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Resolutions of the Congress Approval of by the House


Mr˙ Treasurer reported, from the Committee appointed on Thursday last to draw up an Address to be presented


to the Governour, that the Committee had drawn up an Address accordingly; which they had directed him to report to the House; and he read the same in his place, and afterwards delivered it in at the Clerk' s, table, where the same was read, and is as followeth, viz:

MY LORD: The House of Burgesses received your Lordship' s written Message of the tenth instant, in answer to the joint Address of His Majesty' s Honourable Council and this House, with equal concern and amazement. We were totally unprepared for so severe and cruel a return to the respectful application made to your Lordship, solely dictated by our duty to His Majesty, and the most earnest desire of contributing every thing in our power towards promoting, as well your Lordship' s own happiness, as that of your lady and whole family; this step we hoped would have proved the happy means of restoring that tranquillity and harmony you were pleased to flatter us with your earnest wishes to have established.

Who were the peculiar objects of your tenderness, that you so kindly, in favour to them, declined a particular enumeration, we know not; but are sorry that your Lordship had so little feeling for the honour and integrity of this House. You have now, my Lord, driven us to the disagreeable necessity of inquiring minutely into the causes of the late disturbances in this Country. It is not with the most distant inclination to give your Lordship the slightest umbrage that we engage in so irksome a task, but purely to do justice to our much injured Country, that we recur to different and some distant transactions.

The charges of disloyalty and disaffection in our countrymen to our most gracious Sovereign and his Government, as insinuated in your Lordship' s message, and some other publick acts, are as grievous as they are unmerited. Words, we know, are too often but empty sounds. We appeal not to our professions, however sincere, but to facts of publick notoriety. The loyalty of this His Majesty' s most ancient Colony, stands confessed, as recorded by many of your worthy predecessors. We will presume to carry your attention no further back than to the administration of a Governour immediately preceding your Lordship. Previous to his coming over to Virginia, there had arisen some unhappy disputes between Great Britain and the Colonies. His Majesty was graciously pleaded to send over to us, from his immediate presence, the truly noble Lord Botetourt, who told us, that he had received it in command from His Majesty to do justice, and maintain the rights of all his subjects. He cheerfully entered upon the duties of his exalted station, in which he acted as a true representative of his royal master, at once supporting the dignity of his Crown, dispensing the utmost justice, and diffusing benevolence throughout the Country. By his exemplary conduct in all respects, he accomplished what he deemed a glorious work: be gave us tranquillity and happiness. Indeed, he was often heard to declare, that the business of a Governour of Virginia was much easier than he could have conceived, as he found that the Government almost executed itself. Matters were not at that time carried on and precipitated with so high a hand on the other side of the water, as at present. This probably was owing to his minutely examining every subject to the bottom himself — taking nothing upon trust; to his discountenancing tale-bearers and malicious informers; and, at last, making a faithful representation of things as he found them. In a short, too short a time, for the happiness of Virginia, it pleased God to remove him from us.

When we received the account of your Lordship' s appointment, we indulged the pleasing hope that we should again be made happy in a ruler; and when you were pleased to honour us with your presence, we vied with each other in endeavouring to make your administration easy and agreeable. Upon the report that your lady and family were coming over to you, every one, we believe, who heard it was eager in expectation of an event which was like to give addition to your happiness; we received her Ladyship and your children with every expression of heartfelt joy, and have considered our countrymen as exceedingly happy in having such respectable pledge amongst them.

Changes, my Lord, seldom happen without some sufficient cause. If, therefore, you have, or think you have, discovered any alteration in the sentiments or behaviour of


those you preside over, it may be worth your while, as well as ours, to search out the reason of it. Respect, my Lord, is not to be obtained by force from a free people. If genuine, it must be a perfect volunteer; and nothing is so likely to ensure it to one in your station as dignity of character, a candid and exemplary conduct. We decline, on this occasion, a discussion of the subject unhappily in dispute between Great Britain and the Colonies. We presume not to interfere with your authority in summoning or dissolving Assemblies, when, by advice of your Council, you think there is proper occasion. What we claim as an act of justice, is, that our conduct should be fairly and impartially represented to our Sovereign. We do not mean to insinuate that your Lordship would, designedly, misrepresent facts; but it is much to be feared that you too easily give credit to some designing persons, who, to the great injury of this community, possess much too large a share of your confidence.

