- England vs. America, 1774
- Bulletin of Friends' Historical Society of Philadelphia
- Friends Historical Association
- Volume 5, Number 1, Fourth Month (April) 1913
- pp. 2-8
- View Citation
- Additional Information
2 BULLETIN OF FRIENDS' HISTORICAL SOCIETY. ENGLAND VS. AMERICA, 1774. Dr. John Fothergill. [The following letter of Dr. John Fothergill (1711-1780) has recently been found in a bundle of unsorted papers belonging to the Charles Roberts Autograph Collection, Haverford College. So far as known it has not hitherto been printed. It is of unusual interest, as the good doctor speaks out very freely regarding the policy and action of the British Government towards America. The letter bears no address, but an endorsement says : " This very curious and sensible letter is said to have been addressed to G. Ironside, then in India." This is probably an error, for E. (Edward) Ironside, an historical and antiquarian writer, who died in 1803. Many of our readers will remember the valuable paper by Amelia M. Gummere, in number one of the Bulletin, Tenth month, 1906, An International Chess Party, one of the company being Dr. Fothergill. Our readers are referred to this paper for information concerning the "good Doctor Fothergill," as Franklin calls him. The letter now printed was written by Dr. Fothergill less than a fortnight before the party described, and gives a very clear idea of what the Doctor's attitude must have been. The letter is in perfect condition.—Editor.] My worthy Friend: I am so many letters in thy debt—and a variety of other obligations, that it has long been a burthen to me, equally difficult to discharge the obligations, as to bear the continual reproaches of a neglect bordering on ingratitude. Suffice it to say, that at the time when the ships sail for India I am incessantly engaged ; —in the less occupied part of summer I do not write, not knowing but something of consequence may occur to be said—and thus season after season passes, with the same intentions, and the same want of execution.-----The last communication I received was this season containing the seeds and letter from Ja. Kerr. I am greatly obliged ENGLAND VS. AMERICA, 1774.3 to you both for the favour—And have endeavoured to serve him as efficaciously as I can. The directors have recommended him by name to the Governor & Council in India. I shall write to him I hope by this conveyance, and point out to him what may be necessary for him to do on the occasion. In the preceding season I received along with some instructive papers from the same hand some very curious accounts and drawings of an ancient city.—I have hesitated much whether I ought to lay these before the publick in some proper manner— either by the Royal or Antiquarian Society. These papers would have been very acceptable to either and to many curious people —but as I hope they are to make a part of a history of Indostan, I rather chose to keep them back, than to diffuse them amongst my acquaintance till I had thy own permission. The account of funeral tragedy I received long since, should have been presented to the publick as well as these, if I thought I should not have been acting a part that Friendship and delicacy might have condemned me for—Let sometime or other the world be favoured with such an ace* as my Friend can give—these specimens assure me of it—as much superior to the general Historys of travellers as Tacitus & Livy excel our present Historians.—Tell me what I am to hope for in this respect, and if nothing but slight sketches, yet massy compared with others, must be given to the publick, let me give them as they come to hand. I take it for granted that all our Political pieces are constantly and regularly sent to India. I have enclosed one, however , because its object is a most important one, and the conduct of administration relative to the subject, of the highest consequence to the Brittish Empire. I must in the first place inform my Friend, that I have been on the side of America from the time the Stamp Act was first proposed, and have therefore beheld with much anxiety the subsequent measures of administration, which have brought us to the brink of a Gulph...