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Colonial and State Records of North Carolina
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Letter from John Penn to Thomas Person
Penn, John, 1740 or 1-1788
February 12, 1776
Volume 10, Pages 448-450

Letter from John Penn Delegate in the Continental Congress to Thomas Person.


Philada Feby 12th 1776.

Dear Sir,

I suppose you have heard before now that the Brave and Gallant General Montgomery is no more; he fell in an unsuccessful attack on the Town of Quebec the 31st of Decembr last. The particulars you will see in a newspaper. Our men have been able to keep the field and have continued the blockade as appears by letters of a late date; the Canadians in general are on our side, the People to the Northward have showed great Spirit on this occasion, a number having Immediately marched to Quebec on hearing of our repulse; there will be several thousands before the Town next month, so that I hope they will have easy work. From a newspaper I learn that Governor Martin has at length obtained his wishes. Administration having agreed to send seven Regiments to North Carolina, they were

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to have sailed the first of Decembr. General Clinton left Boston about three weeks ago, he called at New York last week to pay Governor Tryon a visit in order as it's thought to consult him what measures to persue when he gets to No Carolina and enquire the situation of the Country, as it is supposed he is to command the above force when arrived. I make no doubt but the Southern Provinces will soon be the Scene of action, as our enemies may hope to obtain greater success there than at the Northward. Will it not be necessary for your Committee to do something immediately for putting the Province in a Condition to oppose the designs of our enemies, and to desire the Convention to meet sooner than May in order to consult what steps may be necessary for you to take? The People to the Northward have Spirit and Resolution, which I doubt not will carry them victorious through this contest. I hope we to the Southward shall act like men determined to be free; it will perhaps be necessary for you to aid the recruiting service and to put the Malitia in such a situation as to be able to march at an early notice & to keep the Tories under; they have all been disarmed at New York which measure I believe will contribute to the Salvation of that Province. I don't know that a step of that kind could be taken with you, perhaps it would be dangerous. I expect the Waggon with the powder, drums, &c. will set off this week; you may depend nothing will be omitted by us to contrive you such necessary articles. Is there any preparation for making salt petre, gunpowder or guns? The House of Commons have approved of the King's speech and promised to support him. Should they persevere in their attempts to reduce us to a state of Slavery by carrying on this unnatural war with fire and sword, we must determine to act with unanimity and assume every power of Government for the purpose of Legislation, in order to be the better able to defend ourselves. We have obtained an order for 10,000 dollars for the use of our Province, which sum is ready whenever you think proper to call for it. I suppose the great expense you are at will oblige you to have some Continental money to prevent making so much Provincial as you will have occasion for, lest it depreciates in value; the great distance we are off and hearing so very seldom, gives me some concern lest matters of consequence happen without our hearing of it; one reason for our sending an express to inform you of the above is that I think the expence is nothing compared to the advantage it may be of. Please to remember me to my Friends to whom I had not time to
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write. For God's sake my Good Sir, encourage our People, animate them to dare even to die for their country. Our struggle I hope will not continue long—may unanimity and success crown your endeavours is the wish of

Dear Sir, your most obt Servt
JOHN PENN.

I send you some newspapers. I have been plagued with a pain in my head that I can hardly endure. Remember me to yr Lady.

J. P.