powered by google
Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Advanced Search Options
Letter from Thomas Howard, Earl of Effingham to William Wildman Barrington, Viscount Barrington
Effingham, Thomas Howard, Earl of, 1747-1791
April 12, 1775
Volume 09, Pages 1216-1217

[B. P. R. O. Am. & W. Ind. No. 222.]
[Extract from the Cape Fear Mercury of Monday, August 7th, 1775]
Letter from Lord Effingham to Lord Barrington, Secretary at War.

My Lord,

I beg the favour of your Lordship to lay before his Majesty the peculiar embarrassment of my present situation.

Your Lordship is no stranger to the conduct which I have observed in the unhappy disputes with our American Colonies.

The King is too just and too generous not to believe that the votes I have given in Parliament have been given according to the dictates of my conscience. Whether I have erred or not the course of future events must determine. In the mean time if I were capable of such duplicity as to be any way concerned in enforcing those measures of which I have so publicly and solemnly expressed my disapprobation I should ill deserve what I am most ambitious of obtaining the esteem and favourable opinion of my sovereign.

My request therefore to your Lordship is this, that after laying these circumstances before the King you will assure his Majesty that he has not a subject that is more ready than I am with the utmost Chearfulness to sacrifice his life and fortune in support of the safety honour and dignity of his Majesty's crown and person, but the very same principles which have inspired me with these unalterable sentiments of duty and affection to his Majesty will not suffer me to be

-------------------- page 1217 --------------------
instrumental in depriving any part of his people of those liberties which form the best security for their fidelity and obedience to his government. As I cannot without reproach from my own conscience consent to bear arms against my fellow subjects in America in what to my weak discernment is not a clear cause, and as it is now finally resolved that the 22d regiment is to go upon the American service I desire your Lordship to lay me in the most dutiful manner at his Majesty's feet and humbly beg that I may be permitted to retire.

Your Lordship will also be so obliging to intreat that as I waive what the custom of the service would entitle me to, the right of selling what I bought, I may be allowed to retain my rank in the army that whenever the envy or ambition of foreign powers should require it I may be enabled to serve his Majesty and my country in that way in which alone I can expect to serve them with any degree of effect.

Your Lordship will easily conceive the regret and mortification I feel at being necessitated to quit the military profession which has been that of my ancestors for many generations, to which I have been bred almost from my infancy, to which I have devoted the study of my life and to perfect myself in which I have sought instruction and service in whatever part of the world they were to be found.

I have delayed this to the last moment lest any wrong construction should be given to a conduct which is influenced only by the purest motives. I complain of nothing. I love my profession, and should think it highly blameable to quit any course of life in which I might be useful to the public so long as my constitutional principles and my notions of honour permitted me to continue in it.

I have the honour to be, with great respect,
Your Lordship's most obedient and most humble servt,
EFFINGHAM.

Adelphi Buildings, April 12th, 1775.