powered by google
Documenting the American South Logo
Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
Advanced Search Options
Letter from Josiah Martin to William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth
Martin, Josiah, 1737-1786
July 06, 1775
Volume 10, Pages 69-71

[B. P. R. O. Am. & W. Ind.: No. Carolina. No. 222.]
Letter from Governor Martin to the Earl of Dartmouth.

North Carolina, Fort Johnston, July 6th, 1775.

My Lord,

I have the honor to inform your Lordship that I received your several Dispatches by the Sandwich Packet yesterday, through the hands of Captain Tolemache Commander of His Majesty's Ship Scorpion, who has touched here on his way from Charles Town to Boston, for the sole purpose of delivering them, and giving me opportunity to communicate with General Gage which I have long wished for in vain, no mode of communication by sea having been yet Established by the Admiral or General, while all intercourse with them by land is entirely cut off, by the vigilance of the Committees appointed all over the Continent, which no Messenger or letter can escape, an omission greatly to be lamented, as it may be attended with the worst consequences to His Majesty's Service. A Servant of mine whom I had dispatched from hence to the Post Office at Wilmington for my letters three days ago, was stopped by the Committee of the little Town of Brunswick who obliged him to swear that he had no Letters for me before he was suffered to proceed. I cannot adequately express to your Lordship the indignation I felt on hearing from Captain Tolemache at the time of his delivering your Lordships Dispatches to me that they had been violated before they came to his hands by the Mob at Charles Town, which was certified upon the covers by Mr Roupell the Deputy Post Master General there, in these words, “Opened by the Committee of Inspection at Charles

-------------------- page 70 --------------------
Town. G. Roupell,” who writes to me also more particularly of this enormity, that is a most astonishing instance of licentiousness which I dare say your Lordship will hear of with no less amazement than I should have felt, if Mr Roupell in whose Custody some private letters of mine, that I sent lately to him by water to be forwarded, were violated by the Committee, had not in his letter relating that very extraordinary occurrence informed me that he had apprehensions of like violence being done to the Public Dispatches which should come by the Mail then in expectation, which the event has proved was but too well grounded, and which I confess I wonder a man of his prudence and integrity did not guard against by opening the Mail on Board one of His Majesty's Ships in the Harbour, as he has since resolved to do for the security of the future dispatches of Government.

I think it proper, that your Lordship may be able to determine whether any of your dispatches to me by the Sandwich Packet have been suppressed by the violators of them at Charles Town, to inform your Lordship that I have received by her Mail Duplicates of your Lordship's seperate Dispatch of the 3d of March, and of the two Circular and Private Dispatches referring thereto, of the same date, together with a duplicate of your Lordship's Dispatch No 15, original and duplicate of your Lordship's Letter signifying the King's pleasure concerning the authority of the Commander in Chief and the Major Generals and Brigadier Generals of His Majesty's Forces in America, and three letters from Mr Pownall covering Duplicates of the Addresses of the two Houses of Parliament to the King, and His Majesty's most gracious answer thereto, & printed Copies of 4 Acts of Parliament, the Proclamation of the States General prohibiting the exportation of military Stores and 20 Printed Copies of General Burgoyne's Speech. The vast advantages My Lord that I apprehend are to be made of the strength which this Province yields within itself, for the support of His Majesty's Government, not only here but in the neighbouring Provinces are in my opinion of the greatest importance and such as I think I cannot sufficiently recommend to your Lordship's attention, wherefore and as it is scarcely possible to state all the present circumstances of this Country at large, in a letter in such manner as to satisfy all inquiries, and to obviate all objections, I have engaged Mr Alexr Schaw whom I have now the honor to introduce to your Lordship to charge himself with this Letter, and my Dispatch No. 34. This Gentleman, I can

-------------------- page 71 --------------------
assure your Lordship with the utmost confidence, is qualified by his intelligence, his candour and his accurate observation, during some months that he has resided in this Colony, to give your Lordship every information that you can desire relative to its present condition and circumstances.

Mr Schaw My Lord is an officer in the Customs in the Island of St. Christophers, from which he has been absent by leave on his private concerns here, and was preparing to return to it, when Captain Tollemache's arrival presented me with so fair an occasion to employ him advantageously for His Majesty's Service, that I could not resist it, and having very readily obtained Mr Schaw's consent to undertake anything whereby I should think he could in the least advantage His Majesty's Service, and given him my assurance that I was persuaded the King and the Lords of the Treasury would acquit him of any neglect of his office while he was employed so much more importantly in the cause of Government, nothing remained but that I should engage Captn Tollemache to stay 48 hours beyond the time he had appointed for his departure for my Dispatches and Mr Schaw's necessary preparation, which that officer most politely agreed at my request to do, since it would in my opinion be for the advancement of His Majesty's Service. I beg leave therefore My Lord, to refer your Lordship to Mr Schaw for all information that may be wanted relative to this Colony firmly trusting that your Lordship will find him as intelligent and satisfactory in all respects as I think him.

I most humbly pray His Majesty's and your Lordship's forgiveness for observing on the King's Pleasure that the Major Generals and Brigadier Generals orders should be supreme in military Affairs throughout America (although I shall not fail most dutifully to obey it) will bear somewhat hard upon me, who have already had the honor to serve His Majesty in the Rank of Lieutenant Colonel, am now actually honored with the highest station in this Province, and the King's immediate Representative, and am able by my own influence, and weight in the country to collect within it a power that I may presume to say no other officer can, and with which I will engage to maintain His Majesty's Government here in all events, besides doing much more extensive service, if I am properly supported, and I most humbly submit my case to my Royal Master's most gracious consideration, with the most perfect resignation to His Majesty's Justice.

I have the honor to be
JO. MARTIN.