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Extract of a Letter to an Officer in Boston


Extract of a Letter to an Officer in BOSTON, dated CORK, SEPTEMBER 8, 1775.

People are much divided in their sentiments about the Americans. Placemen, Pensioners, Tories, and Jacobites, with some stupid, ignorant, mercenary Whigs, are violent against them, but the hulk of the people of England and Ireland are strongly in their interest. My brother so far retains the prejudices of his late profession as to be a great enemy to them; but I own I am of the number of those who think they are hardly used, and wish they may retain their liberties. I entirely coincide with General Lee; and cant help thinking that the declaration of the Continental Congress and their address to the people of England, must convince every one who has the least particle of judgment or attention, of the justice of their cause. It is the general opinion, (and General Burgoyne' s letter to General Lee seems to countenance it,) that had the Ministry certainly foreseen the unanimity and firmness of the Americans, they would hardly have ventured on the steps they have taken. How this unnatural combustion will end, the Lord only knows; but one thing I know, that I wish you and my other friends were removed from a service at once so disgraceful and so dangerous. Never did the recruiting parties meet with such ill success in every part of this Kingdom as at present, so invincible is the dislike of all ranks of people to the American service. The inhabitants of Bandon, Youghall, Birr, and other Towns, have entered into a resolution not to suffer any among them to enlist for the purpose of enslaving their American brethren. There have been no less than five parties at once in Charleville, and after stunning the Town, God knows how long, with their fifes and drums, they were able to pick up only one recruit, who was under Mr˙ Robert' s influence. Though the principal Romanists in Cork and Limerick have formed associations and offered bounties to such recruits as shall list on this occasion, yet have they very little success; for though the heads of that communion are in the interest of Government, the lower class, who have not sagacity enough to make proper distinctions, are, to a man, attached to the Americans, and say plainly the Irish ought to follow their example. Even Lord Kenmare, who on this occasion took the lead, had his recruiting party severely beat in Tralee, and their drum broke to pieces. The


renowned Captain in harlequin, whose success in this Town last war has encouraged him to renew his antick tricks here, now finds himself with all his buffoonery sadly disappointed, and several of those he had trepanned have already deserted. Many of the draughts that are come here to fill up the Regiments ordered abroad, swear they will never draw a trigger against the Americans, among whom they have all relations; and most of the English and Irish soldiers that left this last April and May expressed so much repugnance to the service they were ordered on, that I am fully persuaded, if your Army was not shut up in Boston, it must suffer exceedingly by desertion.

But, though I write thus freely, I would have you very guarded, for all the letters from your side are opened; and yet there are many letters in this Town which give a most tragical account of your present situation. The carnage on Bunker' s Hill is to every humane breast shocking beyond expression.