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without form of trial; the women, after having seen their husbands and fathers murdered, were subjected to brutal vio lation, and then turned out naked, with their children, to starve on the barren heaths; one whole family was enclosed in a barn and consumed to ashes. Those ministers of vengeance were so alert in the execution of their office, that, in a few days, there was neither house, cottage, man, nor beast, to be seen in the compass of fifty miles.” Nor did their cruelty stop here: “Fifty officers (says our historian) were dragged in captivity to a strange country, denied the privilege of trial in the country where the act of treason was said to have been committed, and there, (far from their friends and connexions, and destitute of means to produce evidence in their favour, even if they had been innocent of the charge,) being found guilty, suffered an ignominious death.”

Having thus laid before you the proceedings of a cruel British Army, when conquering Rebels, let us apply it to ourselves. If conquered or subdued to submission, we have no better fate to expect, for, however just our cause may be, yet the herald of Majesty has proclaimed us Rebels;* and this Proclamation, however iniquitous it may appear in the sight of a just God, and the impartial publick, will be a sufficient salve for these ministers of vengeance, whose ears are shut against the cry of distress, in executing the orders of their tyrannical Sovereign; and whose hearts thirst for the blood of their fellow-creatures. They will not hesitate to destroy your defenceless towns: witness Charlestoion, Falmouth, Stonington, Bristol, and Norfolk. They will exert their utmost endeavours to lay waste your villages and cottages without distinction, where their arms may give them the victory. Those who may chance to fall into their hands as prisoners, must suffer a long and dismal confinement in their dark dungeons, loaded with irons, and denied the comforts and necessaries of life; transported in these caverns three thousand miles distance, and then further confined in their loathsome jails, to which death itself would be a happy alternative, but their cruelty and revenge forbids it. For a proof of this, turn your attention to the distress and sufferings of the brave, though unfortunate Allen. In a word, what is it their relentless fury would not accomplish? Neither the persons of your wives nor your daughters would be sacred, but would soon fall a prey to those ravagers, whose greatest glory is in the violation of virtue. Nor let those who submit foolishly hope to fare better. Lord Mansfield tells you, that the Rebels at Preston submitted on promise of pardon, and they pleaded it on their trials, but it availed them not; though he, in the same breath, assures the Parliament, that the commanding officer had full power to receive their submissions and grant pardons. Will submitters in America fare better?

From a retrospective view of these horrid cruelties, is there a man on the Continent who would wish to contribute to the success of so treacherous a scheme? I fear there are a few. Few indeed, I hope they are, and heartily pray they may never increase. Be cautious, then, ye political scribblers how ye make parties or divisions amongst us, for be assured, though we abhor to imitate those merciless mercenaries, yet, when provoked, the guilty shall feel the indignation of the people’s wrath, to the terror of those who may be alike wicked and corrupt.

Let the world know, that although we have thus suffered, yet we have not learnt to partake of their cruelty. Those whom chance of war have put into our hands, and whose lives are entirely at our mercy, are not otherwise confined than by parole; and such who refuse to give their parole, instead of being confined in dark dungeons, loaded with irons like the unhappy prisoners of Boston, inhabit the chambers of the best Inn this city affords; to whom also their friends and acquaintances have free access. Go on, then, my brethren and fellow-countrymen, to conquer, and treat with mercy the unfortunate; such acts are recorded in Heaven, the Ruler of which has most singularly espoused your cause.

To conclude: If Commissioners should come, whatever may be the change or appearance of things, persevere in unanimity; upon no pretence whatever (as ye regard success in the present contest) be divided; and ere many days have elapsed, or the infant you now fondly doat upon be arrived to manhood, Great Britain may know, and all the world experience, that the inhabitants of North-America are inspired with a noble zeal for liberty and independence; that though once cruelly used by our stepmother, who will then be enslaved by domestick tyranny, yet these Colonies are preserved as an asylum of true British liberty; that their greatest glory will be to give freedom to the enslaved; and that they will ever rejoice to see the virtuous sons of Britain partake of the sweets of a free American Constitution, which, I trust, will effectually and for ever be guarded against the attacks of every kind of despotism.



Philadelphia, April 20, 1776.

SIR: The polite attention which your goodness has induced you to pay to me and my private affairs, particularly while you were at Boston, makes me take the liberty of requesting you to spare your Aid-de-Camp a few days. If Mr. Palfrey could, consistent with the service, be permitted to pass two or three days with me in this city, on business of importance to me, I shall esteem it a particular favour. I would not, however, solicit his presence here, or even think of such a thing, if it cannot be done without prejudice or detriment to the publick good, or any inconvenience to you.

I am, sir, with the truest esteem, your most obedient and very humble servant,


To His Excellency General Washington.


Philadelphia, April 20, 1776.

SIR: Your several letters of the 24th and 27th of March, the 1st, 4th, and 15th instant, I had the honour of receiving in the order of their dates; by the last of which I learn with pleasure that you had safely arrived at New-York. The dispositions you made to expedite the embarcation of the troops were highly proper and judicious.

Too much despatch cannot be used in sending the battalion to Quebeck, as it frequently happens, in conducting such important affairs, that a week, a day, even an hour, proves decisive, and the greatest advantages are thereby either gained or lost forever.

The resolutions of Congress, as far as they relate to yourself, or those of your letters that have come under their consideration, I do myself the honour to transmit herewith, and am, sir, with every sentiment of esteem and regard, your most obedient and very humble servant,

JOHN HANCOCK, President.

To His Excellency General Washington, at New-York.


Philadelphia, April 20, 1776.

SIR: I do myself the honour of transmitting herewith the resolutions of Congress, under the hand of the Secretary, as far as they relate to your own conduct. You will perceive they have ordered four Battalions to Quebeck; and, by letter from General Washington, I understand they are preparing to march with the greatest expedition.

I expect, very soon, to do myself the pleasure of writing more fully. In the mean time I have the honour to be, with every sentiment of regard, yours, &c.,

JONN HANCOCK, President.

To General Schuyler, at Albany.


Philadelphia, April 20, 1776.

SIR: I have it in charge from Congress to direct your immediate attention to the enclosed resolve of Congress, for the purchase of two thousand barrels of pork, which, when purchased, or part thereof, you will forward in the most expeditious manner to General Schuyler, at Albany. As it is of great importance the Army in Canada should be well supplied, you will exert yourself to effect this purchase speedily. Whenever you send or draw for the money, your

*Nay, more, we are declared Rebels by Act of Parliament; which was not the case of the Scotch Rebels. This fully shows what we are to expect.

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