofs of your love and gratitude to your good King and happy country? Are these the effects of your feigned patriotism and liberty? You see who went before you with all your specious pretexts of patriotism and every thing else; and you know how they all ended. Review the tyranny, the horrours, and havock of those days, and how long they lasted, even until all things returned into the old channel again.

But it is time to think of terms of accommodation with our King and his Parliament; and who are proper persons to undertake this? The Congress have adopted such irritating measures as disqualify them for this pacifick office; and we pray that love and duty to their King and country, may induce them forever to decline that very great undertaking.

After the hostile combinations entered into by the Colonies, we can expect nothing of this nature from the Throne; for our King cannot dispense with the rebellion of the Bostonians, without submission and proper acknowledgments; he cannot repeal the Acts of Parliament in a lump; nor yet declare that they have not a lawful authority over us. If, then, we go on as we have begun, he must either attack us sword in hand; or, as he is averse to shed human blood, he may lawfully sell his Colonies to such as can and will govern them. We cannot exist without Government, and we are not in a capacity to unite among ourselves, nor to govern one another; and then, like the miserable Corsicans, we shall pay very dear for our past rebellion and ingratitude.

It is then our duty and interest to offer terms of reconciliation to our parent state; and they ought to be reasonable ones, such as may be made with safety on our side, and accepted with dignity on theirs. I can think of no example so worthy of our imitation as the prodigal son' s. Let us then arise, and jointly, by and with the influence of our worthy Representatives, go and address our most gracious King and Parliament, saying, fathers, we have sinned against Heaven and before you, and we are not worthy to he called your loyal subjects. Such filial love, duty, and obedience, will assuredly meet with a kind and welcome reception, and be indulged with all that we can reasonably want here, or justly hope for hereafter.

Suffolk County, New-York, February 4; 1775.