20 August 1774517

    Boston Augt. 20th 1774

    Much respected and Dear Sir

    Your cordial approval of my poor work communicates a happiness surpassed only by your kind invitation of me into your Circle of Friends. Believe me, Sir, that I recollect no feeling which would give me more solid heartfelt satisfaction, than being considered by you an honest friend, unless I except a consciousness of deserving that rank and confidence.

    Your sentiments relative that “Colony which shall advance too hastily before the rest, contrary to the maxims of discipline” &c. are no doubt just.518 Yet, permit me, Sir, to use a freedom, which your partiality seems to invite, and observe: That those maxims of discipline are not universally known in this early period of Continental warfare; and are with great difficulty practiced by a people under the scourge of public Oppression. When time shall have taught wisdom, and past experience have fixed Boundaries to the movement of a single Colony, its intemperate and over-hasty strides will be more unpaid. But, if we should unfortunately see one Colony under a treble pressure of public oppression, rendered impatient by the refinements, delays, and experiments of the Philadelphians, of their less oppressed and therefore more deliberate Brethren: I say, if a Colony thus insulted, galled from without and vexed within, should seem to advance and break the line of opposition, ought it to incur the heavy sense of “betraying the Common Cause”? Though not to be just, may not its fault be considered as venial?

    Believe me, Dear Sir, you know not all of our patriotic trials in this Province. Corruption (which delay gives time to operate) is the Destroying angel, we have most to fear. Our enemies wish for nothing so much as our tampering with the fatal disease. I fear much that timid or lukewarm Councils will be considered by Our Congress as prudent and politic: such Councils, will inevitably enslave Us. We subjugated—how rapid and certain the fall of the Rest? Excuse my freedom of telling what I dread, though seeming to differ from those I honor and revere.

    We are at this time calm and temperate; and partiality to my Countrymen aside, I question whether any antient or modern State can give an instance of a whole people so severely suffering with such dignity, fortitude and true spirit. Our very enemies are dismayed, and though they affect to sneer at our Enthusiasm, yet they so far catch the noble infirmity, as to give an involuntary applause.

    I see no reason to apprehend our advancing before our Brethren, unless the plans they should adopt should very avidly be too languid and spiritless to give any rational hopes of safety to Us in our adherence to them. Sobrius esto is our present motto.519

    At the urgent solicitation of great number of warm friends to my Country and me, I have agreed to relinquish business and embark for London—and shall sail in 18 days certain. I am flattered by those, who perhaps place too great a confidence in me, that I may do some good the ensuing winter at the Court of Great Britain. Hence I have taken this unexpected resolution. My design is to be kept as long secret as possible, I hope till I get to Europe. Should it transpire, that I was going Home, our public enemies here would be indefatigable and persevering to my injury, as they have been to the Cause in which I am engaged heart and hand; perhaps more so, as personal pique would be added to public malevolence.

    I would sollicit earnestly intelligence from you, Sir, while in our Modern Babylon.520 I shall endeavour to procure the earliest information from all parts of that Country, as I propose dedicating myself wholly to the service of my Country. I shall stand in need of the aid of every friend to America; and believe me, when I say, that I esteem no one more capable of affording me aid, than those who inhabit the fertile banks of the Delaware.

    If you can lead me to any channel of doing real service to the Common Cause, I flatter myself you are not disinclined; and though it should never be in my power to cancel the Obligation, it will ever be my study to remember it.

    I am &c.