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Title: Caldwell, James to Caldwell, John, 1774
CollectionIrish Immigrants in the Land of Canaan. Letters and memoirs from colonial and revolutionary America (1675-1815) [K.A. Miller et al.]
SenderCaldwell, James
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationmerchant
Sender Religionunknown
OriginPhiladelphia, USA
DestinationBallymoney, Co. Antrim, Ireland
RecipientCaldwell, John
Recipient Gendermale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count1010
Genrelatest events, war, politics
TranscriptJames Caldwell, Philadelphia, to John Caldwell, Ballymoney, County Antrim, December 1774

My Dear Brother—Philadelphia December 1774
Since my last I have received three letters from you & one from brother Richard—I have at length made up my mind to visit you the ensuing Spring, the last of our flaxseed ships has sailed & I shall have time to wind up my business, prepare my dear Sally to submit to my short absence and endeavour to reconcile myself to parting with her and my engageing little Kate Before I proceed further in this communication, I have to refer you to my various business Letters by the flaxseed ships— Unless I can accomplish my intended Spring visit, I foresee a state of things in the Political world that may prevent us meeting again for years and would to God your family, our brother Richard, Sisters, Uncles & Aunts would resolve to accompany me back again and enjoy the certain result of the glorious struggle which has already commenced Patrick Henry of Virginia, one of our greatest Statesmen has already in Congress, expressed the determination of that leading Province which he represents— The Congress met in this City last month, when he asserted in his speech “That after all that has been said or done “We must fight” and I could mention a host of other great people, who think with him and will act with him— The minds of the People have been in a state of progressive improvement for years— It is now ten years (1764) since a Mr Otis, a very eminent Lawyer of Boston published a tract entitled “The rights of . British Colonies asserted” In which he assumes among other things as fundamental doctrine the following propositions “That the supreme and subordinate powers of legislation should be free and sacred in the hands where the community have once rightfully placed them” Again—“The supreme power cannot take from any man any part of his property without his consent in Person, or by his Representative” These points once conceded and established I fear not for the liberty and happiness of the Country— I have frequently attended the debates in Congress&Iam very much mistaken if the “tout ensemble” of that Assembly does not far exceed and transcend your boasted Houses of Lords & Commons with all their decorations and gee gaws of Maces, gowns, big wigs and woolsacks I have often write to our Aunts and Sisters, but except by the flaxseed ships, the conveyance is so uncertain, that I fear my letters may not have reached them, as the Parental chastisement of the mother Country extends to the stoppage of letter intercourse between us, her almost rebellious children, and such of our kindred, as may yet be nestling under the shadow of her wings, but I shall hope that some worthy Clerk of the Post Office, in whose composition flows the milk of human kindness, may forward this epistle to relieve the anxiety of affectionate friends My little Catherine has just been innoculated for the small Pox, the practice is becoming general in this city, notwithstanding the opposition of some bigoted Calvinists on the principles of Predestination which many of the prevailing sect of Quakers or as we call them here Friends, are said to adopt— These troubles and turmoils in our political relations must undoubtedly check for a time the trading prosperity of the Country; but it is yet in the power of the Parent State, to turn to its own advantage, that immense flow of wealth and property which must of course crown the efforts of increasing millions of yet Colonial subjects— this is the critical moment, the affections, and friendships of the Colonists can now be fixed or lost to Great Britain for ever— It is amusing to look at, and examine the principles by which the natives of the three Kingdoms who have emigrated here, seem to be actuated in political matters, now under discussion and altogether the leading topic The English are divided, some espousing our quarrel (as it is called) from real hatred to Tyranny, and others from attachment to the descendants of their Pilgrim relatives and Countrymen, and to the religion which they professed; but the greater part, at all hazard, determined to support the claims of the British Government be they right or wrong, to unconditional submission— The Scotch with very few exceptions are advocates for and friendly to those principles for which so many of them fought in 1715 & 1745 and of course opposed to the measures pursued by the Colonists; indeed they seem anxious to wipe away the stigma & remembrance of their resistance and disafection to the house of Hanover, by the most unbounded loyalty to George the third & his measures, so true is it, that new converts are apt to become the most violent and jealous partizans; but among the Irish, nine tenths espouse the American Cause, and our Countrymen of the North add the sagacity and calmness of the calculating Scotch Lowlander, to the enthusiastic chivalry of the native of the Emerald Isle in supporting the rights of the People, whilst our friend Charles Thompson from the County Derry records their resolutions and decrees as Secretary of Congress. Among the worthies from our Country of our relatives are the Balls, the Caldwells, & the Hamiltons, and I understand of your wife’s relations— The Agnews, the Ramseys, McCutcheons & the Kidds, all energetic & persevering, as is George Hughes the brother & Joseph Wilson the Cousin of Richards wife—In fact the flame of Patriotic feeling is spreading far and wide & I doubt not its breaking forth in a radiance of glory, that will electrify and astonish the world, and crown our labours & exertions with lasting honor and happiness, of Ireland in 1771 & 1772 was twelve thousand I have just got returns of the emigration from the North it exceeds Seventeen thousand Souls & the influx for 1773
Rembr me Affectionately to all friends— From Your afft brother
James Caldwell