Proclamation by Josiah Martin concerning loyalty to Great Britain
Martin, Josiah, 1737-1786
Volume 10, Pages 16-19
[B. P. R. O. Am. & W. Ind.: No. Carolina. No. 222.]
A Proclamation by Governor Martin.
Whereas I have received certain Information that sundry ill disposed persons have been, and are still going about the County of Brunswick and other counties of this Province, industriously propagating false, seditious and scandalous reports, derogatory to the honor and justice of the King and his Government, tending to excite the most unnatural jealousies and suspicions to create discord among the People, and to alienate their affections from His Majesty,
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giving out that the Parliament of Great Britain and the King's Ministers have formed designs to enslave His Majestys American subjects, by imposing upon them grievous and intolerable taxes, without the consent or participation of their Representatives in General Assembly, by vacating the Royal Grants under which the people hold their lands, and by depriving them entirely of the use and benefit of provincial Assemblies, and all other the Rights and Privileges they have heretofore enjoyed.
And whereas, I have undoubted information, that these evil minded persons, by such, and numberless other, most wicked, vile, false, and inflammatory suggestions, and insinuations, of the like nature, are endeavouring to engage the People to subscribe papers obliging themselves to be prepared with Arms, to array themselves in companies, and to submit to the illegal and usurped authorities of Committees, covering their flagitious, and abominable designs with pretended apprehensions of intestine insurrections, and professions of duty and allegiance to the King, in order the more effectually to deceive and betray the innocent and unwary people into the most flagrant violations thereof.
And whereas, among other wicked devices, calculated to mislead and impose upon the People, it is attempted to infuse into their minds the belief that the Parliament and His Majesty's Ministers are pursuing measures against America contrary to the sense of His Majesty, and subversive of his Government; and that the illegal combinations which the People are invited to enter into are intended to support His Majesty against the evil designs of the said Parliament and Ministers.
And whereas the incendiaries who spread these false and seditious reports, where they fail by such base deceits and artifices to seduce His Majesty's Loyal and faithful subjects to join in their licentious and criminal combinations proceeded to the extravagance of threatening individuals with tarring and feathering, with seizing their lands and properties and making division thereof among the deluded followers, and menacing them even with death, if they should persevere in their duty to their sovereign, and the laws of their Country, to the great terror and dismay of many of His Majesties said loyal and faithful Subjects; I have thought it proper, and indispensibly necessary, in discharge of my Duty to the King and to His Majesties Subjects within this Province, to issue this Proclamation, to prevent their being misled to ruin and destruction, by such
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false, seditious, infamous and groundless reports and suggestions, that are the base contrivances of desperate, unprincipled, ignorant and abandoned men, to make the People instrumental to the horrid purposes of their own lawless ambition, to which they are seeming to sacrifice the dearest Rights and Privileges of the People, while they are pretending to defend them from invasions and encroachments that are meditated only by themselves. And I do hereby solemnly assure His Majesty's People of this Province, that the King, His Parliament, and Ministers, so far from being divided in their councils as has been falsely represented to the People by fools of faction, are in the strictest harmony, and pursue the plans concerted for the safety and welfare of the Empire, with the utmost unanimity and firmness. That with regard to taxation in America, it appears by a late resolution of the House of Commons, which has been made public, to be the sense of that Branch of the British Parliament, that the King's Subjects in the Provinces of America should be required to tax themselves by their respective General Assemblies, only their contingent proportions towards defraying the charge of the general defence of the British Empire, according to their several circumstances and abilities, and for their own civil Government and the Administration of Justice, the generosity and equity of which propositions, founded on the equal protection that the fleets and armies of His Majesty afford to the Subjects in the European and American Dominions, can never be denied, nor such contribution refused, upon any principle of reason or justice, by the People of America, while they wish to enjoy the blessings of the British Constitution, and the advantages of British Trade, that can only be preserved by the superior power and strength of the Empire and its constant readiness to resist the attempts of the jealous and powerful states of Europe, that are ever vigilant to reduce her power, and to abridge her commerce, which is the great source and support of it. And I do further assure the good People of this Province that there is nothing more foreign to the intentions of His Majesty, His Parliament and Ministry, than the designs, falsely and groundlessly imputed to them, of vacating the Royal Patents, under which the King's Subjects hold their lands, and of resuming the same, and of depriving them of the use and benefit of General Assemblies; and that such reports are base artifices, calculated by the promoters of sedition, to seduce the people from their Duty, and to delude them into their dangerous combinations and
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confederacies which are repugnant to every idea of liberty, and subversive of the British Constitution. And I do moreover think it my duty, in tenderness to the people of this Province, and to prevent their being deceived and deluded by the tools of sedition, to their ruin and destruction, to declare to them that they can only hazard the loss of their lands by following the wicked and pernicious counsels of the abandoned inventors of those unparalleled falsehoods, which are contrived to involve them in crimes of the most dangerous nature that will inevitably expose them, not only to the forfeiture of their lands and properties, but to the loss of life, and everything they hold dear and valuable.
Wherefore I do most earnestly exhort and advise all His Majesty's liege Subjects within this Province, firmly and steadfastly to withstand and resist all attempts of the seditious to seduce them from the duty and allegiance they owe to His Majesty, and the Laws, and Constitution of their Country; and that they do by no means, degrade themselves by submitting to the Regulations of Committees, or any other such illegal, usurped, unconstitutional authorities whatsoever; Hereby most solemnly pledging myself to the people of this Colony for His Majesty's most gracious protection of all his dutiful and faithful Subjects, in the free and full enjoyment of all their constitutional Rights, liberties and privileges; and I do hereby strictly charge and command all His Majesties Justices of the Peace, Sheriffs and other officers and Ministers to be aiding and assisting to the utmost of their power, in counteracting and opposing all Promoters of Sedition, and Disturbers of the Peace and tranquility of this Colony.
Given under my Hand and the Great Seal of the said Province, at Fort Johnston, this sixteenth day of June 1775, and in the fifteenth year of His Majesty's Reign.
By His Excellency's Command, Alexander Maclean pro. James Biggleston, D. Sec.
God save the King.