We have seen, my Lord, the copy of a letter you were pleased to write to: the Earl of Dartmouth, dated the 29th of May, 1774. The, design of the then Assembly was entirely misconceived, and the ill impressions your Lordship' s letter may have made on the minds of His Majesty and his Ministers, prove how dangerous it is, and how very unjust it may be, to attempt penetrating the thoughts of others, when they are not certainly known. Suspicions, we humbly conceive, can never justify direct and positive accusations. Men, we know, differ in religious sentiments; some may believe in the superintendence of a Providence, and that the care, especially of Nations, is an object of Divine goodness; whilst others may think, or affect to treat this, as well as other matters which our religion teaches, as things merely chimerical. We have likewise seen an authentick copy of extracts, of another of your Lordship' s letters to the same noble Earl, dated the 24th of December, 1774. The more injurious the unfavourable representations contained in this letter were likely to be to this Country, the more careful we should have hoped your Lordship would have been in examining the evidences of the facts stated. Your Lordship had been pleased to represent, in the first letter, our House of Burgesses as fond of having it thought that a determined resolution to deny and oppose the authority of Parliament, always originates with them. Whether this was intended to draw down the particular, resentment of Parliament on this Country, your Lordship can best determine. They have, indeed, protested against the power of Parliament, when they thought it extended contrary to the principles of the Constitution; but we do not know that they ever affected to take the lead of the other Colonies in this, or any other measure. The times of entering their protestations were merely accidental, as circumstances happened; and It is notorious, that the subject of the present complaint had been under the consideration of some of the other Colonies before the. Virginians took it up.

It would seem, from your Lordship' s letter of the 24th of December, that the Association adopted by the General Congress was first recommended from Virginia; whereas the truth is, that in Virginia nothing more was resolved against, at first, than the importation and use of East-India commodities. The General Non-Export and Non-Import Agreement came first recommended to us from several of the Northern Colonies; this, we own, makes no difference now, as the several Colonies have united in the Association. It is only remarked, since this circumstance seems to have been thought material, as no strong testimony of a kind disposition in your Lordship towards this Country. That Committees were chosen, in the several Counties, is admitted: the design of them was to observe the conduct of those who were inimical to the interest of the Country. They were required to publish the names of all transgressors, that the Country might know their friends from their foes. This you were pleased to term "inviting the vengeance of a lawless mob to be exercised upon the unhappy victims."

You further represented these Committees as assuming an authority to inspect the books, invoices, and all the secrets of the trade and correspondence of merchants. This, my Lord, was high colouring of assumed facts; which we, who inhabit different parts of the Country, are strangers to. To close your narrative upon this head,


you were pleased to inform your noble correspondent, that every "County in this Colony was arming a company of men, whom they call an Independent Company, for the avowed purpose of protecting their Committees, and to be employed against Government, if occasion required; and that the Committee of one County had proceeded so far as to swear the men of their independent company to execute all orders which should be given them from their Committee." These, my Lord, are things entirely without our knowledge; and upon the strictest inquiry, we are convinced they deserve no credit. There were a few companies of gentlemen formed, who were desirous of perfecting themselves in military exercise; but we find not more than six or seven throughout the whole Colony, which consists of sixty-one Counties. This was done to distinguish them from the militia at large; the first and most considerable of these, was instituted for the better protection of the inhabitants of Norfolk Borough, and afterwards received your Lordship' s approbation so far that you expressed the warmest wishes that the example might be followed throughout the country, and gave commissions to their officers. That these companies were connected with the Committees, or that they were ever designed to act against, or in any sort to Interfere with, What you are pleased to call Government, we do not know, or believe; but, on the contrary, we are verily persuaded that they were always ready and willing to exert themselves to support the Laws and His Majesty' s Government, to the utmost of their power.

