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Full text of "A South Carolina protest against slavery: being a letter from Henry Laurens, second President of the Continental Congress, to his son, Colonel John Laurens; dated Charleston, S. C., August 14th, 1776. Now published from the original"

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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. J 

__. # 



UNITED STATES QP AMERICA. J 



SOUTH CAROLINA 



/ 



PROTEST AGAINST SLAVERY 



A LETTER FROM HENRY LAURENS, SECOND PRESIDENT OE THE CONTI- 
NENTAL CONGRESS,'tO his son, colonel JOHN LAURENS; 
DATED CHARLESTON, S. C, AUGUST 14th, 1776. 



INTovv lirst piiblislied. Iroixi ilao Orisinal. 



P 



NEW YORK : 
O . P . P U T N A JI , 5 3 2 ]J R A D W A Y . 

^'^ 1861. 



.^,^^0^ 



1 



.L3^ 



Entered, according to Act of CongreFS, in llio year ISGl, by the Zknof.r Club, in the 
Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United Sti;tes, (or tlic Southern District of New York. 



N T I C E 



This Letter is taken Itoiu the Collection of the 
Zenger Club. It was privately printed by that Society, 
in the initial number of their historical Series. It is 
now reprinted as additional evidence against the 
Southern theory, that the same antagonism tliat now 
prevails between the North and South on the sub- 
ject of Slavery, existed at the time of the American 
Revolution. Mr. Everett, in his late oration at New 
York, says : " At the time of the adoption of the 
Constitution, and long afterwards, there Avas, gener- 
ally speaking, no sectional difference of opinion, be- 
tween North and South, on the subject of Slavery. 
It was in both parts of the country regarded, in the 
established formula of the day, as ' a social, political, 
and moral evil.' The general feeling in favor of uni- 
versal lil^erty and the rights of man, wrought into 



Q NOTICE. 

fervor in the progress of tho Revolution, naturally 
strengthened the anti-slavery sentiment throughout 
the Union. It is the South which has since 

CHANGED, not THE NoETII." 

Perhaps this letter of a distinguished South Caro- 
linian, now first printed for circulation, Avill serve to 
show the accuracy of this opinion. 

New York, Aitriust 1, 18G1, 



LAURENS' CORRESrONDENCE, 



[henry LAURENS TO JOHN LAURENS.] 

CiiAULESTON, S. C, 14th August, IIIG. 

Ui^coMMON and exceedingly mortifying, my dear 
sou, lias been tlie late long interruption in our corre- 
spondence. I find that I have not put to paper in any 
address to you since the 29tli April, and unless certain 
letters referred to have reached you, I have no ground 
to hope that you have learned any thing concerning me 
since November last ; in the meantime, after long and 
anxious waiting, I have had the pleasure of receiving 
your letters of the 5tli December from St. Augustine, 
and of 20th March by the hand of M]'. Read ; Ixit that 
Avhich you say was sent, via Virginia, franked by the 
postmaster, came no nearer to me than Cockspur, when 
it was either destroyed or returned in the packet ; if 
Governor Wright, who was there, had been possessed 
of mv^ feelings, he would have sent a son's letter to a 



13 MATERIALS FOR HISTORY. 

father, notvvitlistandiug tlie oi^position of tlieir political 
tenets.^ 

Once more I will attempt to present my love to you 
by the hands of Monsieur Rilliet, who, poor gentleman, 
is making another effort after many disappointments to 
reizain a footins; on his native soil ; you will see in the 
schedule of letters,^ he is already the bearer of several 
to you, which are now perhaps not worth carriage. I 
have not time to review them, and since they are writ- 
ten and packeted, let them go. 

I told you in my last that I was going to Georgia. 
I began my journey the 1st May, and at Wright's, Sa- 
vannah, Broton Island, and New Hope, found crops of 
rice amounting to about thirteen hundred barrels, 
which I caused to be removed to places less exposed to 
the threatened depredations of j^icaroons from St. Au- 
gustine, in such places that great value still remains. 
I have lately learned that each plantation is again well 
covered — the best crop, they say, that ever was borne 

^ Sir James Wright, baronet, was the son of Judge Wright of. Soutli 
Carolina. He held at dilFerent periods the highest posts in Georgia, having 
been attorney-general, judge, and lieutenant-governor, befqi-e assuming the 
government of the colony in 1761. He was governor at the commence- 
ment of the revolution, and was the last who administered affairs in the 
name of the king. He died in England. 

