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TO MR. WILLIAM BRADFORD.
MY WORTHY FRIEND, Your very acceptable favors by Mr. Rutherford arrived safe, but I perceived by the date had a very tedious passage, which perhaps may be attributed to the craziness of the vessel in which you embarked them. I ought to mention, in particular, that I did not receive them till after I wrote my last, as an apology for my not then acknowledging it.
I entirely acquiesce in your opinion of our friend Brackenridge's talents, and think his poem an indubitable proof of what you say on that head. It certainly has many real beauties in it, and several strokes of a strong original genius; but at the same time, as you observ. some very obvious defects, which I am afraid, too, are more discernible to common readers than its excellencies. If this be the case, I am apprehensive it will not answer the end proposed, which, as I collect from his letter to me, was to raise the character of his academy by the fame of its teacher. It is on this account, he says, he desires it might have a pretty general reading in this Government. For my own part, I could heartily wish, for the honor of the author and the success of the performance, that it might fall into the hands only of the impartial and judicious. I have shewn it to some of our middling sort of folks, and I am persuaded it will be not much relished by that class of my countrymen. The subject is itself frightful; blank verse, in some measure unintelligible, at least requires stricter attention than most people will bestow; and the antiquated phraseology, however eligible in itself, disgusts such as affect modern fashion. In short, the theme is not interesting enough, nor the dress sufficiently a la mode to attract the notice of the generality. The same merit in a political or humorous composition would have rung the author's fame through every Province on the continent. Something of this kind I am encouraged to expect soon from a passage of his letter in which he mentions a design of finishing a poem then in hand, on the present times; and from the description he gives of it, (if it be not too local,) I doubt not will meet with the public's applause. He informed me it would be ready for the press in three months from the time he wrote. If so, you must have seen it by this time.
We are very busy at present in raising men and procuring the necessaries for defending ourselves and our friends in case of a sudden invasion. The extensiveness of the demands of the Congress, and the pride of the British nation, together with the wickedness of the present ministry, seem, in the judgment of our politicians, to require a preparation for extreme events. There will, by the Spring I expect, be some thousands of well-trained, high-spirited men ready to meet danger whenever it appears, who are influenced by no mercenary principles, but bearing their own expenses, and having the prospect of no recompense but the honor and safety of their country.
I suppose the inhabitants of your Province are more reserv. in their behavior, if not more easy in their apprehension, from the prevalence of Quaker principles and politics. The Quakers are the only people with us who refuse to accede to the Continental association. I cannot forbear suspecting them to be under the control and direction of the leaders of the party in your quarter; for I take those of them that we have to be too honest and simple to have any sinister or secret views, and I do not observ.anything in the association inconsistent with their religious principles. When I say they refuse to accede to the association, my meaning is that they refuse to sign it; that being the method used among us to distinguish friends from foes, and to oblige the common people to a more strict observ.ce of it. I have never heard whether the like method has been adopted in the other Governments.
I have not seen the following in print, and it seems to be so just a specimen of Indian eloquence and mistaken valor, that I think you will be pleased with it. You must make allowance for the unskilfulness of the interpreters.
The speech of Logan, a Shawanese Chief, to Lord Dunmore: " I appeal to any white man to say, if ever he entered Logan's cabin hungry, and I gave him not meat; if ever he came cold or naked, and I gave him not clothing. During the course of the last long and bloody war, Logan remained idle in his tent, an advocate for peace; nay, such was my love for the whites, that those of my own country pointed at me as they passed by, and said, ' Logan is the friend of white men.' I had even thought to live with you but for the injuries of one man. Col. Cressop, the last spring, in cold blood and unprovoked, cut off all the relations of Logan, not sparing even my women and children. There runs not a drop of my blood in the veins of any human creature. This called on me for revenge. I have sought it; I have killed many; I have fully glutted my vengeance. For my country I rejoice at the beams of peace; but do not harbor a thought that mine is the joy of fear. Logan never felt fear. He will not turn on his heel to save his life. Who is there to mourn for Logan ? not one ! "
If you should see any of our friends from PRINCETON a little before the time of your intending to write to me, and could transmit any little intelligence concerning the health, &c., of my little brother there, it would be very acceptable to me, and very gratifying to a fond mother; but I desire it may only be done when it will cost you less than five words.
We had with us a little before Christmas the Rev. Moses Allen, on his return from Boston to Charlestown. He told me he came through Philadelphia, but did not see you, though he expresses a singular regard for you, and left his request with me that you would let him hear from you whenever it is convenient, promising to return the kindness with punctuality. He travelled with considerable equipage for a dissenting ecclesiastic, and seems to be willing to superadd the airs of the fine gentleman to the graces of the spirit. I had his company for several days, during which time he preached two serv.ns with general approbation. His discourses were above the common run some degree; and his appearance in the pulpit on the whole was no
discredit to [ ?] He retains too much of his pristine
levity, but promises amendment. I wish he may for the sake of himself, his friends, and his flock. I only add that he seems to be one of those geniuses that are formed for shifting in the world rather than shining in a college, and that I really believe him to possess a friendly and generous disposition.
You shall ere long hear from me again. Till then, Five, vole et Loetare.
1776. DECLARATION OF RIGHTS.
TO JAMES MADISON, ESQ.
June 27, 1776.
HON. SIR *******
It is impossible for me to say when the Convention will adjourn; but am pretty certain it will not be so soon as was expected when I wrote by .
It is said that seven ships, some of them very large, have within a few days past come to the aid of Dunmore. Whether they be transports or ships of war is not yet determined. I am, dear sir, yours affectionately.
- LETTERS AND OTHER WRITINGS OF JAMES MADISON. VOL. I. 1769-1793. PHILADELPHIA: J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO, 1865, digitized by archive.org