Your Lordship' s assertion, that "the power of Government was entirely disregarded, if not wholly overturned, and that there was not a Justice of the Peace in Virginia who acted except as a Committee-man," we cannot but consider as highly unjust, and extremely injurious to us. We have the greatest reason to believe, having it in full proof, that the Magistrates throughout the Colony duly attended their respective Courts; and though, for the reasons assigned in our former Address to your Lordship, they could not think themselves legally authorized to hear and determine civil suits, yet we are persuaded, that their former endeavours to preserve the peace and good order of Government were not interrupted, but exerted in the usual manner. The original cause of suspending the trials of civil disputes was, as your Lordship observes, the want of a Fee-Bill. This legal defect was much lamented, and not used, that we know of, as a popular argument, by any man of good sense; nor did the inhabitants of this Country join in what you are pleased to call an opprobrious measure, to engage their "English creditors to join the clamours of this Country." Your Lordship' s assertion, that "not a few did it to avoid paying their debts, in which many. of the principal people here are much involved," we can only answer for ourselves in the negative; and must consider so indiscriminate a charge as extremely injurious. We were so far from desiring To do injustice to creditors, that it gave us great pain to observe that such a step was thought necessary; and nothing but the hopes of being relieved from the arbitrary system of Colony Government attempted to be introduced, could have prevailed with us to submit to a stoppage of our exports. The merchants of London, in their written message, by a respectable member of their, body, to the Committee of the House of Commons, have done us ample justice in this respect, by representing, that they should have no uneasiness about remittances from America, unless Parliament pursued such means as were likely to prevent them.

The Congress, my Lord, we consider as instituted on principles of publick necessity; we do not deny our having a proper respect for that body. We learn, from good authority, that their humble and dutiful Petition to His Majesty was graciously received, though it is with concern we are told it has hitherto produced no good effect. But that the inhabitants of Virginia treated with "marks, of reverence the laws of the Congress, which they never bestowed on their legal Government, or the laws proceeding from it," is one of a great number of facts, requiring proof; since we must take leave to say, with confidence, that His Majesty' s subjects of Virginia have been second to none others, even to his dutiful and loyal subjects in any part of his wide extended Dominions, in all due respect to his Government, Governours, and all in authority under him.


We cannot but remind, your Lordship of the General Congress held in America, with the royal approbation, in the last war. The united interest, indeed, of Great Britain and the Colonies, might have then demanded it. In imitation of so laudable an example, America resolved on a like measure, as equally, if not more necessary, at this critical juncture. Your Lordship' s account of the effects the Association is likely to produce, considering it as a matter of opinion, we are little concerned to interfere with: time only can discover the consequences of it. But your heavy charge against those called people of fortune, "that they supply themselves and negroes for two or three years, to the distress of the middling and poorer sort," roust have proceeded from your giving too easy credit to ill-founded reports. Some, but very few, may have supplied themselves, as opportunity offered, for the present year; this, we believe, is the most that has been done. And we are persuaded of a material mistake in another respect, it being the general opinion, founded on good grounds, that the middling and poorer sort will fare much better than those of fortune, who have large numbers of slaves to provide for. Engaged on this to pick, we cannot refrain from observing how strangely our views have been misrepresented. By the Association we intend nothing that is illegal. We are only resolved to be content with our homespun manufactures, however mean in quality, unless things can be restored to their former channel; the only security we desire for what we know our excellent Constitution entitles us to. What your Lordship is pleased to represent as the arbitrary proceedings of the Committees, we trust will produce none of those very dreadful effects you have painted in such alarming colours. The whole Colony, very few excepted, is united; and from such union of sentiments, expectations must be exceedingly sanguine, indeed, in supposing that discord will arise.

