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Letter from David Wardrobe to Archibald Provan


The following is a copy of the Letter referred to in the foregoing Proceedings:

Extract of a Letter from a gentleman in WESTMORELAND County, VIRGINIA, to his friend in GLASGOW, dated JUNE 30: from the GLASGOW JOURNAL of August 18, 1774.

As the present situation of affairs in this country is alarming, I make no doubt some account of them will be agreeable to you.

The Virginians (and indeed most of the Colonies) look upon the late Act of Parliament for blocking up the Harbour of Boston, and new modelling their Charter, as a thing that may one day or other happen to themselves; they, therefore, resolved to stand the friends and espouse the interest of the Bostonians, as far as lies in their power, and for that purpose they are forming Associations not to import any commodities from Great Britain, nor to export any of their own, until such time as the said Act is repealed. There is great clamour here against the Ministry at home. In the County of Richmond, about ten days ago, I saw an elegant effigy of Lord North hanged and burned in the midst of a vast concourse of people. I was particularly attentive to the countenances of the spectators, and was really pleased to see so very few express any outward signs of approbation on the occasion; there were, indeed, a few gentlemen who seemed to enjoy an ill-natured satisfaction at it, which they expressed by a loud huzza, and plenty of d—s. Then Parker, who is the King' s Attorney for the County of Westmoreland, mounted on an eminence, and harangued the people, acquainting them of the efforts Parliament had made to abridge them of their liberties, and many more that would be made if they were not now unanimous and steady in their Resolves of breaking off all commercial connections with Great Britain until the said Act of Parliament be repealed, and the right they have assumed for taxing America be given up, and American freedom ascertained and settled upon a permanent and constitutional foundation. Yesterday we had a meeting of the Freeholders of this County at our Court House, where there were some of the greatest men in the Colony encouraging the common people to a like steady adherence to the aforesaid plan. These late meetings have been only to feel how the pulse of the common people beat; the Grand Meetings for signing the Association will not be until August, and then it will be four or five months more before the commencement of a discontinuation of exportation and importation.

If every Merchant in the Colony would fall upon the same scheme that four eminent Merchants of this County this day resolved upon, I do not know whether there would need to be such a bustle about, importing and exporting. Their resolves are, that, as the Courts of Justice are discontinued, they think it prudent and necessary not to sell any thing but for ready money, or the ready produce of the country; they have, therefore, publickly advertised that no person need apply to them for any thing without they come furnished with one or the other of these materials. Credit is a thing so very common here that there is not one person in a hundred who pays the ready money, for the goods he takes up, to a store, and consequently they will be beginning to feel the ill effects before the day of signing. I forgot to tell you they have put a stop to the Courts of Justice, in order that none need be under any apprehension of distress by the Merchants during their Non-Importation.


It is true they always had the good fortune as yet to have a repeal of any thing that has been against them, even upon the very first mention of their Resolves; but you may believe me, if the present Act should be continued, their Resolutions will soon fail them, for I am convinced that the disadvantage they must labour under by adopting such a plan will be so great that had it been imposed upon them they would think it the greatest evil that ever befell them since they were a Colony.