Item of the Day: Letter from America (1792)

Full Title:  Letters from America, Historical and Descriptive; Comprising Occurrences From 1769, to 1777, Inclusive by William Eddis, Late Surveyor of the Custom, &c. at Annapolis, In Maryland.  London:  Printed for the Author, And Sold by C. Dilly, in the Poultry, MDCCXCII.

LETTER XVI.

Annapolis, January 3d, 1774.

 The American prints will inform you, ere you receive this, of the recent proceedings at Boston.  The quantity of tea, contained on board three vessels, amounting to three hundred and forty-two chests, was on the 16th of December, immersed in the bay.  The East India Company are the only sufferers on this occasion; as all accounts perfectly correspond in asserting, that this hasty business was transacted without the least detriment to private property.  New York, Philadelphia, Charles Town, and other places it is universally imagined, will pursue similar measures.  Vast as this continent is, the inhabitants appear animated, to a degree of frenzy, with the same spirit of opposition.  Where the consequences will terminate, Heaven knows!  If a judgment may be formed from the present disposition of the people, I will venture to assert, that not the least future taxation will ever be admitted here, without what they conceive, a legal representation.

As an Englishman, warmly attached to my native country, and anxious for its honour and prosperity; I view the impending storm with inexpressible inquietude.  I fear my friend, our statesmen have promoted measures which they will be equally embarrassed to enforce, or defend.  But these are matters too high for my discussion; I detest politics, and shall, therefore, leave you to make your own comments.  I and mine are well, would I could say we were perfectly happy!  Have I not reason to apprehend my establishment is not so permanent as my flattering ideas had suggested?  Should the storm burst, it must inevitably involve, in the same ruin, multitudes who think differently, and are equally actuated by conscientious principles.

LETTER XVII.

Annapolis, May 28, 1774.

All America is in a flame! — I hear strange language every day.  The colonists are ripe for any measures that will tend to the preservation of what they call, their natural liberty.  I enclose you the resolves of our citizens, theyhave caught the general contagion.  Expresses are flying from province to province.  It is the universal opinion here, that the mother country cannot support a contention with these settlements, if they abide steady to the letter and spirit of their associations.  Where will these matters end?  Imagination anticipates, with horror, the most dreadful consequences.  If the measures adopted at home are founded on the principles of justice, it will become administration to be firm and decisive.  If they are not, it will be advisable, even on the score of interest, not to abandon the substance for a shadow.  True policy will suggest the expediency of embracing a conciliatory system.

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Filed under 1770's, American Revolution, Massachusetts, Posted by Rebecca Dresser

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