How the proceedings of the General Convention, in the month of March last, may have been represented, we know not; but, from the foregoing specimens, it is to be presumed in no very favourable light. These meetings, my Lord, unless it can be supposed that a whole Country could entirely lose sight of its security and most essential interests, were rendered absolutely necessary; first, by the dissolution, and afterwards by repeated prorogations of the General Assembly. Upon inquiry into the state of the Colony, it was found that there had been almost a total inattention to the proper training and disciplining of our Militia. Various subsequent Acts of our Legislature, amendatory of the law of 1738, had expired; the Act providing against invasions and insurrections was near expiring, and it was uncertain whether an opportunity would be given the General Assembly to revive it. Taking a further view of our situation, it was found that our inhabitants were exposed to the incursions of a barbarous and savage enemy. From the best accounts received from Great Britain, there was too much reason to be convinced that His Majesty' s Ministry were prosecuting the most rigorous and arbitrary measures towards, subjugating the whole Continent of America to their despotick rule; which measures, it was more than probable, had been suggested from hence, and the other Colonies; Hi at a scheme, the most diabolical, had been meditated and generally recommended by a person of great influence, to offer freedom to our slaves, and turn them against their masters. The Convention, to guard against these dangers not clearly seen into before that time, recommended a strict attention to the Militia Law of 1738; but, thinking this defective in many essential points, and considering that, under this law, the whole Militia were not obliged to exercise so frequently as might be necessary, it was recommended that volunteer companies should be formed in each County, for the better defence and protection of the whole Country. These proceedings, according to an usual style, it is more than probable, have been represented as designed to oppose Government: whereas, we are persuaded that nothing was farther from the intentions of the Convention. A review of their resolutions must convince every unprejudiced mind that the utmost respect was paid to His Majesty aud his legal Government, and that the Convention had much pleasure in expressing their obligations to your Lordship for your late services. The truth is, my Lord, that His Majesty' s dutiful subjects


in this Colony have the utmost attachment to their Sovereign; they admire, they love the Constitution, and will risk every thing most dear and valuable in support of it. These are principles imbibed in their infancy, and their constant care is to inculcate them upon the minds of their children; they meditate or design nothing in the least offensive; but, if it is expected that they should sit down supinely, and submit to yokes which neither they nor their forefathers were able to bear, they must acknowledge that they have the sensibility and feelings of freemen actuating them to a proper and justifiable defence of those rights which are guarantied by the laws and principles of the Constitution.

We have, my Lord, made the strictest and minutest inquiry into the causes of the late disturbances. We find, from the examination of many respectable merchants, natives of Great Britain residing in different parts of this Colony, and from other gentlemen of character, that the Country was in a perfect state of tranquillity till they received an account of your Lordship' s removal of the, gunpowder from the publick magazine to one of His Majesty' s ships-of-war, and of your irritating and most unjustifiable threats.

The inhabitants of this Country, my Lord, could not be strangers to the many attempts in the Northern Colonies to disarm the people, and thereby deprive them of the only means of defending their lives and property. We know, from good authority, that the like measures were generally recommended by the Ministry, and that the export of powder from Great Britain had been prohibited. Judge, then, how very alarming the removal of the small stock which remained in the publick magazine for the defence of the Country, and the stripping the guns of their locks, must have been to any people who had the smallest regard for their security; the manner and time of doing it, made no small addition to the general apprehension of your Lordship' s views. The reason assigned by your Lordship for taking this step, we should have thought the most likely, at any other time, to have directed a very different conduct. We should have supposed that a well-grounded apprehension of an insurrection of the slaves ought to have called forth the utmost exertions to suppress it. The world will probably judge your Lordship' s method of doing this the least likely to effect the necessary purpose. Your Lordship having represented this powder as the King' s peculiar property, supposing it to have been brought from one of his ships, we have made inquiry into that matter, and cannot find that there ever was any powder brought either from the Rippon or any other man-of-war; so that we presume your Lordship must have been misinformed as to this fact since the powder was removed, as it was not relied on in your answer to the Address of the Corporation of the City of Williamsburgh; be this, however, as it may, we conceive the case would not be materially altered. We must remind your Lordship, that by a very ancient law of this Country, enacted so long since as the thirty-second year of the reign of His Majesty King Charles the Second, for raising a publick revenue, and for the better support of this Government, amongst other provisions, an impost of one-half pound of gunpowder and three pounds of leaden shot, or one shilling and three pence sterling, was imposed on all ships or vessels coming into this Colony. In the ninth year of the reign of Queen Anne, the impost of one shilling and three pence on the tonnage of vessels was continued, for port duties. It is evident, my Lord, that the original and chief design of this particular impost was to provide, from time to time, a proper stock of ammunition for the defence of the Country. We have examined the produce of this fund for thirteen years past, and find that it yielded in that time twenty-eight thousand five hundred and three pounds, three shillings and nine pence sterling; which, on an average, amounted to two thousand one hundred ninety-two pounds eleven shillings sterling per annum; and it is observable, that for the four last years it yielded considerably more than three thousand pounds in each year. It may from hence be fairly submitted, whether it was not incumbent on the Executive part of Government to have provided, in the first place, from so large and ample a fund, a proper stock of arms and ammunition, which was so essentially necessary for the security of the Country, If, my Lord, Instead of applying a reasonable


