genthod

If I knew how to thank you for your letter, I would do it, but as the case is, you must be satisfied, my dear Laurens, with my telling you that it gave me the highest pleasure.  Continue to write to me whatever Carolina news you can pick up, that you think capable of interesting a Carolinian, and one too that loves his native country; whatever may be your idea of my manner of thinking in political affairs, don’t let that hinder you from telling me yours, and I promise to be as free with you: we hold too fast by one anothers hearts, my dear Laurens, to be afraid of exposing our several opinions to each other.  Desirous of getting to the bottom of the present dispute between Great Britain, and America I have taken, what appears to me, the best road for that purpose; I have consulted the Original Charters, and the records of Parliament, and the result of my research is, that, in point of right, we are evidently in the wrong.  When I say in point of right, I mean, as far as it can be determined by contracts passed in the most solemn manner between the two parties_ Those who allow this, object that the increase of riches and strength in the Colonies make it ridiculous to expect that they should be satisfied with the conditions, granted a hundred years to a company of English merchants, and a few distressed families;

this is true, but then why do our country men cry out for the full execution of their charters?  Why do they appeal to history?_ in doing so they act as ridiculously as those Englishmen, who haunt the times of Queen Elizabeth, the most despotick Monarch, that ever sat upon an European throne, and complain of the violation of Magna Charta, which, though it contains the latent seeds of the present constitution, would, were the English governed up to the spirit of it in every article, be a terrible instrument in the hands of their King._  If we feel ourselves in capable of remaining in the same situation with regard to Great Britain which is was intended in the beginning we should, why not boldly hoist the glorious standard of Liberty, without having recourse to Charters, and treaties upon the faith of which we must stand condemned in the eyes of all impartial judges?  Why not plead the law of necessity, which has sanctified the most flagrant violations of the English Constitution?_  Provided the Americans are not rash enough to risk a battle, which I am afraid will be the case, what you say with regards to the future success of the British forces is certainly true_ But suppose us prudent enough to remain in the back country, and suppose too that the views of those who look for a total separation be fulfilled,_ tell me, my friend, what is the horoscope you draw of our future situation when left to ourselves?

For my part I sincerely wish well to my native country, and did I think that it was in the power of any being to give an immediate direction to the order of things, and that prayers would have any influence upon him, mine should be constantly employed, in order to procure a lasting union between Great Britain and her colonies.  Before this common dispute united us not two coquettes at a ball were more jealous of one another than two American provinces, and not withstanding all our temporary professions of brotherly love and friendship, I am certain that were Great Britain to grant us whatever we demand (and what it is I have been never able to find out) this would soon again be the case:_ were we to become entirely independent, I shudder at the consequences.  To think of uniting in one republic the inhabitants of so extensive a coast is as ridiculous as to think of making one common element of two directly opposite ones,_ different governments would rise up in every quarter, the North would conquer the South, and did any great man appear with Superior talents, they would only enable him to enslave his countrymen.  A republican form of government too unless it be an entire aristocracy which is the one our patriots seem to build their hopes upon, would be consistent with no part of America, the situation of the inhabitants upon the banks of the sea, would tempt them to renew their commerce,_ commerce would soon produce riches etc._ in the Southern colonies our climate would rebel against any government that called for Virtue in the members of it (I mean Virtue in the sense of Montesqieu)_ to return to the divisions that would take place amongst us, they would serve to weaken us in such manner that we should fall a prey to the first European Power that chose to attack us, as Greece was swallowed up by the Roman Army.  How you might like an Aristocratical government provided you were one of the Aristocracy I can not be certain, but I am, that you would find a democratical one unsupportable._

For my part though I would rather not exist than be the slave of a despot, yet is the height of my wishes to live the subject of a monarch_ In a democracy you are condemned to a hateful mediocrity, and the desire of excelling in any respect, though perhaps not really so is always looked upon as shocking the spirit of the constitution._  to be confounded in a heap of butchers, bakers, blacksmiths etc._ is dreadful for a man of any education, or feeling_ in an aristocracy a hundred in an hundred and ten are cut of[f] from all hopes of power and preferment, and the happy ten are constrained to observe a forced moderation with regard to the others_ but in a Monarchy every generous principle of the mind is developed,_ Honour instils a warmth into the soul which pushes on to great actions, ambition becomes a virtue, and the hand of a King_ but where am I running to?_ Forgive, dear Laurens, this length of letter, and a repetition of what you must have already often heard from others and from myself in point of politics, and principle._

I have taken a house at Genthod near Mon. Bonnet_ I shall spend the summer there_ next winter in Italy_ and the next in Carolina.  I need not tell you that I would not open my mind upon Carolina affairs to every body.

Manigault goes on exceedingly well.  I have advised him to take lessons of de Vegobre, he has so, and they are quite friends at present.  Smith I never see, and indeed no other Englishman but Manigault, I say Englishman, according to the common manner of speaking.  If you see any one I know, among the Carolinians of your acquaintance present my compliments; I would not be thought to have forgot them or my country._ Be certain that I never shall forget you_

Adieu.  F. Kinloch.

I admire your ideas of slavery_ I heartily agree with you, but at the same time can not flatter myself that our country men will ever adopt such generous principles._

Write to me.  I should thank you for Price.

— 

Francis Kinloch to John Laurens, in a letter dated April 28, 1776

This is what I have termed the “breakup letter” which led to the major falling out between Kinloch and Laurens.

Transcription provided by Greg Massey