February 16, 1777
My Dear Sir,-A few days ago a small expedition was made by the authority of this State aided by detachment of Continental Regulars, to suppress the Tories in the Counties of Somerset and Worcester on the Eastern Shore of Chessepeak, where they are numerous and have arisen to a great pitch of violence. We this day have a rumour that one of their principals, a Doctor Cheyney, is taken and we hope to hear of the business being effectually done, very soon. In my opinion, much more is to be apprehended from the secret machinations of these rascally people than from the open violence of British and Hessian soldiers, whose success has been in a great measure owing to the aid they have received from them.
You know that the Tories in America have always acted upon one system. Their head quarters used to be at Boston-more lately at Philadelphia. They have continually embarrassed the publick councils there and afforded intelligence, advice and assistance to General Howe. Their influence is extended throughout the United States. Boston has its full share of them, and yet I do not hear that measures have been taken to suppress them. On the contrary, I am informed that the citizens are grown so polite as to treat them with tokens of civility and respect. Can a man take fire into his bosom and not be burned? Your Massachusetts Tories communicate with the enemy in Britain as well as New York. They give and receive intelligence, from whence they early form a judgment of their measures. I am told they discovered an air of insolent tryumph in their countenances, and saucily enjoyed the success of Howe’s forces in Jersey before it happened.
Indeed, my friend, if measures are not soon taken, and the most vigorous ones, to root out these pernicious weeds, it will be in vain for America to per-severe in this generous struggle for the publick liberty… .
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