11 May 1775735

    Braintree May 11th 1775

    My dear Brother,

    I write this, in hopes to put it in to my father’s letter, which he has just written. If it should reach you it may serve to convince you, that I have not forgotten that you are my only brother. He must judge what I feel, when I tell him, that I fear I shall never see him again. Our two departed brothers died upon the seas: you will perhaps say your body is sound, it may be so, but the sick in mind call for more than Esculapian aid.

    If anything could surprise me now, the hearing of your going home would, but of late everything that is marvellous and strange is to be expected. I have not time to enlarge upon the complicated distresses of our Country, of families, or of individuals, but shall briefly say, that all our connexions have experienced such a series of melancholy events, as are not to be paralleled. We my brother, I hope can sympathize in sorrowing for the loss of a brother, whose character was as far as any man’s of his age ever was, unimpeachable. In his labours for the salvation of his Country he was indefatigable. His death I hope will prove a warning to others, not to pursue too eagerly any point. nature kept upon the stretch will give way. He did not sufficiently consider the tenderness of his frame, and it may truly be said he fell a Martyr in the cause of Liberty.

    In the Monody on our eldest brother I find the following lines. They may with equal propriety be applied to the younger

    “That heart which late inflamed with patriot zeal

    Braved the bold insults of its Country’s foe,

    No more it’s pious frenzy can reveal

    Nor e’er in Freedom’s cause again shall glow.”736

    Let it not be told in America, and let it not be published in Great Britain, that a brother of such brothers fled from his Country the wife of his youth, the children of his affection, and from his aged sire, already bowed down with the loss of two sons, and by that of many more dear, though not as near connexions, to secure himself from the reproaches of his injured countrymen. To cover such a retreat obliged to enlist as a sycophant under an obnoxious Hutchinson, who is a tool under a cruel North. And by them to be veered about, and at last to be blown aside with a cool—“tomorrow Sir”: “Refusal, canst thou wear a smoother form.”737 My blood chills at the thought of the meanness of a seeker, and flames with indignation at such treatment from those in power.

    Arouse from your lethargy—let reason take the helm: disregard all greatness, but greatness of soul: then the little trappings that royalty can confer will lose their lustre, that false lustre which I fear inclines you to the prerogative side.

    Spare me, and do not call what I have written impertinent, but ascribe it to the anxiety of a sister really distressed for thee. I behold you leaving your Country a land flowing with milk and honey: and in which as yet iniquity of all kinds is punished, and its Religion as yet free from idolatry: (how long it will continue so God only knows, we have reason to fear a depredation on our religious system next) for a Country where evil works are committed with impunity. Can you expect there to walk uprightly? Can you take fire into your bosom, and not be burned?

    I take a long farewell and wish you success in every laudable undertaking.

    Your affectionate sister

    H[annah] Lincoln