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MY DEAR SIR : Your favor, with the pamphlet, came safe to hand. I am exceedingly obliged to you for it ; and I am not without hopes it may produce good here, where there is among most of our opulent families a strong bias to aristocracy. I tell my friends you are the author. Upon that supposition, I have two reasons for liking the book. The sentiments are precisely the same I have long since taken up, and they come recommended by you. Go on, my dear friend, to assail the strongholds of tyranny ; and in whatever form oppression may be found, may those talents and that firmness, which have achieved so much for America, be pointed against it.
Before this reaches you, the resolution for finally separating from Britain will be handed to Congress by Colonel Nelson. I put up with it in the present form for the sake of unanimity. Tis not quite so pointed as I could wish.
Excuse me for telling you of what I think of immense importance ; tis to anticipate the enemy at the French Court. The half of our Continent offered to France, may induce her to aid our destruction, which she certainly has the power to accomplish. I know the free trade with all the States would be more beneficial to her than any territorial possessions she might acquire. But pressed, allured, as she will be but, above all, ignorant of the great things we mean to offer, may we not lose her ? The consequence is dreadful.
Excuse me again. The confederacy ; that must precede an open declaration of independency and foreign alliances. Would it not be sufficient to confine it, for the present, to the objects of offensive and defensive nature, and a guaranty of the respective colonial rights ? If a minute arrangement of things is attempted, such as equal representation, cfec., <fec., you may split and divide ; certainly will delay the French alliance, which with me is every thing. The great force in San Domingo, Martinique, <fec., is under the guidance of some person in high office. Will not the Mississippi lead your ambassadors thither most safely ?
Our Convention is now employed in the great work of forming a constitution. My most esteemed republican form has many and powerful enemies. A silly thing, published in Philadelphia, by a native of Virginia, has just made its appearance here, strongly recommended, tis said, by one of our delegates now with you, Braxton. His reasonings upon and distinction between private and public virtue, are weak, shallow, and evasive, and the whole performance an affront and disgrace to this country ; and, by one expression, I suspect his whiggisrn.
Our session will be very long, during which I cannot count upon one coadjutor of talents equal to the task. Would to God you and your Sam Adams were here ! It shall be my incessant study, so to form our portrait of government, that a kindred with New England may be discerned in it, and if all your excellencies cannot be preserved, yet I hope to retain so much of the likeness, that posterity shall pronounce us descended from the same stock. I shall think perfection is obtained, if we have your approbation. I am forced to conclude ; but first, let me beg to be presented to my ever-esteemed S. Adams. Adieu, my dear sir; may God preserve you, and give you every good thing.
To JOHN ADAMS ESQ.
P.S. Will you and S. A. now and then write?
- Patrick Henry