- Letters referred to : 20th November and Cth December, by Rainier 
from Georgia. — 4th, 8th, and 16th January, by M. Eilliet ; copies by Snow 
Mobile, Captain Smith.— 22d February, 6th and 14th March, by M. Rilliet ; 
copies by Mr. Demar via West Indies. — 16th and 19th March, by M. Rilliet. 
— 26th and 28th March, by Mr. Sandy Wright, to be forwarded tlirough 
St. Augustine.— 2Dth Ai)ri], by M. Rilliet. 



LAUREN'S' CORRESPOXDEXCE. i<j 

at Brotoii Island — but wliat of tliat ? The whole will 
either be destroyed, stolen, or lie with the farmer to 
perish by time and vermin — no small sacrifice at the 
shrine of liberty, and yet very small compared with 
that which I am willing to make ; not only crojDs, Ijnt 
land, life and all must follow in preference to sacrificing 
liberty to mammon. In such sentiments I found the 
people of Georgia with a few exceptions, but none more 
hearty than our Hiohland friends, the Mclntoshes. 
Lachlan is colonel of a battalion upon continental es- 
tablishment ; two of his sons, Lach and AYilliam, are 
subs ; his brother William commands a troop of rangers 
in pay of the colony, or, as I should now say, the State. 
Joe Habersham is major, and John a captain in the 
battalion ; in a word, the country is military. 

My negroes there, all to a man, are strongly attached 
to me — so are all of mine in this country ; hitherto not 
one of them has attempted to desert ; on the contrary, 
those who are more exposed hold themselves always 
ready to fly from the enemy in case of a sudden de- 
scent. Many hundreds of that colour have been stolen 
and decoyed by the servants of King George the 
Third. Captains of British ships of war and noble 
lords have busied themselves in such inglorious pilfer- 
a2:e, to the diso-race of their master and diss^race of 
their cause. These negroes were first enslaved by the 
English ; acts of parliament have established the slave 
trade in favour of the home-residing English, and 
almost totally prohibited the Americans froin reaping 



20 



MATERIALS FOR HIPTOliY. 



any share of it. Men of war, forts, castles, governors, 
companies and committees are employed and author- 
ized by the English parliament to protect, regulate, and 
extend the slave trade. Negroes are brought by Eng- 
lishmen and sold as slaves to Americans. Bristol, 
Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, &c., &c., live upon 
the slave trade. The British parliament now employ 
their men-of-war to steal those negroes from the Amer- 
icans to whom they had sold them, pretending to set 
the i)OOY wretches free, but basely trepan and sell them 
into tenfold worse slavery in the West Indies, where 
probably they will become the property of Englishmen 
again, and of some who sit in parliament. What 
meanness ! what complicated wickedness api:)ears in 
this scene ! O England, how changed ! how fallen ! 

You know, my dear son, I abhor slavery. I was 
born in a country where slavery had been estab- 
lished by British kings and ^parliaments, as well as by 
the laws of that country ages before my existence. I 
found the Christian religion and slavery growing under 
the same authority and cultivation. I nevertheless dis- 
liked it. In former days there was no combating the 
prejudices of men supported by interest ; the day I 
hope is approaching when, from principles of gratitude 
as well as justice, every man will strive to be foremost 
in showing his readiness to comply with the golden 
rule. Not less than twenty thousand pounds sterling 
would all my negroes produce if sold at public auction 
to-morrow. I am not the man who enslaved them ; 



LAURE^NS' CORKESrONDEXCE. 2 1 

tliey are indebted to Engiislinieu for that favour ; never- 
tlieless I am devising means for manumitting many of 
tliem, and for cutting off tlie entail of slavery. Great 
powers oppose me — the laws and customs of my coun- 
try, my own and the avarice of my countrymen. What 
will my childi'en say if I deprive them of so much 
estate ? These are difficulties, but not insuperable. I 
^vill do as much as I can in my time, and leave the rest 
to a better hand. 

