7 January 1775684

    Bristol Jany 7th 1775

    My very dear friend,

    The holydays have been improved by me in visiting Bath, Bristol and some manufacturing towns in the vicinity.

    Did Americans realize their commercial powers, spirit and obstinacy would characterise their future measures. Had the Non-exportation agreement been appointed to commence on the first of March, Britain would e’re this time been in popular convulsions. This is the sentiment even of Adversaries.

    The manufacturing towns are now in motion, and petitions to Parliament to repeal the late acts on commercial principles will flow from all quarters. London is setting the example, and this city and other manufacturing towns are preparing to follow the example.

    The commonality of this kingdom are grossly ignorant. The tools of the ministry (for their reward) are incessantly retailing the same stale falsehoods and the same weak reasonings every day. The consequences are easily conceived.

    The people of this country must be made to feel the importance of their American bretheren. If the Colonies have one spark of virtue, in less than a twelve month, Britain must feel at every nerve. Believe me, the commonality of America are statesmen, philosophers and heroes compared with the many of G[reat] Britain. With the former you may reason: the latter you must drive. I have endeavoured to study the character of both countries; this sometimes is the result of my observations.

    I have lately read divers Letters from several inland manufacturers to their mercantile correspondents; and I find that the Address to the People of their country hath wrought, and is still working wonders.685

    Oh my dear friend! Reach hither thy hand and feel how my heart beats in the cause of my Country: their safety, their honor, their all is at stake. I see America placed in that great tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood leads on to fortune. Oh snatch the glorious opportunity! Or for “a warning voice” our lives are bound in vassalage and miseries.

    The ministry I am well satisfied are quite undetermined, as to the course they must take with regard to America. They will put off the final resolution to the last moment. I know not, and any further than mere humanity dictates I care not, what part they take. If my own Countrymen deserve to be free, they will be free. If born free, they are contented to be slaves, e’en let them bear their burdens.

    You must know, that I am a perfect Infidel in matters of mercantile virtue. It will not, therefore, be sufficient when we fund a commercial apostate to mouth “perdition catch the villain.”686 The Patience, the lenity, the humanity, of Americans towards public conspirators and public traitors hath been the source of infinite mischief.

    From this circumstance our friends have become despondent, and our foes have taken courage.

    I have a thousand things to say, which I would wish to “speak without a Tongue, and be heard without ears.”687 For this reason, therefore, if the three Acts relative to the Massachusetts bay are not repealed, I intend to be in Philadelphia in May next.

    I am sure, if you knew all that I could tell you, it would strengthen your hand and inspire your hearts.

    I have this day wrote very similar sentiments to my friend, Mr. Dickinson, at Philadelphia. You will perceive part of this letter copied, by my friend Williams, from mine to that great and good man. We are both now writing in the midst of a Coffee house, surrounded with the intolerable rackett of Dice boxes and the noise of party-cabal.

    If, therefore, you make public any part of this letter, print that which relates to the cause of my transcribing part of my letter to Mr Dickinson, which will carry an apology to that gentleman, who may otherwise be displeased at seeing the same sentiment to different persons.

    Last Tuesday and Wednesday I spent with Lord Shelburne at his magnificent seat at Bowood. His politeness would have prevailed with me to have stayed a few days longer, if my other engagements had permitted that indulgence.

    Once since I arrived I spit a small quantity of blood, owing to some exertions of my lungs that brought on that old disorder. Since that time, I have had no symptoms of it; and, at this time, and indeed ever since I have been in Britain, I never enjoyed greater health and spirits. This climate undoubtedly agrees with me much better than my own: neither colds nor fevers have molested me since sojourning in this land of my fathers.

    Capt Caldwell, who engages to deliver this with his own hand, calls upon me to finish.

    Adieu! The blessings of my heart rest upon You.


    You may show my Letters (in general) to our friend Samuel Adams