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Letter from Josiah Martin to William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth
Martin, Josiah, 1737-1786
July 17, 1775
Volume 10, Pages 100-102

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

Cruizer Sloop of War in Cape Fear River,
No. Carolina, July 17th, 1775.

My Lord,

I have the honor to acquaint your Lordship, that seeing disorder gaining ground here very fast, and that it will be absolutely necessary for the support of His Majesty's Government, to put the friends of it in this Colony in motion, as soon as I am provided with those means that are necessary to employ their strength with effect, and finding my self under the necessity, pursuant to His Majesty's Royal Instructions, of advising with the Council almost in every case that can occur, whereby my best concerted measures for the King's Service may be betrayed and defeated, by the indiscretion or treachery of any Member of that Body, I have thought it indispensibly my Duty, under these critical circumstances, to suspend Mr Dry Collector of the Customs at Fort Brunswick in this Province from his Seat in the Council. The motives My Lord which have influenced me to take this step, are Mr Dry's extreme weakness and indiscretion, which render him altogether unfit for, and unworthy of any participation in the Councils and Administrations of Government at all times, as I have before had the honor to represent to your Lordship but I have other more peculiar reasons for suspending him, now that I shall be obliged to entrust the most confidential and secret, as well as most momentous affairs of Government with the Council, founded on his notorious unreserved and frequent avowals of his inclinations

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and favour to the present unprincipled revolt in America, by which imprudence and extravagence, so inconsistent with his interest as well as his duty, I am sure he has astonished even the foremost Leaders of sedition. His absurd conversations and declarations being of late repeatedly reported to me, I have been induced by my respect and regard for his family connections, and by feelings of tenderness that his good nature and unbounded hospitality have excited in me, to admonish him twice very recently of the imprudence and baseness of such a conduct, and of the inevitable consequences of his persisting in it.

Yet My Lord in spite of these friendly warnings I have credible information that Mr Dry who denied to me every charge I brought against him (though I confess not with that hardness which candor and truth inspire) has since given greater proofs of his indisposition to the cause of Government, and I have evidence of his folly transporting him so far as to toast success to the Arms of America at his own house where he had shamelessly invited some People from South Carolina, knowing them to be sent hither in the character of recruiting officers to raise men to act against His Majesty's Government, which last unpardonable and traitorous display of his mind, at once finally determined me to suspend him from the Council, and if your Lordship had not given me reason in the case of Mr Malcom to suppose that my powers from His Majesty do not extend to the suspension of officers of the Customs, I should have thought it no less fit and proper to suspend Mr Dry from his office of Collector.

My reasons My Lord for doing this Act of myself and without the participation of the Council according to the Rules prescribed by His Majesty's Royal Instructions, were that in the present circumstances of things, from the remoteness of their residence, the difficulty of communication on account of the vigilant impertinence of Committees, the obnoxiousness of the Chief Justice to the Mob, and the infirmity of Mr Cornell who lives also as far off, I am not able to draw together more than four or five Members, who although convinced of Mr Dry's general disqualifications, and his present particular misbehaviour, would find themselves embarrassed to decide unfavourably upon him, upon the principle of his espousing American licentiousness, lest it should expose them to its abuse and fury, of which there is but too probable danger, in which case I should think myself still obliged to do of myself what I have now done to

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save them from the difficulty and hazard, that might attend their concurrence in my resolution.

I have only to add My Lord, that I hope the measure I have taken with Mr Dry will meet with the King's approbation as well as that of your Lordship in assurance that it is the pure result of my sense of duty to my Royal Master, and the Welfare and Dignity of His Government, and the truest devotion and attachment to His Majesty's Service.

I have the honor &c
JO. MARTIN.