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Extract of a Letter from Thomson Mason


As the letter here alluded to was published many years ago, like this, in a newspaper, and in all human probability, hath been long consigned to oblivion, it may not be amiss to give the following extract from it:

"If Great Britain should ever determine to enclave America, it is more than probable that she would have more difficulties to encounter than she at present apprehends. Suppose the Americans, alarmed at the approaching danger, should discreetly determine to retreat to a considerable distance from navigation, and carry off their provisions and live stock of very kind with them, would troops who had been confined to a close ship, upon salt provisions, for near three months; without fresh provisions; without horses to draw their artillery, be in a very proper condition to pursue them? If they did, Would not the scurvy, the unwholesomeness of the climate, and the many disorders incident to America, which attack the Europeans with double force upon their first arrival, render the success of such an expedition impracticable, and enable the Americans to preserve their liberty, without imbruing their hands in blood? Is it reasonable to suppose that three millions of British subjects would tamely submit to slavery, without striking a single blow? Would not their knowledge of the country enable them to attack with advantage? Would not the consideration, that they were fighting pro aris et focis, add enthusiasm to their courage? Inured to the climate, and well supplied with provisions, would not they be better able to undergo the fatigues of such a war, than their invaders? If the British troops, with all the assistance and supplies, of necessary refreshments which they received from their American friends last war, thought an American campaign the severest they had ever experienced, what must such a campaign be without such assistance and supplies? Could Great Britain spare even 50,000 men, to reduce a people actuated with sentiments of liberty, and possessed of British freedom, of twenty times their number, would those troops engage with alacrity in such a cause? Would not some murmurings of humanity whisper to their consciences that they were butchering their fellow-subjects for showing themselves worthy of the race from whence they sprung, and for acting the same laudable part which they themselves would do under a like oppression? When the sluices of their trade were stopped, and all communication with her Colonies broke off, could she long support the expense of such an armament? Is she well assured that the other Powers of Europe would stand idle, and calmly see her trampling upon the rights of mankind? Would not the generous design of preventing so execrable a purpose, furnish them with a just pretext for interposing in support of the injured rights of the Colonies? And might not Britain, whilst she was endeavouring to enforce slavery with fire and sword, in America, fall an easy prey to the first invader, and thus involve herself in the ruin she designed for others? But suppose Britain was able to crush America with the smallest exertion of her force, and to extirpate its present inhabitants, without losing the life of a single man sent against it, would such a conquest redound, either to her honour or advantage? Would not the life of every American spent upon such an occasion, be really a loss to Britain, by lessening the export of her manufactures, and the import of rough materials, which furnish her with the means of extending her trade to every corner of the Globe? What mighty advantage would she reap from an uncultivated desert? Would it be easy for her to persuade her other subjects to supply the place of the slaughtered, with such an example of the perfidy, cruelty, and ingratitude of their mother country before their eyes? Does she think that the extirpation of liberty would be a spur to industry, or that slavery has such charms as to contribute to the increase of the Colonies? Should the Northern endeavour to deprive the Western counties, of England of their rights, and a civil war ensue, would the conflict be advantageous even to the conquero rs? These are considerations which mus t and will have weight with the British Parliament, and restrain them from entering into a war with the Colonies."