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Letter from Governour Wentworth to the Earl of Dartmouth



Since my letter, No˙ 64, the Convention of persons chosen by many towns, in consequence of the invitation in that letter referred to, met at Exeter, and elected Colonel Folsom and Major Sullivan, to be Delegates for this Province, at the Congress to be held in Philadelphia, on the first day of September next. The paper, No˙ 1, herewith enclosed, is a copy of the instructions given to those gentlemen, and is the best explanation of their service and employment that I can obtain. I am informed that this Convention collected and brought from their respective towns, about one hundred and twenty guineas, which was paid into the hands of John Giddinge, Esquire, (who they elected Treasurer,) to defray the expense incurred by the Delegates aforenamed, who set off on their journey to Philadelphia, on the 10th instant.

The Committee of Correspondence elected by the late Assembly, and of course dissolved with them, wrote circular letters to all the towns in this Province, a copy of which, and printed form of the non-importation and non-consumption agreement, recommended in that letter, and accompanying it, is herewith transmitted, No˙ 2. Some few towns generally subscribed, many others totally rejected it. The Committee appear conscious that their powers (if any they ever had) ceased with the Assembly that elected them, for they do not date the day of the month,


because it succeeded the dissolution; it is certain they had not acted nor even met together before that. I think this Province is much more moderate than any other to the Southward, although the spirit of enthusiasm is spread, and requires the utmost vigilance and prudence to restrain it from violent excess; this will appear by the enclosure, No˙ 3, which was carried nemine contradicente, in this town, upon an attempt some few nights preceding, by a parcel of boys and sailors, to insult a woman who sold tea. Since this vote the town has been perfectly quiet, those who had tea have sold it without molestation. The inhabitants have now almost universally discontinued the use of Bohea tea, and I apprehend will entirely within three months from this date.

The Town Clerk of Boston, who is said to be a zealous leader of the popular opposition, has been in this town about a week, and immediately appears a publication in the New-Hampshire Gazette, recommending donations for Boston, which has been followed with a notification to convene in town meeting "to grant relief to the poor of the town of Boston," on the 12th of September next. It is probable no town grant will be made, and the meeting issue in appointing a Committee to receive and transmit voluntary donations, which, I believe, will not afford much comfort to them, or greatly credit the charitable munificence of these town meetings; grants are always and ever will be greater on popular pretences than private subscriptions, because those that vote in publick pay by far the least part of the grant; as is ever the case with Selectmen, who having power over the apportionment of rates, probably do not exercise it to their own detriment, and thence more easily join in facilitating and augmenting such guts, which, from the nature of the office, they have great influence upon. It is greatly to be wished that gentlemen of property, experience, and education, could be persuaded to accept the office of Selectmen; but it is impracticable, if they are disinterested, and without other views than the publick good, it is a very laborious and unprofitable employment; and as I have nothing in my power whereby to reward such good men, they all decline, and the interiour regulation of the capital falls into the hands of those who can submit to make it worth their attention.

I beg leave to assure your Lordship of my most faithful diligence in his Majesty' s service; and, with the greatest deference, to hope for such favourable representation thereof, I am, &c˙,


P˙ S˙ The enclosure, No˙ 4, met with very little encouragement, and obtained but few signers, (except two or three) who were only among the lower order of people, who signed before they were invited to, and on the same invitation would sign any other paper.

J˙ W.