I am not one of those "who arrogate the peculiar 
care of Providence in each fortunate event, nor one of 
those who dare trust in Providence for defence and se- 
curity of their o^vn 1 liberty while they enslave and wish 
to continue in slavery thousands who are as well en- 
titled to freedom as themselves. I perceive the work 
before me is great. I shall aj)pear to many as a pro- 
moter not only of strange, but of dangerous doctrines ; 
it "will therefore be necessary to proceed with caution. 
You are apparently deeply interested in this affair, but 
as I have no doubts concerning your concurrence and 
approbation, I most sincerely wish for your advice and 
assistance, and hope to receive both in good time. 

I finished my journey going round by Mepkin, and 
]"eturned to Charleston the 1st June. Half an hour 
after I had entered my house, intelligence was brought 
of a fleet at anchor a little to the northward of Charles- 
ton bar ; for the history of this fleet I refer you to Jaolc 
Wells' ^ paper of the 2d inst., and to certain notes whicJ] 

' Thomas, in his Ilit^tory of Printing, gives a brief ucooiint of John 
Wells, tlie editor here referred to. 



22 MATERIALS I'OK HISTORY. 

I liave added. His account, although true in general 
substance, is the most bungling and inaccurate of any 
thing I have seen from him ; it would l^e easier to 
build a true and j^roper naiTative at full length than to 
mend the botchery which he took a full month to com- 
230se. I wish you or somebody else would publish a 
fair and honest compilation from his gazette and my 
papers. You know me too well to suppose I would in 
a little exaggerate or suppress. You may add as much 
of what follows as may appear to be necessary, but let 
the whole be cleverly done and introduced by such 
declaration of candour as these accounts are w^ell en- 
titled to ; nothing more abhorrent to me than publica- 
tions of falsehood for truth. 

Upon the tremendous range of hfty-hve sail of hos- 
tile ships before our doors and in full view, after wish- 
ing they had rather come as seekers for freights of rice, 
I thought it my duty to add to the dignity of vice- 
president of the colony (now State, observe) the several 
offices of engineer, superintendent of works, aid-de- 
camp, and occasionally any other which could in the 
least contril)ute to the service of ni}^ country, then 
seeming to verge on a precipice, and to require the sup- 
port of every man in it. I, Avho you know had re- 
solved never again to mount a horse, I, ^vho thought it 
impossible for me to gallop five miles in a day, Avas 
seen for a month and more every day on the back of a 
lively nag at half-2:)ast four in the morning, sometimes 
gallo])ing twenty miles before breakfast, and rometimes 



LAUKEN.S' COllKESroNDEXCE. 23 

setting the liorse fourteen hours in eighteen, and, ^vliat 
you will say was more extraordinary, I never got a tum- 
ble ; but mark, lie was a trotting liorse. I will never 
cross a pacer again if I can avoid it. I liave sj)okeii so 
j)aii:icularly of myself, not meaning to claim any singu- 
lar or extraordinary merit, but because I know you 
will draw pleasing inferences of my state of liealtli from 
an account of sucli exertions. The president^ was as 
dilio;ent, as active as a man could be, and so much 
more useful than myself, as his authority, superior abil- 
ities, and advantages of 3'outh enabled him. Every 
man, except a few unhappy misled, whom the j^eople 
call tories, and a few of a worse stamp, whom I call 
property men, was animated, discovered a love of coun- 
trv, and a boldness arisino' from an assurance of beins: 
engaged in a just cause. Charleston was in a very 
short time enclosed by lines, trenches, and I'edoubts ; 
wharves were cleared of all incumbrances ; streets 
strongly barricaded ; retrenchments within ; T)atterie3 
erected for defence at practicable landings above the 
town. Thousands of men came in from the country, 
from North Carolina and Virginia, and all this with a 
degree of celerity as amazing as our former neglect had 
been. Much indeed are Ave indebted to General Lee, 
as well as to his seconds, the Bric-adiers Armstronor and 
Plowe ; these arrived at a critical time, and we were 
favoured l:)y weather, which fortunately withheld the 

■ John Ratledge was president iukI commandor-in-cbief of tlic colony of 
South Carolina at thi-s period. 



