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Letter from the Wilmington Committee of Safety to Josiah Martin
Wilmington (N.C.). Committee of Safety
February 27, 1776
Volume 10, Pages 478-479

No. 3.

The Inhabitants of Wilmington by their representatives in committee in answer to your Excellency's demand of one thousand Barrels of flour for his Majesty's service, beg leave to assure your Excellency, that they have been always most cordially disposed to promote his Majesty's real service, which they think consistent only with the good of the whole British empire. But the Inhabitants are astonished at the quantum of your Excellency's requisition, as they cannot conceive what service his Majesty has in this part of the world for so much flour. In the most quiet & peaceable Times, when the Ports were open and Trade flourished, it would have been impossible to procure such a quantity in this Town in so short a time as your Excellency mentions. How then can your Excellency expect a compliance from the Inhabitants of Wilmington during the present stagnation of commerce? At a Time too, when you well know that an army raised and commissioned by your Excellency hath been for some Time possessed of Cross Creek and the adjacent country from whence only we can expect the Article you have thought proper to Demand.

We can with Truth assure your Excellency that it is not in our power to comply with your requisition either in whole or in part, many of the Inhabitants having for sometime past wanted flour for private use, and the dread of Military Execution by the Ships of War hath induced most of the Inhabitants to remove their effects. The Inhabitants Sir, sincerely wish they had not reason to suspect that your Excellency's Demand is only a prelude to the intended destruction of the devoted Town of Wilmington. If this should be the

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case, it will not however make any alteration in their determination. It will be their duty to defend their property to the utmost and if they do not succeed altogether to their wish, they have one consolation left, that their friends will in a few days have it in their power to make ample retribution upon those whom your excellency thinks proper to dignify with the epithets of friends to Government. These faithless and selfish people are now surrounded by three armies above four times their number and the Town of Cross Creek now in our hands will make some, though a very inadequate, compensation for the destruction of Wilmington.

This Sir is no boast and we would not treat your Excellency with so much disrespect as to make use of Threats. The Accot we have given you is sacredly true and we have the most convincing proofs of it in our possession. I have the honour to be by order of the Committee

Sir Your Excellencys most obed. Serv.