part of this money to such necessary purposes, the whole has been applied to other occasions of Government, and powder and arms had been procured through Some other channel, we should presume that these, when stored in the pubick magazine, built at the expense of the Country, and appropriated to the safe keeping of all military stores, ought there to have remained till the exigencies of the Country demanded them.

We find, my Lord, that the inhabitants of the City of Willamsburgh, in the midst of which the magazine is situated, upon discovering that the powder was removed, the time and manner of its being done — in the dead of the night, under an escort of armed marines, commanded by Captain Henry Collins, of the Magdalen — were exceedingly alarmed; that many of them were so exasperated that they had recourse to arms, intending, as we understand, to compel Captain Collins to restore the powder; but we cannot discover that the least insult was intended to your Lordship. We find that the Corporation of Williamsburgh presented a decent and very respectful address to your Excellency, desiring that you would be pleased to order the powder to be returned; and, on receipt of your verbal answer, amongst other things avowing that it had been removed by your orders, under which Captain Collins had acted, and promising it should be returned in case of an insurrection, the people assembled were soon appeased, returned quietly to their respective homes, and perfect tranquillity was restored in the City. That in the succeeding night, on a report that a number of armed men had landed at a ferry about four miles from this City, the inhabitants were again much alarmed; but, upon the interposition of some gentlemen, they were quieted, and nothing farther was done than strengthening the usual patrol for the security of the City. We farther find, that on the next day, when every thing was perfectly quiet, your Lordship sent a message into the City by one of the Magistrates, which you delivered with the most solemn asseverations, that if any insult was offered to Captain Foy or Captain Collins, you would declare freedom to the slaves, and lay the Town in ashes; and that you could easily depopulate the whole Country. What could have provoked your Lordship to this we cannot discover, as both Captain Foy and Captain Collins, and several other officers, had been frequently seen walking publickly in the streets, and no one offered either of them the least injury; nor can we discover any reason to believe that any thing of the sort was intended. The inhabitants, my Lord, could not but be exceedingly alarmed at so cruel a threat; many people considered it as part of that general plan they had heard was recommended in England, and which was discovered by your Lordship through accident; they, however, did nothing more, that we can learn, than continue their former patrols.

A report of these several mailers having soon circulated throughout almost the whole Country, with this addition, that the most valuable guns in the magazine had been stripped of their locks, and that the inhabitants of Williamsburgh were in the most imminent danger, the minds of the people, in-general were much agitated; they assembled in different quarters, and a number of expresses were sent to inquire and obtain a true state of things. It appears that during this general uneasiness, an account was received from the northward of the engagement at Concord. The General, it seems, had sent an armed force to seize a Provincial magazine; this, your Lordship may suppose, increased the apprehensions of our people, as it held out to them an additional proof that the steps you had taken formed a part of that general system adopted to render the Colonies defenceless. If, upon such alarms, when the minds of the people were fretted to an extreme degree, some irregularities were committed, the causes may be found in those extraordinary attempts to stretch the powers of Government so much beyond their ancient and constitutional limits.

It gave the greatest concern, my Lord, to all acquainted with your most amiable lady and her distinguished character, to hear she had removed with her children to one of the King' s Ships. We have inquired into the cause of this; and though we do not pretend to prescribe to her ladyship, yet we are persuaded, that had she known the sentiments of an the people in this Colony, every, uneasiness would have been removed. We find, my Lord, that


from the great pains taken by the Magistrates, and other inhabitants of the City of Williamsburgh, there could have been no real ground for fear at the time of her ladyship' s removal, unless it was produced from your Lordship' s threats, which might have kept the minds of some of the citizens in suspense. A few ladies, it appears, left the City; but it was not through apprehensions of any other danger than what your Lordship held over them. The inhabitants certainly could have entertained no suspicions of injury from their friends in the country, who had kindly offered to come to their assistance; so that it was in the power of your Lordship alone to have removed her ladyship' s uneasiness.

