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in America. These injuries are, indeed, brought upon them by the administration, who usurp the authority, which they pretend to derive from the people; but, from the distance between us and our American brethren, and the false evidence transmitted from one to the other, I greatly fear that national resentments will become indiscriminate. It is inseparable from human nature, that the mind, under any grievous suffering, especially injury, will be distracted and broken from its nearest connexions, which may happen to be but accidentally involved. The affection of states to each other consists of the combination of personal affections, parentage, and intercourse. When blood is shed, and the parent weeps for his son, the widow for her husband, brother for brother, an inextinguishable resentment arises. Those unfortunates, who have lost their relatives and friends, become furious; and in those, who have them yet to lose, horrors and fears take place of and drive out affection; the bonds of attachment are let loose, and all the tumultuous passions are set afloat .
I know, that you are as sensible of these consequences as any one can be. You have foreseen them afar off. You have predicted them; you have done every thing in your power to soften animosities, and to put off the evil day. I hope still, that you will not despair. Your age, experience, character, humanity, and example of moderation in disregarding those injuries and insults, which have been offered to yourself, give you the best title to plead with your countrymen to suspend their resentments, to discriminate those who have not injured them, and to remember the ties of affection between themselves and their fellow subjects in England. I see the influence of your counsels in the Congress. I see the distinction clearly made between the ministry and the people of England; but I fear that, at the same time, the seeds of jealousy are struggling to break out.
The address from the Congress to the Assembly of Jamaica speaks of the people of England as dissipated and corrupt. The people of England are far otherwise. They are just and generous; and, if it were put to the sense of the people of England, you would not be left in any doubt whether it was want of will, or want of power, to do you justice. You know the blot of our constitution, by which, to our disgrace, and to your misfortune, a corrupt ministry, sheltered by Parliamentary influence, are out of our immediate control. A day of account may come, when the justice of the nation may prevail; and, if it comes not too late, it may prove a day of reconciliation and cordial reunion between us and America. The trial is with you, to suspend your resentments from becoming indiscriminate; and a great trial it is. I cannot tell you what efforts the ministry have" in their purpose to try. I am amazed at their headstrong hardiness to proceed in an undertaking, which gives them so little prospect of success.
Many of your best friends in England regret, that the Congress has not made some specific and definite proposition, upon which the sense of the people of England might have been consulted. A people at large cannot enter into historical details, especially when facts are so studiously confounded and misrepresented, but still they could judge of a simple proposition. If any such had been made, I think it would have been the most likely method to captivate the good will of the nation. While the propositions of the Congress are general and indefinite, the ministry treat them as general words, meaning little or nothing in fact . But,
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I think, the further prosecution of hostile measures could not be supported by the ministry, if they were to refuse any definite and equitable offer of accommodation, made on the part of America. If it be possible, let the two countries be once more reunited in affection. It is not simply peace that we ought to strive for, but reconciliation, which is more than peace. We may have peace with foreign states, but it must be reconciliation alone that can reunite us as one people. However forlorn the prospect may be, let not the common friends slacken their endeavours. Constancy is our only hope. All is lost, if we despair. I am, dear Sir, with the greatest regard and esteem, affectionately yours, G. B.
TO PHILIP SCHPYLER.* •
Commissioners appointed by Congress to go to
Philadelphia, 11 March, 1776.
Sir, The Congress have appointed three Commissioners to go to Canada, of which number I have the honor to be one.f We purpose setting out some day this week. I take the liberty of mentioning this, as, possibly, a little previous notice may enable you more easily to make any preparation you shall judge necessary to facilitate and expedite our journey, which, I am sure, you will be kindly disposed to do for us. A friend with us will make our company four, besides our servants. We shall either go in carriages directly to Albany, or by water, if the river is open, from New York. Hoping soon for the pleasure of seeing you, I now only add, that I am, with the sincerest respect and esteem, Sir, &.c.
• General Schuyler had at this time the command of the northern department, and of the army operating in Canada.
f The other commissioners were Samuel Chase and Charles Carroll. They were appointed on the 15th of February. To these were joined the Reverend John Carroll, a Catholic clergyman, afterwards Archbishop of Baltimore. He was not officially one of the Commissioners, but was requested to accompany them, it being supposed, that, from his religious sentiments, character, and knowledge of the French language, his presence and counsels might be useful in promoting the objects of the mission with the Canadians. An American army was at that time in Canada, under the command of General Wooster, who was shortly after succeeded by General Thomas. The Commissioners were furnished with full instructions, and with the following commission, which was signed by the President of Congress.
P. S. The bearer, M. La Jeunesse, has been considered by the Congress as a friend to the American cause, and he is recommended to your protection on his return to Canada.
"We, reposing special trust and confidence in your zeal, fidelity, abilities, and assiduity, do, by these presents, constitute and appoint you, or any two of you, Commissioners for and on behalf of us, and all the people of the United Colonies, whom we represent, to promote or form a union between the said colonies and the people of Canada, according to the instructions herewith delivered to you, and such a3 you may hereafter receive; and to execute all such matters and things as you are or shall be directed by your said instructions; and we do require all officers, soldiers, and others, who may facilitate your negotiation, or promote the success thereof, to aid and assist you therein; and you are, from time to time, to transmit and report your proceedings to Congress. This commission to continue in force till revoked by this or a future Congress." — Journals, March tiQth, 1776.
TO LORD STIRLING.*
Journey to Canada.
Brunswic, 27 March, 1776.
My Dear Lord, I received your obliging letter some days since at Philadelphia; but, our departure from thence being uncertain, I could not till now acquaint your Lordship when we expected to be at New York. We move but slowly, and I think we shall scarce reach Newark before to-morrow, so that we cannot have the pleasure of seeing you before Friday. Being myself, from long absence, as much a stranger in New York as the other gentlemen, we join in requesting you would be so good as to cause lodgings to be provided for us, and a sloop engaged to carry us to Albany. There are five of us, and we propose staying:up* New York two nights at least. With great and sincere esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, &c.
TO JOSIAH QTJINCY.
Journey to Canada. — Proceedings of Congress.
Saratoga, 15 April, 1776.
I am here on my way to Canada, detained by the
present state of the Lakes, in which the unthawed ice
obstructs navigation. I begin to apprehend that I have
undertaken a fatigue, that, at my time of life, may prove
* Brigadier General in the American army, and stationed at New York, where, for a short time, he had the chief command after the departure of General Lee. See Washington's Writings, Vol. III. p. 318.