To Madam H Winthrop

Plymouth February 1773

My dear Madam

The desire of appearing in an advantageous light in the eyes
of our fellow creatures is I presume a laudable passion: and where that ambition
prevails not in the highest degree, yet there is generally a wish to stand well
in the opinion of those we most esteem. This may be the reason why they
are the last to discover any particular foible, to which their friends may be

This united with conscious inability of executing in a manner
deserving the approbation of the judicious, has made me studious to conceal the
taste you have discovered for poetic composition. But as the secret is disclo
-sed, and you had expressed a wish to see the description of your late agree
-able eastern tour, in the dress of rhyme it excited a similar inclination in
the bosom of one who has long been united, in sentiment, in affection, and sim-
-pathy, both in the moments of your anxiety and your felicity. But my
dear madam prone as are my sex (and indeed all mankind) to vanity: I never
entertained so chimerical an idea as to suppose it in my power greatly
to amuse;- much less to benefit the world by the unstudied composition of
my leisure hours. I am gratified in the completion of my highest wish in
that respect, if enabled by my pen to give pleasure to a little circle of
very valuable friends if you had ever thought that my most sanguine expectations
carried me beyond that line, would it not have been kind to have checked the
fond imagination? I am sensible the world is already full of elegant productions
that entertain the imagination and refine the taste; yet perhaps the world is
little reformed even by the laboured treatises of some very scientific phi-
-losophers; much less can it be expected from the airy compositions of the
many superficial writers of the age. I would not willingly make an ad-
-dition to the last useless class, and dispairing of eminence in the first
I rather choose my manuscripts should lie in the cabinets of my friends
to be perused when nothing more instructive or entertaining may offer.

The enclosed was attempted as the amusement of a lonely hour
and though not executed to my own satisfaction, I venture to put it into the
hands of my friends at Cambridge more as a mark of confidence in their can
-dour than from an opinion of its merit. They will see thereby at least that
I participated their pleasure, in their late journey to a neighbouring state
I thank you for the descriptive view of the plentious fields and the beau-
-tiful variety of prospects on your way.

The reflections of your compas-
sionate heart on the impending ruin which threatens the whole are
spirited and just, every uncorrupt mind must spurn the rod of oppression
held over this once happy people, and feel an honest indignation; when

he beholds the harpies preying on the country that nourished them.
Yet who can but pity at the same time they despise the nefarious group,
collected in another province to give sanction to measures without law, and
to carry into execution the wicked projects of administration*. [Asterisk reference mark indicates there is a note below.]

Can accumulated wealth or honour, make the enemies of their
country happy? Has the moral sovereign that used to preside in every
breast, laid aside his sceptre in theirs, and left their minds in a state
of anarchy and darkness, without one friendly ray to lead them back
to the paths of duty and patriotism?

Tired of surveying the depravity
of human nature, let us reverse the medal. When we have seen the splen
-did wretch, for the elevation of an hour sacrificing the rights of posterity,
sickned by his ambition and avarice; let us contrast it with the rational sat
-isfaction of the good man, who exerts all his talents for the benefit of society.
We see his bosom tranquillized by a conciousness that every step tends to
secure an immortality, where a full display of knowledge as well as the
perfection of virtue will open on his admiring soul. How sublime must
be the intervening pleasures of him who anticipate this felicity, whose

Thoughts rove o're the vast athereal plain
Searching each system of the wide domain
The secret depths of nature's hidden laws
And soars with Newton to the great first cause.

With my profound respects to the astronomer and philosopher
you will add my regards to my friend, and tell Dr Winthrop I hope
his visit will not be postponed until the arrival of the amiable
young gentleman he so warmly recommends, as the joys of life
are not sown thick enough for me to expect two such agreeable
events as a visit from him, and my son, should at once take place.
Tell him if you please it is my opinion "that Philolethes' [Dagger reference mark indicates there is a note below.] prostituted pen" can give
little consolation to the cankered bosom of the betrayer of his country.

The wounds of a goaded conscience cannot be healed by such
emollients, nor by pecuniary gratuities, sonorous titles, or the flattering
tongue of the sycophant. He may throw over a shade but he cannot
thicken it sufficiently to cover the guilt of the delinquent.

Neither you
or Doctor Winthrop need to be told that my mortification was equal
to yours, that we did not meet in the Capital: but after the firsts regrets
of disappointment subside, the delusory phantom hope is ever
presenting something to our imagination that makes a kind of

[Asterisk reference mark] * an illegal court erected at Newport.

[Dagger reference mark ] Jonathan Sewall a notorious scribler in favour of Bernard and Hutchinson

balance, to the most mortifying incidents. Thus has she soothed my mind
on this occasion, by whispering that my friends will be more solicitous to hasten
me a visit on the first opening of spring. But I feel a secret check forbid-
ing me to depend on any thing so precarious as human life: yet here do we
build;- and reversionary happiness beyond the gay prospects of time is little
estimated because less realized by the narrow and contracted perceptions of

I am most sincerely your friend
M Warren.
[The beginning of the next letter is not transcribed here.]