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Letter from James Iredell to Joseph Hewes
Iredell, James, 1751-1799
June 28, 1775
Volume 10, Pages 1026-1027

[Reprinted from McRee's Life of Iredell.]
Letter from James Iredell to Joseph Hewes.

Edenton, June 28th 1775.

Dear Sir:—Far from being unreasonably impatient at the delay of Congress, I am much pleased they proceeded with so great deliberation, for certainly no public body had ever object of more magnitude to decide upon. I believe I may add, few have had men of more wisdom than several among you to consider them. I yet conceive, lost as everything seems to be to truth and reason, great hopes from the wise determinations of congress. They will, I am persuaded, act in so decisive a manner, that at the same time they prepare for a general defence in the last extremity, they will open a way of reconciliation, which it will be highly dishonorable on the part of Great Britain not to meet. Men who have committed injuries have no right to give themselves airs about tumults excited by them; much less can they with any grace do it when the whole tenor of their conduct proves a consciousness that they have been originally in the wrong. A very pretty story, that a man may not give another a box on the ear, who attempted his life! And liberty, to all men of feeling, is dearer than life. I wish to know the opinion formed by Congress of Lord Chatham's Reconciliatory Bill. According to my poor ideas of the subject, it would afford a happy and honorable basis for both countries. It is framed with much judgment to remove difficulties on both sides of the question, and reconcile substantially the honest views of the two parties in opinion. Would to heaven it had succeeded! Heaven grant it may yet succeed, or something equally promising! All of our hopes of any speedy happiness must at least centre somewhere in England. If, by the moderation and equity of our proposals, strong friends can be found on that side of the water all may yet be well at no great distance of time. But abstracted from this prospect, I see nothing but the most dreadful and miserable scenes in view. I rely much, very much, on Congress. They have the greatest trust under their care any set of men can hold. The happiness of millions depends upon their firmness and prudence. They have indeed great difficulties to contend with, but, “the greater the difficulty the more the glory in surmounting it.” In a letter I have from Mr. McColloh, to-day is the following

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passage, which I take leave to transcribe. [Speaking of Lord North's conciliatory motion]: “It pleases here, though it means nothing; at the same time Administration declare they have no design to tax America and I truly believe they wish themselves out of the scrape.” I really believe so too, and have long done so, and therefore the more earnestly wish to see things going on in the train of negotiation. Mr. M. desires his best compliments to you. For all provincial and committee intelligence, I refer to M. Bondfield, and your other correspondents who are in the secret. I shall only say that things were going on tantivy to licentiousness for a while, but have lately received a curb from the spirited interposition of some of the old members of our committee, and the introduction of Mr. Johnston into a new one which has been appointed. You have been much wanted here to keep the spirit of liberty from wandering beyond its bounds.

Your ever respectful, affect. and obliged,
JAMES IREDELL.