It gives us the greatest pain, my Lord, to find, in your Excellency' s Message, so determined a resolution to pursue a course the most likely to revive, the uneasiness of the people, and prevent that restoration of harmony so ardently wished for by all good men.

You are pleased to submit to our "judgment, whether you could reasonably have expected any good effect from communicating the ground of your uneasiness to us." We give it as our opinion, that your Lordship had the greatest reason, if you had viewed our conduct in its proper light, to have expected the best effects from such communication. As we met your Lordship in General Assembly with the sincerest disposition to do every thing in our power to provide for the tranquillity of the Country, the reasons assigned for your contrary apprehensions, we are persuaded, must have been suggested to your Lordship by some designing, malevolent informer. We can hardly suppose your Lordship could have had any well-grounded fear of personal danger, when it is notorious that you appeared publickly as usual; and it is in proof, that in the same night which you left the Palace, you walked alone to the Attorney General' s, at the distance of upwards of a quarter of a mile, and returned, unmolested; and we cannot discover that even the slightest insult was offered. If you judge of the disposition of the House of Burgesses, as to publick matters, from their declining to accept an invitation to dine with your Lordship, (the instance of respect and civility alluded to, and which you say you had been forward in offering to them,) you have entirely mistaken their motives. A piece of civility of this sort had formerly its due weight with us; but we had little reason to suppose that such a ceremony would, at this time, be attended, on your Lordship' s part, with that cordiality which we thought we had observed on former occasions. How could, your Lordship think of admitting to your table a set of men who, together with the whole body of their constituents, you had endeavoured to paint in such despicable and odious colours? That the House of Burgesses ever countenanced the violent and disorderly proceedings of the people, we must, in justice to ourselves, take leave to deny. As to the magazine' s being rifled, which you are pleased to insinuate was done with the approbation of this House, we must say, that in this also the greatest injustice is done to us. The House was sitting, closely engaged in publick business, when this affair happened. Some of our members, as we believe the truth is, upon hearing what was going forward at the magazine, went up in hopes of preventing it. We are informed that a great concourse of people, from different parts of the country, were-assembled, and that many of the arms had been taken out of the magazine. Several of the members, as private gentlemen, remonstrated with all the people they met with against such proceedings, and prevailed with them to return what they had taken. When your Lordship was pleased to accuse the House of Burgesses of usurping the "Executive power," from what happened on this occasion, we presume it would have been well to have considered with what propriety they could have interfered. Had they made an order for apprehending the persons concerned, who were unknown, it would have been fruitless, and, moreover, a plain departure from the line of their authority. Such a step your Lordship might, indeed, have justly censured as an usurpation of the Executive power. Or, would your Lordship have recommended to the individual members to have acted as bailiffs, in seizing all offenders they met with? We never have, nor will we ever give countenance to such unjustifiable proceedings as happened that day.

Your acquaintance, my Lord, with mankind, must suggest


to you the difficulty there is in restraining an incensed multitude. Many people, the irritation of whose minds had but lately subsided, we understand, had been again greatly alarmed at a late unfortunate accident which happened to some inconsiderate young men, in their unlawful attempt to furnish themselves with arms out of the magazine; an attempt, my Lord, which we condemn as highly as your Lordship can. But whether some little apology may not be suggested, from that universal anxiety which all mankind have to prepare for the defence of their lives and property, we will not determine. The point is delicate, and we leave the world to judge of it. But the means contrived, in pursuance of your Lordship' s orders, by which an unfortunate culprit might probably have been hurried into eternity, without a moment' s time for reflection, we conceive can do no great honour to humanity, which, we should have supposed, would have dictated the necessity of at least giving publick notice that spring-guns were prepared and fixed, which, it is imagined, would have answered every purpose of security to the magazine.

