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Letter from Francis Nash and Thomas Hart to Edmund Fanning
Nash, Francis, 1720-1777; Hart, Thomas, d. 1808
April 17, 1768
Volume 07, Pages 710-712

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[B. P. R. O. A. & W. I. N. C. No. 216.]
Francis Nash and Thomas Hart Esquires to Edmund Fanning,
Letter, received at Halifax the 19th of April, on the 20th sett off
for Hillsborough.

Hillsborough Sunday morng 17th [April] 1768.

Dear Sir,

Captain Hart and myself are desired by Colo Gray to write to you, and inform you that he received your letter on this unhappy occasion which he immediately endeavoured, to have put in execution by giving orders to the several Captains, to raise their Companies, and meet him at Colo Mebanes on Saturday last, where he attended in person in order to have such of the several Companies as should be thought sufficient to apprehend those mentioned in the Chief Justice's Warrant and to endeavour to suppress, that spirit of rebellion and disaffection to Government, which I am sorry to say seems so universally to reign through out the whole Country, but greatly to his concern and astonishment, out of the seven Companies ordered to meet, there were not above 120 appeared, with Arms, and out of those, so few who did not either openly declare in favour of the Mob or such who chose to stand neutral that he found it all this time impracticable to raise as many of the Militia as would be able to make the least opposition against them. He therefore with the advice and consent of the several Officers who were then present thought it most advisable in order in some measure to break the edge of the People's resentment, who would no doubt be greatly exasperated and flushed with success, at our having made an attempt to raise the Militia, and failing in it, he thought it most prudent to propose a kind of treaty with the leading and most reasonable men of the rioters, for which purpose Captain Hart, Captain Thompson, Captain Mebane, and myself are appointed to meet them on Wednesday next, the purpose of which is designed as nothing more than to keep them from making any violent Attempt upon those who have appeared openly against them, or upon the Town to which they threaten Destruction until some measures can be fallen upon for the suppression of them, which by the by we are afraid will be extremely difficult for such a spirit of rebellion, Disobedience and Disaffection to Government I never could have suspected any people of much less the people of

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Orange. Whether our conduct in submitting so far as to propose a Treaty with them will be approved of or not we cannot tell, but Sir you may depend it was dire necessity which compelled us to it, for I really do think that such is the universal dissatisfaction of the People throughout the whole Country with their Officers and leading men, that on this occasion I don't believe 150 men could be raised in the whole County of Orange who would with firmness and resolution follow their Officers, so that we hope Sir, you will have time before you come into the County again maturely & deliberately to consider the matter, and to take such prudent measures, as you shall judge most advisable. If we might advise Sir, we really think it a matter worthy the Governor's notice, as we are apprehensive a force must be brought from some other part of the Province, in order to enforce obedience to the Laws of the Country and to punish those who have in so open and violent a manner stood in opposition to them, by flying in the face of authority. In short Sir, the matter is of so new & of so extraordinary a nature to us that we are at the greatest loss what is to be done, but certain we are, that unless some measures can be fallen upon, of suppressing and bringing to justice those who have offended that no man will be safe among us in the possession either of his life or property, and that it will end in ruin and destruction among ourselves—and as we think their greatest resentment seems to be levelled at you, as being one of the Assembly who have taxed them, and as being at the head of affairs here, We beg you would as you regard your safety look upon the matter, in a serious light and if it was possible that you might be so long spared from your business we should submit it to you, whether it would not be best to see His Excellency yourself before you come up—however that we leave entirely to your own discretion, & would only mention that all the Officers who were assembled behaved with the utmost loyalty, firmness and resolution, and to a man would, I believe venture their lives and fortunes in the support of any measures that may be fallen upon for the suppression and punishment of such lawless and rebellious Crew—Indeed the most of them look upon themselves in imminent danger, from the open and unreserved manner, in which they have expressed their abhorrence and Detestation of such a Proceedure—And as an instance of the Evil & destructive consequence that naturally follows, from such rebellious and disorderly violation of the Laws, we are creditably
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informed that Mr Strudwicks Tenants almost to a man have entered into an association among themselves to keep forcible possession of his lands and for that purpose, had a meeting yesterday in the Haw Fields. We beg you will lose no time in sending us back an Answer, as we shall be extremely impatient to hear from you—In the meantime we are with the greatest regard and esteem Dear Sir

Your most obedient servants &c
F NASH
THOS. HART.