14 December 1774648

    London Decr. 14.1774.

    Dear, Dear friend649

    I have lately wrote you by the Packett two very long Letters and by some other ships three or four more, upon Politicks. I, therefore, shall not now resume the subject any further, than to say—Be true to yourselves.

    There is not a sensible man of either party here, but acknowledge your ability to save your country, if you have but union, courage and perseverance. But your enemies pretend to be sanguine, that your avarice of commercial riches will dissolve your union and mutual confidence; that your boasted courage is but vapor; and that your perseverance will be as the morning cloud. Let me tell you one very serious truth, in which we are all agreed: your countrymen must seal their cause with their blood.650 You know how often and how long ago I said this.651 I see every day more and more reason to confirm my opinion. I every day find characters, dignified by science, and station* of the same sentiment. Surely my countrymen will recollect the words I held to them this line this time twelvemonth. “It is not, Mr Moderator, the spirit, that vapors within these walls that must stand us in stead. The exertions of this day will call forth events which will make a very different spirit necessary for our salvation. Look to the end. Whoever supposes, that shouts and hosannas will terminate the trials of the day entertain a childish fancy; we must be grossly ignorant of the importance and value of the prize for which we contend; we must be equally [in] ignorance of the powers of those who have combined against us; we must be blind to that malice, inveteracy and insatiable revenge which actuate our enemies, public and private, abroad and in our bosom, to hope we shall end this controversy without the sharpest, the sharpest conflicts; to flatter ourselves that popular resolves, popular harangues, popular acclamations, and popular vapor will vanquish our foes. Let us consider the issue—let us look to the end—let us weigh and consider before we advance to those measures which must bring on the most trying and terrible struggle this country ever saw.”652

    Hundreds I beleive will call these words and many more of the same import, to remembrance; hundreds, who heretofore doubted, are long ere this convinced I was right.

    The popular sentiments of the day prevailed; they advanced with resolutions to hazard and abide the consequences. They must now stand the issue; they must persevere a consistency of character; they must not delay; they must __________ or be trodden down into the vilest vassalage, the scorn, the spurn of their enemies, a by-word of infamy among all men.

    In the sight of GOD and all just men, the cause is good. We have the wishes of the wise and humane, we have the prayers of the pious, and the universal benisons of all who seek to GOD for direction, aid and blessing. I own I feel for the miseries of my country; I own I feel much desire for the happiness of my Bretheren in trouble. But why should I disguise: I feel, ineffably for the honour—the honour I repeat it—the honour of my country. Need I explain myself further? When you shall act agreable to your past ostentations, when you have shown that you are, what Englishmen once were, whether successfull or not, your foes will diminish, your friends amazingly encrease and you will be happy in the peacefull enjoyment of your inheritance; or at least your enemies will in some measure stay their intemperate fury from a reverence of your virtue, and a fear of reanimating your courage. But if in the trial, you prove (as your enemies say) arrant poltroons and cowards, how ineffably contemptible will you appear; how wantonly and superlatively will you be abused and insulted by your triumphing oppressors!

    Will you believe it? I took up my pen with a design only of saying, that the mail for the December Packett was staid from Wednesday to Saturday for no apparent reason, because Parliament had not the Affairs of America under consideration. Therefore it is generally beleived, that it was to inspect all letters. If so, two of mine, very long, are in the hands of the ministry. They were inclosed to Benjamin Clarke, and Nathaniel Appleton &c. Another went sometime before inclosed to Mr. Mason. I sent a long letter from Mr. Bollan to Mr. Bowdoin to William Dennie.653

    I have received your Letter of the 17th of October and your worthy Papa’s of the same date. Write me word what letters you from time to time receive. Lord North has, I hear, given out that I have my price. Tell my father that Dr. Franklin is my great friend and daily companion. Tell your dear parents that they have my gratitude and warmest thanks.

    Adieu, Henry Ireton

    *By the way, Lord _____ said to me yesterday: “It is idle, ‘tis idle Mr (Ireton) this country will never carry on a civil war against America: we cannot. But the ministry hope to carry all by a single stroke.” I should be glad to name the Lord, but think it not best.654

    PostPS. I am in health and spirits.