<br /> Lee Letter: n218

Washington and Lee University

Sender: John Dickinson
Recipient: Arthur Lee

Dear Sir,

Yesterday the Congress broke up. You will immediately know their
proceedings from Publications.

Colonists have now taken such Ground, that Great Britain must relax, or
inevitably involve herself in a Civil War, likely in all human
probability to overwhelm her with a Weight of Calamities, in Comparison
of which “plus quam civilia bella,” the Contentions, between the Houses
of York & Lancaster, or the Distractions of the last Century were
gentle Misfortunes.

A determined & unanimous Resolution animates this Continent, firmly
& faithfully to support the Common Cause, to the utmost Extremity,
in this great Sturggle for the Blessing of Liberty, that alone can
render Life worth holding.

I grieve for the Fate of a brave & generous Nation plung’d by a few
profligate Men, into such Scenes of unmerited & inglorious Distress. Let her rouse her natural, noble Spirit – be true to herself,
& of course be true to Us. Let her not so far adopt the base yet
Visionary Schemes of Fools & Knaves, that She may think her Dignity
concern’d to maintain the projects of those, whom her Justice commands
her to punish.

Give us the Butes, Mansfields, Norths, Bernards & Hutchinsons &c
whose Falsehoods and Misrepresentations, have enflamed the
People—Call not their Cause, the Cause of Great Britain – Throw all
Errors & occasions of Dissatisfaction on their guilty heads. A new
Ministry of such a Character, that England & America both can
trust, may do great Things; Especially if a considerable Change be made
at the next general Election. Why should Nations meet with hostile
Eyes, because Villains & Ideots have acted like Villains &
Ideots?

I wish for peace ardently; but must say, delightful as it is, it will come
more grateful by being unexpected. The first Act of Violence on the
Part of Administration in America, or the Attempt to reinforce General
Gage this Winter or next Year, will put the whole Continent in arms
from Nova Scotia to Georgia.

May God of his infinite Mercy grant a happy Event to these afflicting
Agitations.

It is suspected here, that a Design is regularly prosecuted by the
Ministry, to make his Majesty dethrone himself, by the Calamities &
Convulsions his Reign is likely to bring on his whole People. Please to
inform Me, what is thought on this Point in England.

Notes:

Receiver’s copy, Harvard University Libraries. In Dickinson’s hand, though
not signed.