24: MATERIALS FOR mSTORY. 

enemy from striking a sudden blow ; and every moment 
of the interval was improved to advantage on our side. 

General Lee at first sight was exceedingly displeased 
with the fort at Sullivan's ; wished we could save our 
stores and abandon it, although he acknowledged the 
exterior work was impregnable ; however, as that could 
not be done, he recommended some amendments, gave 
advice, orders, and his presence in the beginning of the 
action, to Avhich, if we do not altogether owe the hon- 
our of the twenty-eighth of June, we are certainly 
greatly indebted ; but, from the general's better knowl- 
edge of the harbour and the vast importance of that 
post, he must nov/ 1)6 of a different opinion. 

At the approach of the shij)s of war towards Sulli- 
van's, the ramparts and parapets of Fort Johnson, 
where Colonel Gadsden had chosen his command, were 
seen covered by officers and soldiers, every one interest- 
ing himself in the fate of the sister fortress, and stand- 
ing ready in case of need to second her effi)rts. All the 
batteries round the town were at the same time man- 
ned, guns loaded, every article in readiness for acting 
in turn. Troojis of regulars and militia projierly sta- 
tioned fo]' repelling all attempts to land ; engines and 
men at proper stands for extinguishing fires in the 
town. There was every appearance of an universal de- 
termination to give General James Grant the flat lie. 
It was the fortune of his old friend Will Moultrie to 
speak first, and he monopolized the glory of the day. 

The country militia as well as the town continued 



LAUKENS' COEKESPONUEXCE. 95 

cheerfully to do duty on tliis frontier a.s lono- as one of 
, tlie enemy's fleet remained in siglit ; tlie Active was the 
last; she with a tender "went about ten days ao-o to 
Bull's Island, the property of Captain Shubrick ; land- 
ed forty white and twenty black men ; killed l:>y pla- 
toon firing a few head of cattle ; augmented their black 
guard by stealing six more negroes, and then sailed off 
the coast or perhaps only a little out of sight. To hear 
Shubrick's overseer relate the manner of their lirino- on 
the cattle, and the very few of their shot Avhich hit the 
mark, is droll enough, and serves to raise the contempt 
of those, who ^yiih single ball, at one hundi-ed and fifty 
yards' distance, will hit the cia-cle of an English crown. 
After the attack upon Sullivan's Island, seconded 
by ravages and murders by the Cherokee Indians on 
our western frontier, who probably acted in a concerted 
plan with the ships and troops, I believe there were 
few men here who had not lost all inclination for renew- 
ing our former connexion with your king and his min- 
isters ; however that might have been, the great jioint 
is now settled. On the 2d instant a courier arrived 
from Philadelphia, and brought a declaration of the 4th 
of July, l)y the re2:)resentatives of the thirteen united 
colonies in congress met, that from thenceforward those 
colonies should be "Free and Independent States." 
You have no doubt seen the paper, or "will in a few 
days see the copy often rej^eated at full length ; there- 
fore I need not mark the particular contents. This 
declaration was proclaimed in Charleston with great 



2(3 MATERIxVLS FOR HISTORY. 

solemnity on Monday, tlie 5tli inst., attended by a pro- 
cession of president, councils, generals, members of as- 
sembly, officers civil and military, etc., ifcc, amidst loud 
acclamations of thousands wlio always huzza when a 
proclamation is read. To many, who from the rash- 
ness, impolicy, and cruelty of the British administration, 
had foreseen this event, the scene was serious, impor- 
tant, and awful. Even at this moment I feel a tear of 
affection for the good old country and for the peoj)le in 
it, whom in general I dearly love. There I saw that 
sword of state which I had before seen four several 
times unsheathed in declarations of w^ar against France 
and Spain by the Georges, now unsheathed and borne 
in a declaration of Avar against George the Third. I 
say even at this moment my heart is full of the lively 
sensations of a dutiful son, thrust by the hand of vio- 
lence out of a father's house into the ■\\ide world. 
"What I have often with truth averred in London and 
Westminster, I dare still aver; not a sober man, and 
scarcely a single man in America wished for a separa- 
tion from Great Britain. Your king, too, I feel for ; he 
has been greatly deceived and abused. 

