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Extract of a Letter, February 24, 1775



London, February 24, 1775.

"Providence seems to have placed me here in order to give you the earliest intelligence of the most interesting affairs relative to the Colonies.

" To my great astonishment, I have now before me an Act for blocking up the other Colonies, and another called the Black Act, to prevent the Fisheries. The whole Nation seems to be deeply affected at such an enormous crime; which is supposed to be done at the request of the King and his creatures. God forbid that, you should be intimidated at this iniquitous law, which is calculated to ruin what was a mutual benefit to you and us. This must convince you what you are to expect, if you submit to the most shocking set of men that England can produce. You now see their humanity. Rouse up, then, with a just indignation, and exercise your Militia. Watch your Governour and Council. The new Assembly is to be composed of such, creatures as will give up the people' s rights, and join in the most horrid plot against them. What a melancholy reflection, that the riches and trade of a great Nation should be abused, and turned to the destruction of themselves and the Colonies! In short, the King is determined to be as absolute as the French King; and with the most obstinate head and bad heart, has set himself against the people, whom he will not see, keeping himself retired from his subjects in pride and ignorance. He has discarded men of veracity from all places of profit, and filled their offices with a set of the most abandoned, villains on earth. These are they who advised him to break his oath with the people, for which they are despised by the Nation. If you hold out a few months, England will rise and do you justice, as well as relieve themselves from these


accursed tyrants who want to corrupt you and deprive you of both liberty and property. There are two hundred and eighty-five Members of Parliament, who are all paid with the people' s money to vote whatever Lord North proposes, and he has his lesson from eight more who compose a club, that meets in the most private manner in the night at Mrs˙ Keen' s, near the Palace, where they have a box, which contains the papers that pass between His Majesty and them. The King overlooks the schemes, and corrects them; as well as gives orders how to proceed for the future. Hutchinson is consulted, and to the shame of Governours Colden, Penn, and Martin, who have written such letters to Lord Dartmouth, that the King has appointed them to meet at New-York, in order to join with your other lying spirits in betraying the Colonies: to complete which villany Lord North has made a motion in Parliament, as if he intended to promote peace with the Colonies; but it is to deceive them, and the people of England too. It is intended to defeat the salutary advice of the Congress, which does credit to British America. Set the Press immediately to work, and publish to the world the wicked designs of the King and his Counsellors, that you despise their slavish schemes, and are determined to preserve your laws and religion. Encourage the brave people of Massachusetts-Bay to act worthy of their noble ancestors! I have the pleasure to assure you, that the noble Lords with whom I have conversed, all join you in contempt of the junto here. You are desired to let the Colonies know that there Is a deep plot formed to divide them and deceive the people into a compliance. But tell them that you want not their trade nor protection at the expense of your liberty. You' ll see by the papers the treatment Lord Chatham' s plan met with. Those Lords who advised the King to declare you rebels, and apprehend Messrs˙ Hancock, Adams, &c˙, &c˙, have gone so far as to say that Chatham shall fall a sacrifice to their designs, &c. I know there is publick virtue among you; I know your fondness for England will not let you believe the wicked designs that are meditating against you; but I do now, in the presence of God, warn you that the King has no good intentions toward you, but what you oblige him by your own wisdom and virtue to have. Take care of yourselves, and act as the wise and brave have done in all ages when oppressed by tyrants. Resist unto blood all who attempt to betray you. The Parliament have registered Colden' s and Penn' s letters; look to them, and see for yourselves. Believe the Court your worst enemies. Be much on your guard. Yesterday Doctor Fothergill and Mr˙ Barclay were so pressed in spirit that they went to see Lord North, and told him that the Bill for prohibiting the Fisheries was so horrid and inhuman that the whole Nation would rise and oppose it; and that if it did pass into a law, it would be a scandal to humanity, and, perhaps, occasion a revolt. They plead two hours with him, but to no purpose. The Bill is to be read a third time on Tuesday; so that in five days this horrid Bill passes into a law without any further consideration. Oh, America Oh, England! The Ministry, in order to quiet the mob, ordered an inflammatory pamphlet to be burnt at Guildhall, which drew off the people while the Bill passed in Parliament, &c. A report is sent into the City that the Transports are stopped. This is to quiet the Merchants; but the Officers are gone down in private coaches of other people and America is to be divided and driven into compliance before England is apprized of it; Lord North has just given out that he will resign, and at the same time says, that he fears nothing from the people, unless it be the breaking of his coach doors, or some such trifle; no resistance of importance from the City, only a clamour, which he has often experienced. He expects that this manoeuvre will quiet the people on both sides of the water.

"Goods are shipped in the Transports with the Officers' Baggage, marked Rex, and under the protection of the King' s Troops, who are to land them and protect the trade, &c. North-Carolina is to be a store-house, it is said. Support the Committee, and watch the Officers of the Customs, &c. Your friends are afraid that you will be surprised into a compliance. The offers of peace were only to raise the Stocks, which had fallen; they are four per cent˙ higher on account of the report. The Council sat up all night, in order to find out ways and means to


conquer Virginia and procure Tobacco; great offers will be made to those who will raise it, &c. Men of large fortunes are afraid to oppose Government, lest the Bank should fail, which is said to be in danger. The interest on the year ' 74 is not paid. Many of the people are your most hearty friends, but the King is your greatest enemy. Be not deceived by his low cunning; act wisely, and the wicked and cursed plot will break on the heads of those who want to destroy you. The King is his own Secretary; he gets up at six o' clock every morning, sends off his box with remarks on a bit of paper tied round each order; four of the ablest lawyers are constantly with him, whose business it is to advise and search for precedents, to screen bis head and throw the blame on the Parliament. Two millions have been squandered in bribery and corruption. The Crown has nothing to fear but the hunger of the poor. A steady adherence to the proceedings of the Congress will, save England and America. Beware of Governour Penn, who has had offers made him to comply with the designs of the Court. Send this to Boston immediately. Mr˙ Hancock' s lands are already divided among the Officers, &c. Lord Dartmouth is your bitter enemy, and determined to destroy the liberties of America. Lord Chatham, Lord Camden, the Duke of Richmond, and all the wise wish that you may attend to the advice of the Congress."