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To the Inhabitants of the North American in General



FRIENDS AND FELLOW-SUBJECTS: At a time when the advocates for Ministerial measures are endeavouring by all the low artifices imaginable to promote their despotick views and interests; when the friends to freedom are calumniated and publickly abused by these mercenary wretches, it behoves the inhabitants of this Continent in general, and those of this Province in particular, to be on their guard against the poisonous and deadly productions of the men who are thus endeavouring to promote the wicked designs of the Ministry against us. It has been asserted by one of these writers, that "the Colonies are inclined to


throw off their dependence upon Great Britain;" the assertion appears to me to be rather indefinite; if they mean that the Colonies are desirous to render themselves independent of the regal authority of Great Britain, I believe they will find but few who entertain such thoughts or designs. But the intentions of these men, my friends, are to stir up hatred and divisions among you; to set these Colonies at variance with each other, and by that means defeat the intent of the virtuous struggles which they are now making, in hopes that a change of affairs may conduce to their advantage. They are earnestly engaged to involve this once happy country, in distress and slavery, — among other things they endeavour to represent the proceedings of the Continental Congress in the most unfavourable light; and we are told by one of these sycophants," that the Members of the Congress have either ignorantly misunderstood, carelessly neglected, or basely betrayed, the interest of all the Colonies. "With respect to these charges against the Congress, I shall in the first place observe, that the Members of that Congress were chosen by you; and to suppose that you would act so unwisely as to delegate men for that great purpose who were not well acquainted with the subject in dispute; I say, to imagine this, would be such an insult to your understandings, and argue so little sense, that I am surprised to find it, asserted, that the Members were ignorant of the grand dispute, or unacquainted with the means necessary for happily terminating it.

To insinuate "that they have carelessly neglected the interest of all the Colonies," discovers not only a weakness of mind, but a depravity of heart. Why should they carelessly neglect your interest when it is blended with their own?

With respect to this charge, viz: that they have basely betrayed the interest of the Colonies, I shall only observe, that the supposition is evidently absurd, for the reasons above alleged. But I should be more particular in this part were it not for the regard I have to the merit of a person who has lately cleared up this mutter in the most striking manner; he has given reasons sufficient to convince the reasonable part of the Americans that the Members of the Congress, so far from basely betraying the interest of their constituents, have adopted the wisest and best mode of proceeding. Nothing now remains to be done but to follow their directions, adhere firmly to their Association, and you will undoubtedly experience the happy consequences. It has been clearly proved that no better mode could have been fallen upon than that which the Congress have proposed and recommended. When, therefore, the advocates for slavery declaim against the proceedings of the Congress, they do it not from a consciousness of their being inefficacious, but solely with a view to lead you away from your duty at this time. You are in honour bound to abide by the determinations of the Congress, and I durst say, that the good sense for which the inhabitants of these Colonies are so remarkable, will teach them at this time to adopt and follow the same. Be not deceived, my friends, judge freely for yourselves, and remember that the greatest duty you can discharge to your country will be to follow the directions of that respectable body, which you chose to be the guardians of your liberty; lot not artful and designing men lead you away from the paths of virtue; remember the eyes of all Europe are upon you, and if you hold out to the end you will experience deliverance from your present troubles. By conducting yourselves thus honourably, you will convince the Ministry and Parliament of Great Britain, that the wisest way for them to act will be to restore you to your former happy situation. But should you continue inflexible for a time, you may depend upon it, that the cries of the Nation at home will at last rouse them from their dream of arbitrary power.

New-York, December 28, 1774.