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three millions of dollars; the Convention of this Colony three hundred and fifty thousand pounds; and all the other Colonies together, at least one million and fifty thousand pounds. To bring these different estimates together into one sum:
Almost eight millions of pounds, or considerably above twenty millions of dollars, Continental currency. And in this reckoning I have not mentioned the whole estates of the proprietors of Boston and other towns, that will, probably, be forever lost to their right owners; nor the expenses attending the removal of the inhabitants of this and other Colonies near the sea-coasts and harbours into the remoter parts of the country; and all the other computations are made with the greatest moderationlower by far than our real loss: so that the whole may be reckoned at twenty-four millions of dollars, the best common standard of reckoning for the whole Continent. What a prodigious sum for the United States of America to give up for the sake of a peace, that, very probably, itself would be one of the greatest misfortunes! For the Government of Britain, ashamed to be baffled in their favourite project, would, doubtless, employ all the wicked arts of policy, of bribery, corruption, places, and pensions, in which they are well skilledunhappy arts that have already brought that nation to the brink of ruinthat they might steal from us, too, what they were unable to wrest by open violence. Who, with the spirit of a man, that is able to level a gun, will submit to such a mortifying degradation, and to a loss of a very large proportion of all the property in the country?
The state of the controversy is very different now from what it was a few years ago, before we had taken arms in our own defence, and before the whole course of Government was removed out of its usual channel. And measures that might have been wise and prudent then, would now carry on their face the most glaring impropriety. I trust in God, that the guardians of the publick interests of the Continent will have wisdom and integrity enough not to betray us. But, relying on their virtue as much as it deserves, it will be a useful expedient to keep alive the flame of liberty and publick spirit among the people at large, never to neglect the exercise of the undoubted prerogative of freemen to instruct their Representatives; and every wise and honest man among them will take a pleasure in hearing the opinion and advice of his countrymen. It will give them confidence and alacrity in planning wise and decisive measures, when they know they are also the voice of the publick, and when they hear you engaging to support them, in the execution of them, with your lives and fortunes. Instruct your Representatives, therefore, to agree to no peace, or even truce, with Great Britain, without an entire reimbursement of all losses, and the absolute and unconditional repeal of all the acts of the British Parliament injurious to the legislation or commerce of America, as well before as since the year 1763; or, if their poverty or their pride will not comply with the first of these conditions, till they acknowledge us to be a free and independent Republick. Many to whom this language is new, may, at first, be startled at the name of an independent Republick, and be ready to represent to themselves that the expenses of maintaining a long and important war will exceed the disadvantages of submitting to some partial and mutilated accommodation. But let these persons point out to you any other alternative than independence or submission. For it is impossible for us to make any other concessions without yielding to the whole of their demands. We have not armed from one end of the Continent to the other, and expended so many millions, merely to drown a chest of tea, but to oppose the dangerous authority the English House of Representatives has usurped, pretending a right to bind us in all cases whatever; which, if we admit, either in whole or in part, immediately draws after it an endless train of miseries. Shall we, then, after reluctating so effectually against this yoke of oppression, be contented now, almost in the midst of our success, to receive it entire on our necks, rather than separate from a country to which we have so long been supposed to be in a state of subjection, when we ought only to have been considered in a state of alliance? For this must be the necessary effect of an accommodation on any other principles than those I have laid down. Their proposition is so invidious that every single part involves in it every other. And if we think to swallow any of them with safety, we shall only be undeceived by being fairly and effectually choked by the whole group. Where is the wisdom of this squeamishness about independence pretended by the Assembly of Pennsylvania, or by any other Assembly or Convention on the Continent? There appears to be moderation in it, indeed; but it is the moderation of a Spaniel dog, that grows more tame in proportion to the ill usage he receives. And for the expenses we are likely to incur by the war, what proportion will they bear to the enormous sums that will be necessary to gratify half a million of starving villains, who cannot be provided with pensions enough in England, Scotland, and Ireland, to glut their voracity? What proportion will they bear to the enormous sums that will be expended to enable some of the meanest wretches of the species among ourselves, to roll in state over all the cultivated lands in the country; to impose new quit-rents; to ransack land offices; to annul patents and grants of lands; to apply immense quantities to their own use; and to exact exorbitant fees for permitting the proper owners to enjoy the rest? What if we should be obliged to encumber ourselves with double the load of our present expenses? A few years of free and universal trade would enable us to redeem it all; as well as the losses we have sustained, or are likely to sustain by their piracies, robberies, thefts, plunders, assassinations, or murders.
The proof of this shall be the subject of another paper.
GENERAL LEE TO PRESIDENT OF CONGRESS.
[Read April 18, 1776, and referred to Mr. Reed, Mr. Clinton, and Mr. Braxton.]
Williamsburgh, April 6, 1776.
SIR: As the curtain is now, in a great measure, drawn up, by the happy interception of the letters from the Secretary of State to Governour Eden, which will be transmitted to the Congress by the Committee of Safety from this place, you will perceive, sir, that we, of all Provinces, should not be deficient in the important article of powder. I submit it, therefore, to your prudence, whether it will not be necessary immediately to add a few tons to our present stock. I find myself a good deal distressed for artillerymen and officers. I apprehend General Washington could now, without inconvenience, spare us a company from the main Army. The Regiments are here complete in numbers, the men fine, and the officers, by all I can learn, good, but horribly deficient in arms, shoes, and blankets. The deficiency of arms, I know, is general, therefore I shall not venture to apply for them; but if blankets could possibly be procured, a multitude of lives would be saved, for the night dews in this country are very destructive. The want of gun-carriages prevents my taking a certain post, the possession of which would be, in my opinion, worth a victory, in all its forms. I have ordered the artificers to work night and day, and hope it may not be too late. When I have given the instructions, and taken the measures which I think necessary for the security of this place and York, which, most probably, will be the enemys object, I shall set out for North-Carolina, which, we have reason to think, will be the first scene of their diabolical operations. You will excuse, sir, the blots and shortness of this letter, as the express waits.
I am, sir, with the greatest respect, your most obedient, humble servant,
To His Excellency John Hancock, Esq., President of the Continental Congress.
GENERAL LEE TO SAMUEL PURVIANCE.
Williamsburgh, April 6, 1776.
DEAR SIR: I know not to whom I can address this most important note with so much propriety and assurance of success, as to yourself. The crisis will not admit of ceremony and procrastination. I shall, therefore, irregularly address