Your Lordship' s reflections on our Committee, and, through them, upon this whole House, we think might have been spared, after what passed early in the session. Had the Committee misbehaved, we should not have been backward in taking proper notice of it. When we received your Lordship' s very temperate message respecting their conduct, we addressed your Excellency, in hopes, by having matters properly explained, of removing all umbrage you might have taken. Your Lordship' s reply to this message induced us to believe that you were satisfied; but it seems we must again enter on the same subject, or remain exposed, to the weight of your Lordship' s censure.

Reflecting; on what had happened, the House judged it an indispensable duty they owed their constituents, to inquire into the state of the publick magazine; and, before they knew of the late disturbances, appointed a Committee for that purpose. The Committee, previous to their taking any other step, waited upon your Excellency, and in the most respectful manner desired that you would be pleased to direct the keeper of the magazine, to give them access thereio. The key was delivered to them by your Lordship' s orders; they at the same time informed your Excellency of the confusion that had happened; and that they had, to prevent the like depredations, requested some gentlemen of the Town to guard the magazine, till proper measures could be taken for its further security, which your Lordship did not make the least objection to. There had been, by your Excellency' s permission, a considerable quantity of copper money, belonging to the country, lodged in the magazine. This WAS an additional reason for the Committee' s taking a precaution which your Lordship is pleased to call "ordering and appointing guards, without consulting you, to mount in the City of Williamsburgh," and a design to usurp the "Executive power." The Committee did not pretend to any authority to mount guard; and had your Lordship disliked what they thought a prudent step in the then confused slate of things, it would have been kind in your Lordship to have intimated as much. Upon the Committee' s inquiry, they found, indeed, that there was little worth guarding in the magazine, the powder having been all removed, except about five hall barrels, buried, by your Excellency' s order, in the yard, for what purpose we cannot conceive, and all the valuable muskets having been spoiled of their locks.

Your Lordship speaks of a body of men assembled in the City of Williamsburgh, not only to the "knowledge, but with the approbation of every body, for thee avowed purpose of attacking a party of the King' s forces, which it was reported, though without foundation, was marching to your Lordship' s protection." We know of no men, my Lord, assembled for the purpose you mention, though you are pleased to say it was done with the "knowledge and approbation of every body," in which number we suppose the House; of Burgesses were particularly designed to be included. Upon the best information, the truth appears to be this; An account was brought into the City in the morning, that Captain Collins, of the Magdalen, had slipped his cable; and was come up the river with a number of boats, in which there were said to be a hundred armed men at least, intended to be marched into the City. It could not be conceived what was; proposed by this


maneuver: the City was quiet, and we believe no man in it suspected that your Lordship could have the least apprehension that your person was in danger; nor had we the smallest suspicion of your fears, till the receipt of your former message, acquainting us of your removal. The citizens, however, as well as others, were astonished, and somewhat alarmed, not knowing what was intended. Your Lordship may remember, that His Majesty' s Council, from their address to your Excellency, were not without their apprehensions. A number of the inhabitants, and we suppose some others, but how many we know not, assembled under arms, that they might be prepared to defend the City and its inhabitants, in case any thing hostile should be attempted. This, we are convinced, was their only view. Upon their being made acquainted will your Lordship' s answer to the Council, we understood that they all immediately retired peaceably and quietly, without any disturbance. The City was again at rest, and continued composed till they heard of your Lordship' s removal, with your family, in the dead of night, as if you could have supposed that any one would have attempted to offer you any obstruction, or to interfere with your inclination. This extraordinary step, which none could account for, occasioned great consternation in the City, and we believe would surprise the whole world, wore they acquainted with it.

We have already, my Lord, in a former address; of which, according to custom, a copy was left with you, and which you directed to have presented on a certain day, long since passed, without your giving us an opportunity, of doing it, assigned the reasons why we could not interpose our legislative authority res peering the Courts of Justice.