Soon after the men-of-war had anchored within our 
bar, alarming accounts were brought of new attempts 
by John Stuart, Henry Stuart, Alexander Cameron, 
and other ministerial agents to stir up the savage In- 
dians to attack our western frontier ; several intercepted 
letters from them coniirmed the reports. The Indians, 
and particularly the Cherokees, had amused us by the 



LAUUEXS' COKKE.SruXDENCE. O';^ 

most flattering talks, full of assurances of friendship 
and promises to follow our advice, wbich always had 
been that they should observe a strict neutrality ; but 
very suddenly, without any pretence to provocation, 
those treacherous devils, in various parties, headed by 
^vhite men, and pushed on by those who are in employ- 
ment for this cruel purpose, made an inroad uj^on our 
settlements!, burned several houses, and murdered about 
sixty 2^ersons, chiefly women and children. Colonel 
Williamson in South, Brio-adier Rutherford in North 
Carolina, were immediately in arms, and a large com- 
mand marched from Virginia. What Rutherford and 
the Virginia troops have done, we are not yet informed; 
but Colonel Williamson and his parties have driven 
back the savages of the lower towns, killed as many as 
could be come at in fight, and taken some j)risoners, 
among whom are no less than fifteen white men ; they 
liave also destroyed Seneca, Keowee, Warrack}^, Estato- 
hee, Toxawa, and Sugartown, together with the crops 
of corn and other grain found in fields and barns, tlie 
only possible way of reducing the barbarians. This in- 
telligence comes from Colonel Williamson in late let- 
ters. If the Virginians act their 2:)art well, the Chero- 
kees will soon be reduced to the utmost distress, and 
may possil^ly turn their vengeance against those hellisli 
instigators to this hellish war. At the entrance of Sen- 
eca, a new town which, I am told, was very extensive, 
on the banks of Keowee, Colonel Williamson suffered 
i'rom an ambuscade; his hoi-se, bv t^vo shot, was killed 



28 MATERIALS FOR HISTORY. 

imder liim. Mr. Salvador, a gentleman wliosc death is 
universally regretted, was killed by liis side ; eiglit men 
wounded, two of whom are since dead. He neverthe- 
less rallied his troops, attacked the savages, beat them 
out, and after destroying a town of near four miles long, 
marched forward. He is undoubtedly a l)rave man, 
and not a bad general. You know his deficiency in 
education ; what heights might he have reached if he 
could have improved his genius by reading. If we suc- 
ceed ao-ainst the Cherokees, the Creeks and other In- 
dians may continue to be simple spectators of our con- 
test with British ships and soldiers ; otherwise we shall 
be attacked on all sides and greatly distressed; but 
men here are fearless of distress, and determined to 
mamtain their rio-hts, trustino; in a ri2:hteous God for a 
liaj)py issue. 

I told you in a former letter of the dangerous insur- 
rections by thousands of the back country people ; 
these Avere suppressed by the vigilance and activity of 
Colonel Williamson in a first instance, and in a second 
and more formidable by Colonel Kichardson and troops 
from North Carolina. Hundi'eds, or more proj^erly 
thousands, were taken prisoners, informed truly of thc^ 
nature of the dispute l^etween Great Britain and the 
colonies, converted, and sent to their habitations. 
Aljout a hundred of their colonels, caj^tains, and other 
officers, (from whence it apj^ears that the whole body was 
very large,) were brought to Charleston ; these, except 
thirteen or fourteen of the most tenacious, soon con- 



