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Letter from Josiah Martin to William Legge, Earl of Dartmouth
Martin, Josiah, 1737-1786
January 12, 1776
Volume 10, Pages 406-409

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

No Carolina Scorpion Sloop of War
in Cape Fear River Janry 12th, 1776.

My Lord,

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Lordships Dispatches numbered 20, 21, & 22 together with a Copy of your Lordships letter to Major General Howe of the 22d of October delivered to me by Captain Furmeany of his Majesty's Ship Syren who arrived here on the third instant and proceeded on the Tenth to the Southward in execution of his Orders having been delayed here 'till then by contrary winds. Capt Furmeany took charge of your Lordship's Dispatches to his Majesty's Governors of the Southern Provinces that came enclosed to me, and those for Lord Dunmore Governor Eden and Governor Penn I had an opportunity of sending to Lord Dunmore by a Tender which sailed on Saturday last.

The measure of sending a body of his Majesty's Forces to the Succor of the friends of Government here and in the other Southern Provinces I trust will be attended with all the success and good consequences that his Majesty has been taught to expect from it and I can only lament that it has not been tried earlier before the King's loyal subjects had received the checks and discouragements they have met with and the Power of Rebellion had become so established and formidable.

My Latest information from the interior parts of the Province whence I have always represented to your Lordship that I expected to draw my principal support corresponds with my warmest wishes. The people called Regulators (for whom I hoped before this time to have received his Majesty's Pardon) to the number of between two and three thousand men have given me the strongest assurances of their joining the King's standard whenever they shall be called upon although not half of them are provided with arms and I have no doubt that much greater numbers will be found to resort to it besides the Scotch Emigrants. The Progress of Rebellion here, the concurring good dispositions of a body of the people of the County of Brunswick in this neighbourhood with the friends of Government

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in the back Country and the notable exertions of the King's loyal subjects at the same time in the upper parts of South Carolina had determined me before the receipt of your Lordship's late dispatches to avail myself immediately of the strength of his Majesty's faithfull subjects in this Province such as it might be rather than hazard their total subjection to the power of Rebellion by waiting for succour of which I saw no prospects and I had taken measures accordingly, but since I am informed by your Lordship of his Majesty's design to send a general Officer here with a body of regular Troops and that they may be expected in a short time I shall confine my views to the making every possible preparation in my power to favour and forward the General's plan of Operations, seeing it highly improper for me to hazard any check or contretems by drawing together the King's loyal subjects prematurely and taking the field with them unprovided of almost every necessary for carrying on War while I have the assurance and so near a prospect of support that will certainly render their exertions effectual.

The Scorpion Sloop of war on board which I had taken up my residence on her arrival here to relieve the Cruizer being ordered by Captain Thornborough Commr of his Majesty's Ships in South Carolina to join him immediately under apprehensions of being attacked by vessels the Rebels were fitted out at Charles Town against him, I found it expedient while I could effect nothing here to go there in her not only that Captain Thornborough should have the succour of the ship in his Emergency but that I might remonstrate her detention from her station here beyond absolute necessity while there was so great occasion for her in that Province, and have opportunity at the same time to inform myself of the measures of his Majesty's service that Lord William Campbell had most pressingly invited me to consult with him upon by a letter I had received from him some time before. On my arrival at Charles Town I found Capt Thornborough had ordered the Scorpion there at the instance of Lord William Campbell more than from any apprehensions he himself entertained of the naval force of the Rebels and on my representations he ordered her back to her station here but contrary winds detained us there so long and our voyage from thence was so tedious that at my return to this Place I had been a whole month absent, during which I suffered a degree of anxiety and sollicitude that it is impossible for me to describe to your Lordship. Happily however nothing had occurred here during

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my absence of the least consequence. I had the satisfaction to learn from Lord William Campbell who had no particular object to propose to me that a most commendable spirit of loyalty prevailed among the people in the interior parts of his Government [South Carolina] that they had actually defeated and reduced a large body of the Rebels to treat and were in expectation of further advantages if the Rebels from this Country did not interpose which was then dreaded and I have since had the mortification to hear that they marched a body of 600 Men under Alexander Martin and Thomas Polk from the Counties of Mecklenburg and Rowan [North Carolina] who put the Rebels of the Country in sufficient force to disarm the loyal people who had made so noble a stand and who were collecting strength so fast that they must have carried everything before them if it had been possible to afford them the least support. This check of the friends of Government in that Province is greatly to be lamented but I am hopeful nevertheless that they will again put themselves in motion as soon as I erect the King's standard here which I intend to do in time to hold the King's loyal subjects of this Province in a state of readiness to join his Majesty's forces now in expectation immediately on the arrival as nearly as that event may be computed.

The informations I have from time to time given your Lordship of the state of this Province have been founded on facts and on representation verified by the best evidence I could obtain in the situation, I have found myself, and whatever may appear to be the strength and disposition of the professed friends of Government here in the day of Trial, I can lay my hand upon my heart and with confidence declare I have ever most guardedly avoided falling into any deception myself or misleading your Lordship by any representations of mine.

This harbour of Cape Fear River I understand from the Officers of his Majesty's Ships now here will receive Frigates drawing not more than six feet water which would at any time be sufficient to cover the landing of any body of Troops, but as no opposition is to be expected on their landing at present it is very immaterial whether Men of War come into this River or not.

I am extreemly sorry My Lord to have made a proposition in my own behalf that your Lordship thinks it would be unjust to comply with and have only to hope that your Lordship will do me the justice to believe I could never have offered it if I had viewed it in

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that light. I thought I should have purchased at the dearest rate by raising a thousand Men for his Majesty's Service at my own expence, the restitution of the rank I formerly held in the Army, which I sold for much less than it cost me and only because I was lingering under the pressure of a long and painfull illness which I did not expect to survive. Your Lordship may depend I shall not fail to pay every attention to your dispatches Nos 15 & 19, which last has not yet reached my hands and I shall use my best endeavours to forward the success of Col: McLeans plan of recruiting out of the Scotch Emigrants here on to obtain them for the American Army in General.

Having no Amanuensis it is out of my power to transmit to your Lordship duplicates of my last two dispatches which I fear are still waiting at Charles Town for a Packet, a violent disorder in my eyes with which I have been afflicted for some days hardly permitting me to write with my own hand this letter.

I have the honor to enclose herewith the Proceedings of the last Provincial Congress held in this Colony at large which I did not attain 'till very lately.

I have the honor, &c.,
JO. MARTIN.