I have the honour to acquaint your Lordship that I arrived on the 1st instant with General Clinton and his division of the Army at this place where I find all manner of preparation going forward for the great scene that is likely to be opened on this theatre and which I most fervently hope will soon close with all honour and glory to the vigour and spirit and to the wisdom and magnanimity of Britain's Councils.
I am to pray your Lordship's pardon for the omission of some advices in my dispatches from North Carolina which I ought to
When General Clinton arrived in North Carolina in March provisions were extreemly scarce on board the ships there. At this time and soon afterwards no prohibition then known the Cruizers brought in Sundry American Vessels loaded with Rice, Bread and flour, &c.: all of which were locked up from use for want of some legal mode of proceeding against them. The Captors urged me to establish a Court of Vice Admiralty that their prizes might be brought to trial. The General saw it absolutely necessary that the Cargoes should be distributed for the immediate support of the ship's crews and the few soldiers who were there as well as the need there would be of such supplies when the number of mouths should increase by the arrival of the expected Armament from Ireland. The prohibiting Act of Parliament arrived while these matters were agitated; I saw My Lord that it contained no express restraint of the powers vested in me as his Majesty's Governor of that Province to constitute a Court of Vice Admiralty while it bore a manifest interdict to the Captors to bring their prizes into the Court of a Colony of a discription too corresponding with the then state of North Carolina. I represented this to the Captains of the King's Ships of War who acknowledged they were forbid by the Act to bring prizes into such Ports, alleging on the other hand that if following the letter of the Act they were obliged to send their prizes to distant Ports whence they might be tried, they should unman their ships and render them unfit for service, and that as they confidently relied on the expediency and necessity of the case for their indemnification they wished to hazard the trial of their prizes in a
My next omission My Lord was the neglect formerly to notify to your Lordship that with the approbation of General Clinton I hired the ship Jenny, John McNeil Master of three hundred and ten Tons burthern for the reception and accommodation of a number of his Majesty's faithfull subjects who fled to the Fleet in Cape Fear River for protection and could not be otherwise provided for; of this circumstance My Lord I shall think it proper at the present opportunity to advise the Lords Commissioners of his Majesty's Treasury and I shall humbly hope that my conduct in both these cases will meet with your Lordships approbation.
My best information since the unfortunate check of the loyalists in North Carolina (of which I had the honour to give your Lordship the minutest detail then in my power in my dispatch No. 1,) teaches me to think their good purpose was frustrated at least by egregious misconduct and that they would have made their way good even in the small force they appeared if they had been conducted with a little more prudence, the want of which cannot be enough lamented more especially as expense to Government was incurred in the course of that unlucky business.
I have now my Lord the sore mortification to find my family inaccessible at only twenty miles distance but I trust the time is at hand that will deliver them and me from misery, my share of which abstracted of the circumstances of my family's distress in a sort of Captivity that your Lordship will believe have not been a little afflicting to me, I leave to your Lordship to compute after observing that I have now spent nearly fourteen months on board divers ships under every possible disadvantage and inconvenience.