The occasion and design of forming Independent Companies at first, and the rise of Volunteer Companies afterwards, we hare already explained, and cannot see the necessity of abolishing them. They are not designed to interfere with your Lordship' s full exercise of the legal and constitutional-powers of your Government, which we would wish to have supported on all occasions; and are of opinion, that the laws in force are competent to that end. But if it is expected that the Country should again be thrown into a defenceless state, self-preservation, the first law of nature, forbids it. If your Lordship were really apprehensive that your person was in danger, the tender of the Council and this House, of their most effectual assistance to remove every appearance of risk, we were hopeful would have quieted all your fears, A proper guard, at the publick expense, would have been at your service, had you judged it necessary. Your Lordship' s declining to propose such a measure as we, consistent with our own security, could accept, and demanding what you must have known was not in our power to comply with, affords NO strong evidence of your inclination to restore tranquillity to this Country. Those who have taken any of His Majesty' s publick store of arms, are open to the law, which has its full operation as heretofore; and we wish not to interrupt its course. But surely your Lordship cannot expect us, by any new act, which would be ex post facto in the most odious sense of the words, to inflict other pains and penalties for offences already committed. This, we conceive, would be the greatest infringement of a fundamental principle of our excellent Constitution. Such a practice may, indeed, have obtained under another meridian, but it is not, my Lord, of American growth. Whether that spirit of persecution, which your Lordship has been pleased to describe, prevails in this Country, we appeal to the evidence which appears on our Journals. Were those, and those only, to be considered as persecuted men, who, from principles and duty, are attached to their King and his Government, we ourselves, my Lord, should fall under this predicament, and perhaps may, with justice, think humanity disgraced by such proceedings. That some few people may have been deluded, we shall not question. The utmost pains, we know, have been taken, in different Colonies, to alarm them with the "disfigured side of the American" story, and to render them deaf and blind to their true interest and political salvation. So far as our example can influence the people of this Country in preserving their loyalty to His Majesty, a proper respect to Government, and the good order of society, your Lordship may be assured that it shall be made as diffusive as possible.


We Have, my Lord, the sincerest and most active desire to seize every opportunity of establishing the freedom of our Country upon a fixed "known foundation," and of uniting ourselves with our fellow-subjects of Great Britain in one common bond of interest and affection; but we have no "doubts" of what such freedom consists in; it is written as with a sun-beam on our hearts. We are equally sensible of those essentials which alone can admit us to the participation of a just proportion of the common interest; but for the variety of cogent reasons assigned in our address in answer to your Lordship' s speech, we cannot view the proposal of the House of Commons in the same light your Lordship seems to do.

The important business of the Assembly, my Lord, has been not a little interrupted by your Excellency' s removal from the proper seat of your Government. As to your Lordship' s offer, that we might adjourn to the Town of York, we think this would be extremely improper, on several accounts: The Town of York could not afford tolerable accommodation for so numerous an assembly; and, what is of more consequence, we humbly conceive, that this, and this place alone is established by law for holding our General Assemblies. If there are any hopes left of your Excellency' s compliance, we must reiterate our request, that you will be pleased to return, with your family, to the Palace, for the reasons assigned in our former address. We feel most sensibly the disagreeable situation your excellent lady must be in. But if, after all, your Lordship is determined to persist in your resolution of absence, we must endeavour to rest satisfied, conscious that, whilst we have been solicitous to do justice to our constituents and ourselves, we have not been wanting in the respect which is due to the representative of our most gracious Sovereign.

We cannot, my Lord, but consider the Representatives of the body of the people, when convened in Assembly, as part of that great and general council which our Constitution hath fixed for advising our Governours in all matters respecting the publick weal. His Majesty' s honourable Council are especially appointed for this purpose. They are well acquainted with our Constitution; their duty to His Majesty will urge them to support the prerogative of the Crown, at the same time that their justice should lead them to maintain the rights of the People. We, therefore, (sincerely regarding your Lordship' s tranquillity and happiness; as well as the important interests of this whole community,) think ourselves loudly called upon to give it as our best advice, that your Lordship will be pleased to advise with your proper and constitutional Council, in all matters, of importance, and not suffer yourself to be influenced by designing men; but that you will banish all such from your presence, as the greatest enemies to your own repose, and the real happiness of this extensive Country.

The said Address being read a second time,

Resolved nemine contradicente, That the House doth agree with the Committee in the said Address to be presented to the Governour.

Ordered, That the said Address be presented to his Excellency by Mr˙ Cary, Mr˙ Braxton, Mr˙ Wood, Mr˙ Jones, Mr˙ Zane, Mr˙ Page, and Mr˙ Berkeley.