28 October 1774540

    Fairhill Octr. 28th 1774

    My dear Sir,

    I should have answered your last Letter before You left Boston. I had not imagined from what You said in it, that You must have sailed before it could have reached that Place.

    I now congratulate You on the hearty Union of all America from Nova Scotia to Georgia in the Common Cause. The particulars, You are, no Doubt, acquainted with. The Congress broke up the Day before Yesterday; and if it be possible, the Return of the Members into their several Countries, will make the People still more firm. The most peaceable provinces, are now animated, and a Civil War is unavoidable, unless there be a quick Change of British Measures. The usual Events, no Question, will take place, if that happens—Victories and Defeats. But what will be the final consequence? If she fails, immediate Distress, if not Ruin. If she conquers, Destruction at last. But from the best Judgment I can form, she will not wait long for her fate. Several European Powers, it is probable, will fall on, as soon as she is entangled with Us. If they should not, what can she affect at 3000 Miles Distance against at least four hundred thousand freemen, fighting pro aris et focis?541

    I cannot but pity a brave and generous Nation thus plunged in Misfortune by a few worthless persons: but, it may be said, how can she retreat with Dignity, in the present position of Affairs? I answer, her Dignity is not at all concerned, unless it be, to punish those who have abused and betrayed her into Measures inconsistent with her Welfare. Is a Nation bound in Honor to support every mad or villainous Step of a Ministry? It is mean to persist in Errors because We have committed them; but what is to be said of those, who talk of asserting their own Dignity, by vindicating the errors of others?

    The present Cause, is that of Bute, Mansfield, North, Bernard, Hutchinson and not of Great Britain. Let her renounce their detestable projects, which point at her as their ultimate Object, and reconcile herself to her Children, while their Minds are capable of Reconciliation. “Oh for a warning voice,”542 to rouse them to Conviction of this important truth that—the Reconciliation depends on the passing Moments—and that the Opportunity will in a short time be as irrecoverably past as the Days beyond the flood. Every thing may yet be attributed to the Misrepresentations and Mistakes of Ministers, and universal Peace be established throughout the British World, only by a general Acknowledgment of this Truth, that—half a dozen Men are Fools or Knaves. If their Character for Ability and Integrity is to be maintained by wrecking the whole Empire, Monsr. Voltaire may write an addition to the Chapter on the Subject of little things producing great Events, that will be very entertaining to Readers.543

    As to your Complaint against an Expression in a late Letter, know, Dear Sir, I wrote in agonies of Mind for my Brethren in Boston. I trembled, least something might have happened, which I could not only forgive but applaud, but which might have been eagerly and basely seized by others, as a Pretence for deserting them—This was the desire of Men in Philadelphia the most devoted to them—and under this apprehension, We agreed to make use of the strongest Expressions.

    May the Father of Mercies, bestow every Blessing upon You, is the fervent Prayer of, my dear Sir, your faithful and affectionate Friend

    John Dickinson