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Letter from Thomas W. Waldron to Meshech Weare



Dover, N˙ H˙, August 19, 1776.

HONOURABLE SIR: This is intended by Stephen Evans, Esq˙, who goes to Exeter on Mr˙ Mitchell' s affair, with an inventory of the goods in his store at Dover the 9th of July last. It was thought best that the new manoeuvre should be attended by the major part of our Committee. With reluctance I attended to make it a majority, and shuddered to think the first governmental act I was concerned in after a Declaration of Independency appeared oppressive. I declined signing the inventory as Chairman, at the same time


saying, if it was necessary it should have such a signature. I was ready to join in appointing another, the rather as I did not mean any court should have my name to an affair that appeared to me no better supported.

If the present struggle is to preserve the undelegated rights of Americans for themselves, posterity, and such as have or shall emigrate hither, and the McMasters (a set of Scotch pedlars, such as are to be found from end to end of the Continent where a boat from the sea can be waterborne,) are not friends to our endeavours for freedom, does it comport with any ideas of the liberty contended for, or the rectitude, justice, and honour intended by our liberation from island lords, to take from them or others, on slight evidence, their books, papers, and effects, without shadow of trial, and contrary to the practice of any but despotick States? and won' t it sound harsh in the ears of those we have or may invite to a connexion with us?

I suppose the act excluding the Stuart family was disagreeable to one-third at least of the people, yet I don' t remember to have heard of any coercive steps taken but against those who were in actual opposition to the Hanover succession; so if some few or many do not think our opposition to Ministerial mandates just, and keep within the line of their own affairs, how can it be avoided, seeing men have it no more in their power to think than look alike? (while the Colonies have reason to joy in unparalleled unanimity.) But these things apart, I suppose no step could have been taken so agreeable to the Company as that ordered by the Colony Committee; hence they will avail themselves by saying their goods are confiscated, and they thereby disenabled doing their creditors justice. Such ideas I realized and communicated to most of our Committee before the order about the goods was sent from Exeter hither.

As there are men at this day (and clothed with power, too) who smell treason in everything beyond their ken, as well as in ideas different from their own, (sublime ones,) these free thoughts are sent you, in full confidence that they will be kept from the eyes of such pests to everything valuable from the cradle to their coffin.

Wishing politeness, justice, and lenity among the shining characteristicks of the American States, and that the guides through present difficulties may have Divine direction, I am, honourable and dear sir, your most respectful, humble servant,

Hon˙ Meshech Weare, Esq˙, at Hampton Falls, or Exeter.