16 December 1774655

    London Decr. 16. 1774

    My very dear friend,

    Permit me to congratulate my Countrymen on the integrity and wisdom with which the Congress have conducted. Their policy, spirit and union have confounded their foes and inspired their friends. All parties agree in giving them a tribute of honour and applause.

    I have this moment attended a desultory, despicable, because trifling, debate in the house of C_____ s, relative to America. My Lord North apologized for and endeavoured to explain away his expression “I will have America at my feet”.656 The important Questions relative to Our Common Cause will not be agitated till after the holidays are over.

    There is great talk and much hope and fear about you; and your friends seem to intend pressing a suspension for three years of all acts made since 1764 relative to the Colonies. Your staunch friends say “if they are unjust, repeal657; we then shall treat with you as friend. At all hazards recall your troops, for we will not treat with the sword at Our Breast.” Be the event as it may—continue true to yourselves, and the day is your own.

    If they only suspend don’t, for Heaven’s sake, think of relaxing your agreements, while you are treating. Beware of the act of negotiation. The ministry are all adept in them; at least they are skilled in the science of Corruption.

    By the way, there is no doubt, but the ministry sent large sums to New York in order to bribe your Continental Delegates. It was openly avowed and vindicated and great boast was made of ministerial success in this way with the Delegates from New York. It was said that they had affected a disunion, which would be fatal to the Cause of all America.

    You can’t well imagine the chagrin with which the ministry received the results of that glorious body. They are viewed as the Northern constellation of glorious worthies, illuminating and warming the new world.

    I feel a pride in being an American. Neither my affection or zeal is any degree abate in the cause of my injured country.

    I have just supped and spent the evening with a circle of about a dozen of the influential members of the House of Commons. But whether I see them in the House or out of it, they appear ——— not fit to represent the inhabitants of North America.

    I should be glad to be informed, whether, in case a suspension of the acts takes place, my friends would chuse my continuance on this side the Water. If they chuse me to be with them I will repair to my standard, when they shall command.

    Had the Congress made application to Ireland to join them in Congress in May next, it would [have] been a most capital stroke of policy. Your friends have intimated such an invitation as having actually been voted, and, the measure is now pursuing.658 It has had great effect. Few political finesses have alarmed more. The matter takes well: it properly affects friends and foes.

    The Watchmen remind me that it is morning, but the Lamp of my Affection burns as bright as ever; and towards you with a warmth that ever characterises


    Henry Ireton