|You are here: Home >> American Archives|
ought to be driven from us; and, in fact, that little else but war, destruction, and bloodshed, are now before us. What man in America who professes Christianity, or has any feelings of humanity, but must shudder at such a prospect, which, if there was no other, would be a prospect of evils that language cannot describe a hideous group of ills which singly shock.
But thanks be to Heaven, there are great numbers who have different views; who think they have reason still to hope for better things from that people, with whom in former times to be connected was their honour and their joy. Shall an American dare to express a sentiment of this sort at this time? I feel it to be a truth, and I cannot but see (through the whole of the present dreadful conflict) some traces of that nobility of sentiment and action which were formerly characteristick of the British Nation. Where are these to be found? may some say. Have they not invaded our territories with an armed force? Have they not destroyed our property in many instances, and shown a cruel disposition to an attack upon our essential rights? Granted. But have they not also shown a desire for reconciliation? And is there not a probability of overtures from them for this noble purpose, on terms constitutional and honourable to both countries? I answer in the affirmative, and shall endeavour to prove the assertion from authentick records.
The Address of the House of Lords, presented the 27th of October last, is concluded with this positive assurance of their desires, viz: We feel no other wish than to re-establish order and tranquillity through the several parts of your dominions, upon the basis of a close connection with, and constitutional dependance upon Great Britain.
The Kings answer to the House of Commons concludes with an earnest wish to attain the most desirable end of restoring his subjects in America to the free and happy condition, and to the peace and prosperity which they enjoyed in their constitutional dependance, before the breaking out of these unhappy disorders.
In a pamphlet published in England a considerable time since, (and which was said to be written under the eyes of the Ministry,) I find some lively sentiments, expressive of a perfect anxiety for a restoration of that harmony which formerly subsisted between the two countries; and this to be established on the principles of mutual dependance, the natural effect of common interest and happiness. They even pray for some great and liberal commercial arrangement, which may remain a monument to future ages, that though there was once, there was but once, a quarrel between Great Britain and her Colonies.
As to the sentiments of great numbers of the people of England at large, they may be seen by the numerous addresses that have been presented to the Throne, which clearly and fully show that one of the first objects of their wishes is, a return of peace and cordial union with their American fellow-subjects.
The late remarkable event of the British troops evacuating Boston, with the circumstances attending it, might be adduced to corroborate the opinion I have given. I felicitate the rightful inhabitants on this joyful occasion. I sympathized with them in their distress; I cheerfully contributed to the relief of the needy among them; and heartily wish their future welfare in a state of peaceful possession of all their just rights.
If, my countrymen, the general happiness of America is the object we aim at, the thought of a reasonable reconciliation cannot be driven from us. Independence will not produce happiness. As soon could I believe that those were my friends who would advise me to renounce my family, as I could believe them to be such who would separate me from my near connexions in the land that gave birth to my ancestors.
As to the cry raised against those who advise to a reconciliation on constitutional principles, that they are seeking for places and pensionswhat would such say who are so groundlessly suspicious, if the accusation were retorted upon themselves? For my part, I can seriously declare, that I have such an aversion to titles and pensions that I would not be one of the three hundred and ninety Commissioners, on the plan of the writer of a piece called Common Sense, for all the money that has been made in America since the commencement of the unhappy differences.
To conclude: I have put together a few remarks, which, however uncouth, are my honest sentiments. Who I am is not material; but this I may say, I should rejoice to see the happiness of my countrymen, of all denominations; and assure them that, for myself, I wish to remain, as I ever have been
A SETTLED CITIZEN.
Philadelphia, April 23, 1776.
NEW-JERSEY COMMITTEE OF SAFETY.
The President laid before this Council a Letter he received from the Committee of the Township of Morris, with several Counterfeit Bills of Continental Currency enclosed, together with sundry Affidavits proving the said bills to have been counterfeited by the wife of Henry Vandyne, of Morris County, who appears to have been privy thereto, and passed by himself and wife; which said Vandyne and wife had been apprehended by the said Committee, and were now confined in the Jail of the County of Morris.
The said Letter, with the Affidavits accompanying the same, being read and duly considered,
Ordered, That the said Henry Vandyne and his wife be continued under confinement, in the Jail of the County of Morris, until further orders be taken thereon; and that the consideration of the measures proper to be taken thereon be referred to the Congress of this Province, at their next meeting; and that Mr. President write to the honourable Continental Congress, requesting their advice and direction, to enable the said Provincial Congress to take such measures with said offenders, and form Regulations for preventing such offences in future, as may then appear proper and necessary.
By order of the Committee:
SAMUEL TUCKER, President
Messrs. Livingston and De Hart are requested to get the direction of Congress, agreeable to the above Resolution.
Morristown, April 6, 1776.
SIR: The Committee of Observation of the Township of Morris, on the 5th and 6th of April instant, had before us Henry Vandyne and Elizabeth, his wife, charged with counterfeiting and passing bills of the Continental currency, wherein they confessed themselves guilty; also, such other persons whom we suspected could give us any information therein, were brought before us, and examined; and, on the strictest inquiry, have discovered seven counterfeit bills, which we believe to be the whole number they have made or passed. For these crimes we are sensible the delinquents may be punished by the common law for forgery, in subscribing the names of the signers to the bills, and as cheats, in passing counterfeit money for good. Yet it is a matter of publick concern, and of the greatest importance to the Colonies in general, to punish counterfeiters of the Continental currency. We did not choose, in this first instance, to take any determinate step, unless with the approbation, and by direction of the honourable Committee of Safety of the Province of New-Jersey. We have, therefore, under guard of a detachment of Light-Horse, sent you the prisoners, the affidavits, and confessions, taken and laid before us, together with six of the said bills, and one true bill, with some of the implements made use of in counterfeiting; to the end that you may be fully possessed of the facts, and take such further measures for punishing the offenders as you may in your wisdom think just and right.
I am, sir, with great esteem, your most obedient, humble servant,
BENJAMIN HALLPEY, Chairman.
To Samuel Tucker, Esq., President of the Provincial Congress, New-Jersey.
MORRIS County, ss.
Mary, the wife of Philip Tucker, being duly sworn, de-poseth and saith: That she received the annexed three dollar bill, of Continental currency, of one Vandyne, (she thinks his Christian name was Hank,) for a true and good bill, on the 19th day of March instant, part in payment for sundry articles bought, and the remainder, (being two dollars and something more,) she gave him, in changing, good money, not knowing the said bill was counterfeit.