Letter from Josiah Martin to Thomas Gage
Martin, Josiah, 1737-1786
Volume 09, Pages 1166-1168
[B. P. R. O. Am. & W. Ind.: No. Carolina. No. 222.]
Letter from Governor Martin to General Gage.
No Carolina, New Bern, March 16th 1775.
I should have paid my respects to your Excellency oftner since your return to your command in America if I had not been restrained by the consideration of your having your hands too full of employment to admit of complimentary intrusions.
The state of this Province has been till lately so perfectly like that of the neighboring Colonies that I have had nothing material to communicate to your Excellency in relation to it, and in your present circumstances I thought it unavailing to detail to you the growth and progress of sedition and revolt in this Country, that hath been in no sort particular, while I was assured your Excellency could afford me no effectual remedy against the present Spirit of Licentiousness.
The case Sir is now altered; the people in some parts of this Country begin to open their eyes and to see through the artifices and
-------------------- page 1167
delusions by which they have been misled, and they discover good dispositions to renounce the power and authority of the committees that have been appointed by the recommendation of the Congress which have proceeded in some instances to arbitrary and intolerable exertions of power, and they appear inclined to disengage themselves entirely from the bondage which those little combinations seem to be preparing for them. Many of the Inhabitants in several Counties of this Province have already by their addresses to me disclaimed all obedience to those illegal tribunals and expressed in the strongest terms the most loyal and dutiful attachment to his Majesty and the firmest resolution to maintain and defend the Constitution and Laws of their country. I have given every encouragement in my power to these good presages and I have no doubt that the people in the Western Counties of this Province, which are by far the most populous, will generally unite in support of Government in this case, and with the aid of a considerable Body of Highlanders in the midland counties who have already given me the best proofs of their attachment to Government and in whose zeal and steadfast loyalty I can safely confide if your Excellency shall assist me with two or three Stands of arms and good store of ammunition, of which last we are totally destitute, I will be answerable to maintain the Sovereignty of this County to his Majesty if the present spirit of resistence which runs high in Virginia and has infected many parts of this Colony should urge matters to the extremity that the People of New England seem to be meditating if any credit may be given to the insulting Gasconading of their abet ors among us.
As the movements of this part of the continent will be governed by the impulses of the people of New England your Excellency by your observation of them will be a judge of the proper season to strengthen the hands of the friends to Government here with the aids I have mentioned.
I am told it has been moved in one of the Committees to attack Fort Johnston, but the motion was overruled and I believe they will think of it often before they execute such a design. If contrary to my expectation however an attempt of this sort is made, it will be to be lamented that the Fort is totally unprovided with powder but I am sure under every circumstance I may expect the most resolute defence of it from the Gallantry of Captain Collet—to whom I wish your Excellency may think it expedient to send a supply of powder.
-------------------- page 1168
Mrs Martin desires to join me in best Compliments to your Excellency and to Mrs Gage and your Family.
I have the honor to be &c.,