Letter to the Inhabitants of the Province of Canada
- FRIENDS AND COUNTRYMEN,
OUR former address to you pointed out our rights grievances, and the means we have in our power, which we are authorized by the British constitution to use, in the maintenance of the former, and to obtain a redress of the latter. We have also shown you, that your liberty, your honour, and your happiness, are essentially and necessarily connected with the unhappy contest which we have been forced into for the defence of our dearest privileges.
We see with inexpressible joy the favourable manner in which you have received the just and equitable remonstrances of your friends and countrymen, who have no other views than those of strengthening and establishing the cause of liberty. The services you have already rendered the common cause deserve our acknowledgments, and we feel the just obligation your conduct has imposed on us to make our services reciprocal.
The best of causes are subject to vicissitudes; and disappointments have ever been inevitable. Such is the lot of human nature. But generous souls, enlightened and warmed with the sacred fire of liberty, become more resolute, as difficulties increase; and surmount with irresistible ardour every obstacle that stands between them and the favourite object of their wishes.
We will never abandon you to the unrelenting fury of your and our enemies. Two battalions have already received orders to march to Canada, a part of which are now on their route. Six additional battalions are raising in the United States for the same service, and will receive orders to proceed to your province as soon as possible. The whole of these troops will probably arrive in Canada before the ministerial army, under general Carlton, can receive any succours. Exclusive of the forces beforementioned, we have directed, that measures be immediately taken to embody two regiments in your country. Your assistance in the support and preservation of American liberty affords us the most sensible satisfaction; and we flatter ourselves that you will seize with zeal and eagerness the favourable moment to co-operate in the success of so glorious an enterprise. And if more considerable forces should become requisite, they shall not fail being sent.
At this period you must be convinced that nothing is so essential to guard our interests and liberty as efficacious measures to combine our mutual forces, in order that by such a union of succour and counsels, we may be able to baffle the endeavours of an enemy who, to weaken, may attempt to divide us. To this effect we advise and exhort you to establish associations in your different parishes, of the same nature with those which have proved so salutary to the United Colonies; to elect deputies to form a provincial assembly; and that said assembly be instructed to appoint delegates to represent them in this Congress. We flatter ourselves with the prospect of the happy moment when the standard of tyranny shall no longer appear in this land; and we live in full hopes that it will never hereafter find shelter in North America.
- Signed in the name and by order of Congress.
- JOHN HANCOCK, President
- Philadelphia, Jan. 24, 1776.
- United States Continental congress (1821). Secret Journals of the Acts and Proceedings of Congress, from the First Meeting Thereof to the Dissolution of the Confederation. Thomas B. Wait. pp. pp. 40–42.