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order to give our hearty support to whatever means , may be left for alleviating the complicated evils, which oppress this Nation.
If this should not happen, we have discharged our consciences by this faithful representation to your Majesty and our Country; and, however few in number, or however we may be overborne by: practices, whose operation is but too powerful, by the revival of dangerous exploded principles, or by the misguided zeal of such arbitrary factions, as formerly prevailed in this Kingdom, and always to its detriment and disgrace, we have the satisfaction of standing forth and recording our names in assertion of those principles, whose operation hath, in better times, made your Majesty a great Prince, and the British Dominions a mighty. Empire,
BRITISH COLONISTS IN NORTH AMERICA.
THE very dangerous crisis, into which the
British Empire is brought, as it accounts for, so it justifies, the unusual step we take in addressing ourselves to you.
The distempers of the State are grown to such a degree of violence and malignity as to render all ordinary remedies vain and frivolous. In such a deplorable situation, an adherence to the common forms of business appears to us rather as an apology to cover a supine neglect of duty, than the means of performing it in a manner adequate to the exigency, that presses upon us.
The common means we have already tried, and tried to no purpose.
As our last resource, we turn ourselves to you. We address you merely in our private capacity; vested with no other authority than what will naturally attend those, in whose declarations of benevolence you have no reason to apprehend any mixture of dissimulation or design.
We have this title to your attention : we call upon it in a moment of the utmost importance to us all. We find, with infinite concern, that argu
ments are used to persuade you of the necessity of separating yourselves from your ancient connexion with your parent Country, grounded on a supposition, that a general principle of alienation and enmity to you had pervaded the whole of this Kingdom; and that there does no longer subsist between you and us any common and kindred principles, upon which we can possibly unite, consistently with those ideas of Liberty, in which you have justly placed your whole happiness.
If this fact were true, the inference drawn from it would be irresistible. But nothing is less founded. We admit, indeed, that violent addresses have been procured, with uncommon pains, by wicked and designing men, purporting to be the genuine voice of the whole people of England; that they have been published by authority here; and made known to you by proclamations; in order, by despair and resentment, incurably to poison your minds against the origin of your race, and to render all cordial reconciliation between us utterly impracticable. The same wicked men, for the same bad purposes, have so far surprised the justice of Parliament, as to cut off all communication betwixt us, except what is to go in their own fallacious and hostile channel.
But we conjure you, by the invaluable pledges, which have hitherto united, and which we trust will hereafter lastingly unite, us, that you do not suffer
yourselves yourselves to be persuaded, or provoked, into an opinion, that you are at war with this Nation. Do not think, that the whole, or even the uninfluenced majority of Englishmen in this Island are enemies to their own blood on the American Continent. Much delusion has been practised; much corrupt influence treacherously employed. But still a large, and we trust the largest and soundest, part of this Kingdom perseveres in the most perfect unity of sentiments, principles and affections, with you. It spreads out a large and liberal platform of common Liberty, upon which we pay all unite for ever. It abhors the hostilities, which have been carried on against you, as much as you, who feel the cruel effect of them. It has disclaimed, in the most solemn manner, at the foot of the Throne itself, the addresses, which tended to irritate your Sovereign against his Colonies. We are persuaded, that even many of those, who unadvisedly have put their hands to such intemperate and inflammatory addresses, have not at all apprehended to what such proceedings naturally lead; and would sooner die, than afford them the least countenance, if they were sensible of their fatal effects on the Union and Liberty of the Empire.
For ourselves, we faithfully assure you, . that we have ever considered you as rational creatures ; as free agents; as men willing to pursue, and able to discern, your own true interest: We have wished
to continue united with you, in order that a people of one origin and one character should be directed to the rational objects of Government by joint Counsels, and protected in them by a common force.: Other subordination in you we require none. We have never pressed that argument of general union to the extinction of your local, natural, and just privileges. Sensible of what is due both to the dignity and weakness of Man, we have never wished to place over you any Government, over which, in great fundamental points, you should have no sort of check or control in your own hands; or which should be repugnant to your situation, principles, and character.
No circumstances of fortune, you may be assured, will ever induce us to form, or tolerate, any such design. If the disposition of Providence (which we deprecate) should even prostrate you at our feet, broken in power and in spirit, it would be our duty and inclination to revive, by every practi'cable means, that free energy of mind, which a fortune unsuitable to your virtue had damped and dejected; and to put you voluntarily in possession of those very privileges, which you had in vain attempted to assert by arms. For we solemnly declare, that although we should look upon a separațion from you as an heavy calamity, (and the heavier because we know you must have your full share in it) yet we had much rather see you totally inde