Out of Philadelphia, 1776, came four anonymous letters. The utility of the letters is to enable one to better understand the position of the "patriots" of the American Revolution concerning the colonies vis-a-vis their relationship with the "Mother Country," so-called.
In this letter, Anonymous unpacks the effect of what he terms "a few weak or wicked men."
August Glen-James, editor
The king and his ministers in all their speeches and harangues have constantly held out that the Americas were aiming at independence. Pity but we could have taken the hint sooner!
A few weak or wicked men among ourselves, for the sake of keeping up a division, may talk of reconciliation, but Britain has no such thought; the amazing expense she has put herself to is a sufficient proof against it: Her aim is to get or lose the whole and repay the millions she had expended, either by laying on us a heavy yearly tribute, if she can, or by immediately seizing our property. We have now no middle line, and none but an idiot or a villain would endeavour to spread such notions. That it is the design of Britain to set up military governments throughout the provinces, if ever they come into her hands again, is doubted by no man of sense and reflection; and likewise, that we have no other mercy to expect form her but a repetition of all those savage and hellish oppressions and cruelties which she so unrelentingly inflicted on the wretched inhabitants of the East-Indies. Thank God! we have had a long warning given us to prepare; and, when every disadvantage which we had to encounter, from the want both of materials and experience, be considered, together with the opposition from the ignorant and disaffected amid us, it is nearly a miracle that we are so well prepared.
The king and his ministers in all their speeches and harangues have constantly held out that the Americas were aiming at independence. Pity but we could have taken the hint sooner! for all our present distresses, arising from a scarcity of goods, are owing to our not thinking of independence soon enough. Our non-imports in agreement ought to have ceased immediately on the breaking-out of hostilities, and instead thereof we ought to have doubled or tribled our imports; and this would have been the case, had it not been for the absurd and destructive doctrine of reconciliation; because, the moment we had adopted the plan of separation we should have seen the necessity of laying in an additional stock. In short, reconciliation is a doctrine which has driven us to the edge of ruin, and the man that hereafter mentions it as a plan, ought to be considered and treated as a traitor to his country.