We, the subscribers, inhabitants of the town of Wilmington, warmly attached to the State of North Carolina, and strenuously
Humbly shew to His Excellency, the Governor, and the Honorable the Council, that we have been informed that orders have issued from your honorable board that the wives and children of Absentees should depart the State with a small part of their property in forty eight hours after notice given them.
It is not the province of our sex to reason deeply upon the policy of the order, but as it must affect the helpless and innocent, it wounds us with the most sincere distress and prompts our earnest supplication that the order may be arrested, and the officers forbid to carry it into execution. If it is intended as retaliation for the expulsion of some of us, the subscribers, by the British from the Town of Wilmington, and to gratify a resentment which such inhumanity to us may be supposed to have excited, its object is greatly mistaken.
Those whom your proclamation holds forth as marks of public vengeance, neither prompted the British order nor aided the execution of it. On the contrary, they expressed the greatest indignation at it, and with all their power strove to mitigate our sufferings. Still some instances attended which made the execution of it less distressing to us than yours must be to those upon whom it is intended to operate. We were ordered without the British Lines and then our friends were ready to receive us. They received us with a cordial welcome, and ministered to our wants with generosity and politeness. With pleasure we bear this public testimony. But our Town women now ordered out must be exposed to the extreme of human wretchedness. Their friends are in Charles Town; they have neither carriages nor horses to remove them by land, nor vessels to transport them by water, and the small pittance allotted them of their property, could they be procured, would be scarce equal to the purchase of them. It is beneath the character of the independent State of North Carolina to war with women and children. The authors of our ill treatment are the proper subjects of
If we may be allowed to claim any merit with the public for our steady adherence to the Whig principles of America; if our sufferings induced by that attachment have given us favor and esteem with your honorable body, we beg leave to assure you that we shall hold it as a very signal mark of your respect for us if you will condescend to suffer to remain amongst us our old friends and acquaintances whose husbands, though estranged from us in political opinions, have left wives and children much endeared to us, and who may live to be an honor to the State and to Society if permitted to continue here. The safety of this State, we trust in God, is now secured beyond the most powerful exertions of our Enemies, and it would be a system of abject weakness to fear the feeble efforts of women and children.