My Dear Brother The temper of the times is painted in such legible colours in the King's Speech, that no one can remain in doubt that arms are to be used to divest us of our Liberties. You will see by the Paper our Brother incloses that the Lords have promisd their support. Yesterday the Commom did the same on a division of 254 to 60. The new Parlaiment is therefore engaged to maintain this sanguinary System, to which the King in readg his Speech marked his hearty assent, to the astonishment of his Hearers, by giving a studied emphasis to those words which were severe against America.
You have now the whole before you. If your Non-importation & Non-exportation Agreement be not immediately executed & religiously observed, Arms or Submission must decide the Controversy. The prohibition of exporting Arms & Ammunition from here ought to teach you a great deal. I need not mention how deplorable how despicable his situation must be, who talks high of resistance & yet makes no preparation. He who talks of drawing the Sword should not only have it to draw, but see that it be sharp. I woud recommend to you the example of Cromwell who had a Troop of his own neibours, tried & personally attachd to him, at the head of which he was always enabled to make a decisive impression.
The present intention of the Ministry is to declare all Meetings & associations in America illegal & treasonable ー to guard the Coast agst all traffic & communication with Holland France & Spain ー to corrupt New York ー and to employ a military force, chiefly from Canada, if necessary. Having their designs before you, your attention I trust will be bent to defeat them with that earnestness which the greatest question in the world demands.
As in future it may be necessary to write some things in Cypher, that wch I shall use & wch you may use to me will be in figures each figure standing for a Letter of the same number in the Alphabet. For example King 219247. K being the 21st, i the 9th n, the 24th & g the 7th Letter in the alphabet. When it gets to ten, two figures are necessary for one Letter, therefore I join them together by a stroke across, which I think woud puzzle a decypherer the more. As a farther security no name shoud be signd, the date but not the place, inclosd in a Cover addressd by another hand, & no address at the beginning
I wish you woud keep a watchful eye over Capt [Edward] Foy. His disposition is insolent & arbitrary, however he may cover it & depend upon it his endeavors will not be unexercised to enslave us.
You have Lead mines & can prepare Salt Petre in your Tobacco Houses; for gods sake begin your Preparations in time ー talk little & do much. Let not necessity come upon you like an armd 'man, & find you defenceless. Sir Willm Draper has publishd a proposal for emancipating your Negroes by royal Proclamation & arming them against you. The proposal met with approbation from ministerial People. Do not laugh at it, till you are sure it woud be vain. If you apprehend it wou'd be dangerous take proper precautions against it. Considering the proposals which are made & the measures taken here against us I think it perfectly just, & I am sure it is necessary that you shoud withold the payment of your Debts to the Merchants here. It is but truth to say that they are the bitterest enemies we have. It is not once, but a thousand times they have said of us ー "Let them pay us our debts & go to the Devil."
. . . The french Court is settling its internal Affairs, with great attention & wisdom. The Minister makes no secret of his intention to assist us. But it shoud be our care so to exert ourselves as to make as little as possible of such perilous assistance necessary. Are you sure that the ultimate aim of the Governor's & his Secretary's late expedition was not to debauch them from the service of their Country in the great question & to give them that Privilege of the Country as to enable them to oppose those who may arm in support of their Rights. Let no means be omitted of cultivating and inflaming the frontier men, who are by much the most capable of making a stand. I suppose no more Assemblies will be calld till things are settled, therefore you shd look forward & provide against the consequences of that.
I throw before you all the thoughts wch float in my anxious mind. Some of them I hope may be useful. Make a memorandum of what is material in this Letter & then burn it.
[London] Decr 6th 1774.