LAUIiENS' CORRESFONDEXCE. 2*J 

fessed tlieir errors, united in the American cause, and' 
also returned liome. Of tlie tliirteen or fourteen were 
some sensible men, particularly their chief, Colonel 
Robert Cunningham, a man of great honom", whose 
conscience, as he said, fettered him in the oath of alle- 
giance, although he admitted the injustice of taxing 
Americans without their own consent, and censured the 
British administration ; he often moved me while I was 
president of the Council of Safety, and often since the 
president of the colony, to accej)t from him and his com- 
panions an oath of neutrality ; he would not at first be- 
lieve that the British administration were so wicked as 
to instigate the savages to war against us. As soon, 
therefore, as he was convinced of the truth, his con- 
science freed him from old obligations, and he most 
heartily desired to take the oath of fidelity to the 
United Colonies, and to have an opportunity of giving 
23roofs of his sincerity. His fellow-prisoners joined him 
in a i^etition to the president and council, who ordered 
the Avhole to be released. They immediately repaired 
to Colonel Williamson's camj) and. offered their service ; 
but he, considerina; their Ions; absence from their several 
liomes, recommended to them tlie care of their families. 
Not all, however, Avhom we have enlarged have contin- 
ued faithful. Some of the common fellows have quoted 
the exanijole of Sir James and broke their parole ; most 
of these are now among the Indians; some of them 
liave again been taken prisoners, and must suffer the 
2)eualty of an old law. Kirkland, you may have heard. 



30 MATERIALS FOR HISTORY. 

made liis escape where lie left liis son, a cliild of ten 
or twelve years old, in gaol ; we know nothing of him 
since his flight ; possibly this ignorant fellow may have 
found his way to Sir James's ; he was confident of a 
hearty welcome there, and of much free conversation 
with the master of that house. If he were honest, he 
might make a toleral)le serjeant ; but any thing less 
than a regiment will fall short of his own mark. 

The Reverend Mr. Cooper from time to time gave 
offence to his j^tarishioners, and they have dismissed 
him. The king's officers, that is to say, the attorney- 
general, chief and assistant judges, postmaster, and Mr. 
Outerbridge, are confined to the postmaster's house. 
The late commander of Fort Johnson and the collector 
are at large on their parole. W. Wragg remains at his 
plantation, and lately James Brisbane and some seven 
or eight others of our neighljours, who had signed the 
association and acknowledged the justice of the Amer- 
ican cause, but refused to do any thing which might 
endanger their property in a case of conquest by the 
other side, (these and some who play still a more cun- 
ning game are property men^ were sent to Cheraw gaol. 
The success of the 28th of June made some converts, 
and these gentlemen in particular advanced so far as to 
consent "to bear arms, take the test oath, tfec, but still 
under the air of obedience to avail themselves of the 
|)lea of compulsion and to save property ; such men de- 
serve no station of honour on either side. 1 can have 
no pity for these, ^vhile I sincerely commiserate the 



LAURENS' CORRESPONDENCE. 3I 

circumstances of tlie Mug's officers auci of every suffer- 
iug caudid mau, altliougli lie may be my enemy. 

Mrs. Stuai-t, tlie wife of tlie cruel superintendent, 
had been long confined to her house and hindered from 
leaving the colony. The people had hoped that Stuart 
would in the case of his own have had some tender 
feelings for the wives and innocent children of our 
friends on the Indian frontier ; but when we found that 
he had struck the blow, instead of retaliating as his 
friends ever do, the president and privy council ordered 
Mrs. Stuart to be enlarged ; no valuable end could be 
obtained by a continuance of her suffering. 

America is now w^ell su2:)plied with gunpowder and 
arms, and every day will probably increase our com- 
merce by slow steps. 

The General Assembly is to meet on the l^tli of 
September, when the Declaration of Independence will 
be recorded among our acts, and every salutary meas- 
ure pursued for the welfare of the State. To tell you 
the Virginians had routed Lord Dunmore ; that North 
Carolina is very quiet ; Maryland and Philadelphia as 
yet unmolested ; New York likely to become the seat 
of war for this smnmer ; that Boston is now secured to 
us by strong fortifications ; that the New England j)ri- 
vateers had made prizes of several transport ships, and 
prisoners of many hundred Highland soldiers, would 
j^robably be to relate what you will know before this 
can reach you ; but it may be new to you that General 
Lee and General Howe went last week to Georo-ia, 



32 



MATERIALS FOIl HISTORY. 



whence some expedition is intended to the southward. 
The season of the year and some other circumstances 
are not so favourable as to give me sanguine hopes of 
success; and you Avill feel some concern when I tell 
you we expect another visit^ l>y the British ships and 
troops in the winter months. 

