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Sewall, Jonathan (1728-1796) to John Foxcroft

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01149 Author/Creator: Sewall, Jonathan (1728-1796) Place Written: London, England Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 14 March 1777 Pagination: 3 p. : address ; 19.7 x 15.8 cm.

Summary of Content: Written by Sewall as a Loyalist refugee in London to his Revolutionary friend Foxcroft in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A very witty letter throughout. Predicts the downfall of the American experiment. Writes in a mocking tone about "your high & mighty committees, as I suppose will be the case in your free & independent State." In order to protect Foxcroft from charges that he is corresponding with a Tory he writes that he has not received a line from him since 31 August 1774, except one innocuous one having to do with gowns shortly thereafter. In an ironic tone says he cannot see how it could be against committees or congresses for him to take the "Oportunty of advising you that I am yet in the land of the living, tho' very probably they may all be offended at the Fact." Hopes he will not live to see the day when America is independent of Great Britain. Says he will mortify Foxcroft by telling him all his friends across the Atlantic are doing fine. Says the government is assisting the Tory refugees. Claims none of them have a "penumbra of a Doubt how the Game will end." Asks that if he has enough paper money would he pay Dr. Lee 30 pounds. Says he would like to "take one peep" at his house, but doubts he will ever know it again. Says he will not break his heart about it because "Every Dog, they say, has his Day, & I doubt not I shall have mine." Haughtily says "Ah, my old Friend, could you form a just Idea of the immense Wealth & power of the British Nation, you would tremble at the foolish Audacity of your pigmy States." Red wax seal partially extent. Small square of paper torn next to the seal.

Full Transcript: London, 14 March, 1777.
Dear Johny
Dont be frightened at seeing a Letter from an old Tory
Friend; lest it [inserted: shod.] come under the Inspection of your high & mighty Committees, as ...I suppose will be the case in your free & independent State, I hereby declare I have never recieved a Line from you since I left Cambridge Augst. 31. 1774. excepting one while I was at Boston relative to two gowns which Molly Hancock stole from my Wife, of which I desired you to make Enquiry- & this is the first Scrip I have attempted to you since the sd. Date so that you cant be charged with [struck: corres] holding a Correspondence with me. Thus much to prevent any Mistakes which might expose you to the Mr. Foxcroft Esqr perils [2] perils of. Tarring & feathering, Simsbury Mines, a Goal or a Gallows. I presume it can give no Offence to Committees, Congresses, Parsons or Generals, that I embrace a favorable, or rather a possible Oportunty. of advising you that I am yet in the Land of the living, tho' very probably they may all be offended at the Fact; but to ease their Gall-bladders a little, I assure you & them, I hope in God I shall not live to see the Day when America shall become independt. of G. Britain. I suppose by this time you have entered so thoroughly into their mad Scheme, that it will afford you no pleasure to hear your quondam Friends on this Side the Atlantic are well-however I will mortify you by assuring you they all in good Health & Spirits; & Government has [inserted: liberally] supply'd the Wants of all the Tory-Refugees who needed its Assistance, & none here entertain the penumbra of a Doubt how the Game will end. No more does pious, frank, single-Eye'd conscientious [3] conscientious Dr. Elliot, you will say. Aye I have seen his Letters & compared them with two or three Conversations he had with me between Charlestown Ferry & the College, not long before my flight. Well, Duplicity may be justify'd on some princip[struck: als] [inserted: les] for ought I know; but I dont like it. I wish much to know how Judge Lee holds his Health & Spirits. a propos. If you have plenty of Paper Money, & it will answer his purpose, I wish you would pay him £30. L.M. with Interest from Sepr. [inserted: text loss y Accot., and] [text loss] and present him & his Lady my best Wishes. I should like to take one peep at my House, but I suppose shod. not know it again. sic transit Gloria Mundi. I shan't break my Heart about it. Every Dog, they say, has his Day, & I doubt not I shall have mine. Ah, my old Friend, could you form a just Idea of the immense Wealth & power of the British Nation, you would tremble at the foolish Audacity of your Pigmy States. Another Sumr. will bring you all over to my Opinion. I feel for the Miseries hastening on my Countrymen; but they must thank their own Folly. God bless & carry you safe thro.'
Yours - Jon: Sewall

[address]
To
John Foxcroft Esqr.
Cambridge
Favored by
Mr. Amory }
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People: Sewall, Jonathan, 1728-1796
Foxcroft, John, fl. 1777

Historical Era: American Revolution, 1763-1783

Subjects: LoyalistRevolutionary WarGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyGlobal History and US Foreign PolicyFreedom and IndependencePoliticsGovernment and CivicsFinanceCoins and CurrencyMilitary History

Sub Era: The War for Independence

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