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Letter from Josiah Martin to Wills Hill, Marquis of Downshire
Martin, Josiah, 1737-1786
October 18, 1771
Volume 09, Pages 36-37

[B. P. R. O. Am. & W. Ind.: No. Carolina. Vol. 219.]
Governor Martin to the Earl of Hillsborough.


North Carolina New Bern October 18th 1771.

I have the honor herewith to transmit to your Lordship for His Majesty's Information, a list of the Names of the six Rebels who were sentenced to death by the special Court of Oyer and Terminer held at Hillsborough on the seventeenth day of June last and respited by Governor Tryon; that Gentleman having just informed me, by Letter that he had not made report of them: And at the same time My Lord, I humbly beg leave to join in his Recommendation of them for his Majesty's most Gracious Pardon, hoping that the Examples already made will be sufficient

Among the six Criminals who were executed pursuant to the sentence of the same Court My Lord, was one Robert Matear an egregious Offender but the only child of a very aged Father and Mother, who are good people and whose case much moves my compassion. The poor superanuated Man in confidence of his son's dutiful attachment, transferred to him his whole property not long before he entered into Rebellion, and it is now by his Treason become forfeit. Thus My Lord these most wretched Parents must at once lose their all, unless His Majesty in his great Mercy shall be graciously pleased to grant them possession of the Son's Lands and Goods, during their Lives. It is therefore a Boon My Lord, that common Charity engages me most earnestly to implore of his Majesty's Goodness.

By a letter I received this morning from the Sheriff of Guilford County many of whose Inhabitants took part in the late Insurrection it appears that the Spirit which raised that dangerous commotion is not yet totally extinguished there. He says he has met with some resistance in the Execution of his Office, that Magistrates and

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Officers are odious to the People who have so long lived in a lawless state and that their Hearts seem much inclined towards Hunter one of the outlawed Leaders of the Insurgents. It is not I think My Lord to be expected that the systematical opposition, which had been so long forming in this Province against Government should be instantly dissolved in the mind of every individual Time and a steady exact execution of the Laws it may be hoped will effect it, in the mean time some Acts of Violence may be apprehended, the Sheriff I am inclined to think sees things in the worst light, as all other accounts I have received from that Country assure me of the Peoples ready obedience to the Laws. Your Lordship may assure His Majesty that I will vigilantly attend to the disposition of the lately disaffected parts of this Country and take every measure in my power to support the honor of his Majesty's Government and to secure the peace of this Colony.

I received about a month ago by the Wives of Hunter and two other of the Outlaws, petitions in behalf of their Husbands from some of the Inhabitants of Orange and Guilford Counties; among the subscribers I understand there are very few people of Character and by the Number they do not by any means appear to have the general Countenance of those Counties.

It is said, that Husbands, the great promoter of sedition in this Country, finds sanctuary in Pensilvania, but I cannot learn certainly where.

I transmit herewith to your Lordship Copies of six Proclamations issued by Governor Tryon after his action with the Insurgents that his Majesty may be informed of his Exceptions in his Overtures of Mercey to those deluded people.

I am of Opinion My Lord that an act of Grace as extensive as His Majesty in his Great Wisdom and Clemency shall see fit to make it, will be attended with good Effect, and I therefore most humbly submit it to his Majesty's Royal Consideration

I have the honor to be &c
JO. MARTIN

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Names of respited Criminals Forrester Mercer James Stewart James Emmerson Hermon Cox William Brown & James Copeland.