I have now gone through with much intelligence, 
such as it is ; don't wonder if I tell you I write in haste. 
I had determined to take time by the forelock, and to 
have saved four or five days for writing to my friends 
in England ; but through some unexpected public calls, 
and theMong sickness of my good man James, I am re- 
duced to one, and I must copy for different convey- 
ances ; however, I have a few words more to add. I 
am now by the will of God brought into a new world, 
and God only knows what sort of a world it will l^e ; 
what may be your particular opinion of this change I 
know not. You have done well to avoid writing on 
politics. Kemember you are of full age, entitled to 
judge for yourself; pin not your faith upon my sleeve, 
Ijut act the part which an honest heart after mature de- 
liberation shall dictate, and your services on the side 
which you may take, because you think it the right 
side, will be the more valuable. 

I need not tell you, whatever may be your deter- 
minations, to avoid all party disputes, and to act in- 
offensively and circumspectly in the state where you 
are. I cannot rejoice in the downfall of an old friend, 
of a parent from whose nurturing l)reasts I have drawn 



LIUKENS' COllKE^ro.NKENCE. 33 

my suj)poit and -streujitli ; eveiy evil whicli befalls old 
England grieves me. Would to God slie liad listened 
in time to the cries of lier cliildren, and had checked 
the insidious slanders of those who call themselves the 
king's servants and the king's friends, especially such 
of them as had been transported to America in the 
character of civil officers. If my own interests, if my 
own rights alone had been concerned, I would most 
freely have given the whole to the demands and dis- 
posal of her ministers in preference to a sej^aration; but 
the rights of posterity were involved in the question. 
I happened to stand as one of their representatives, and 
dared not betra}^ my trust. 

I am now more than ever anxious to see joii ; to 
see my dear Harry and your sisters ; to see j'our uncle 
and aunt — Imt when and where? God direct you for 
the best ; but pay particular attention to those friends, 
especially to your eldest sister and to Harr}\ Your 
other sister is at an age and has qualities to make her 
foster-mother happy. I could add very much on this 
head, but clouds and darkness are before me. 

Kemember me respectfully to each of my old 
friends ; tell them that as an individual I have a right 
to acknowledo-e my oblii>:ations to them, and that I will 
take every opportunity of showing my regard ; and 
although I hold my life b}' a most precarious tenure, 
yet I trust in God we shall meet again as friends. Par- 
ticularly inform both the Messrs. Cowles that I will, 
when it is possible, look into our accounts and adjust 



fh 



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34 MATERIALS FUK HISTORY. 

tliem ; it lias not been in my power to do so since my 
arrival from England. Mr. William Cowles will do 
me the justice to own, tliat it is not my fault tliose ac- 
counts were left unsettled. I liad often wrote to Lim 
for tliem. I made one journey to Bristol for the sole 
purpose of settling them, and when I w^as leaving the 
kingdom I again took Bristol in my way to Falmouth 
for the same purpose. I waited there to the very last 
hour for saving my passage in the packet, and did not 
receive the papers from him, till I had kept the post- 
chaise long in waiting at my door, and in desj^air was 
just stepping into it. My friend is to blame on this score. 
I am glad you continue with Mr. Becknel and your 
brother with Mr. Henderson; frugality is essential to 
you both. Consider I cannot supply you w^hile the 
sword of Britain remains unsheathed. Improve every 
moment of your time, my dear son, and continue your 
guidance and protection to your brother and your sis- 
ters — your respect and duty to your distressed uncle 
and aunt. I feel much for them. May God protect 
and guide you all, and may he still give peace and mu- 
tual friendship to the divided family of Britain, and 
promote the happiness, equally of the ancient root and 
of the transplanted branches. If you do not come, en- 
(piire for opj)ortunities in Holland and in France, and 
write as oft as you can, and Harry too. 

Adieu, my dear, dear son. 

Mr. John Laurexs. HeNEY LaUREjN'S. 

Why do you never say a word of M, B. ? 



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