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Johnathan Parsons, Jun., to the New-York Commmittee



St˙ John' s, Newfoundland, May 30, 1775.

GENTLEMEN: As liberty is the blessing, and ought to be the care of all men, I need no other apology for this letter, than to acquaint you I am an American, of Newburyport, New-England. On my arrival here, the 19th instant, from the Mediterranean, I was informed of the care you had taken with regard to the exportation of bread and flour to this Island, especially in the instance of Capt˙ Taverner, commander of a ship belonging to Isaacand Benjamin Lester, of Pool, in England, and loaded by T˙ Beach, of New-York; which Lesters are noted enemies to American liberty, as appears by the petition of the Town of Pool for an exclusive right to the fishery on the Banks of Newfoundland, &c˙, of which petition I am informed they were the principal promoters, the contents of which you have undoubtedly seen. I am able to inform you that, notwithstanding your care relative to said ship, she arrived the 24th instant at Trinity, in this Island; and the necessities of the people here for bread and flour are so great, that I doubt not you will have numbers of vessels on your coast, under various pretexts, to get bread and flour to supply them. They are now at their wits end to find means to acquire the necessaries of life; yet such is their inveterate enmity against the Americans, that they cannot help breathing out their malice at every opportunity, where their interest is not immediately affected. Last Saturday a schooner arrived here, belonging to Salem, in New-England, from a fishing voyage; the merchants immediately sent the crier through the Town, to notify a meeting at seven that evening, which was adjourned to Sunday, to consult on the matter. It seems they were in hopes to get some hold of her from some Acts of Parliament relative to the regulation of the fishery in this Island, but finding their expectations fail them, that they could not get her seized, nor prevent an entry, they mustered their forces, seized upon and sent her to sea; and what is more surprising to me is, (if I am rightly informed,) that upon a promise of indemnification, they obtained an order from the Judge of the Admiralty for this extraordinary procedure, and that after her being admitted to a legal entry in the Custom-House.

This, gentlemen, is the breath they breathe, and this conduct is but the overflowing of that inveterate enmity they have imbibed at the Americans, for their defending that Constitution by which the throne is established, and the rights of the people secured; I say the overflowing, because they cannot live without you, and are under the greatest obligations to keep their enmity smothered as much as possible. If they are denied bread and flour from the Southern American Governments, the Newfoundland fishery must break up. Canada is too uncertain to depend on for any supplies; that Country, with which I am acquainted, is mostly low, and altogether clay land. If the season is good, they generally have great crops; but if they have too much or too little rain, they must have supplies from abroad or starve themselves: this the people here are sensible of, and are trying all methods they can to obtain present supplies from the Southern Governments, as they have no intelligence how Canada may be stocked at present. Would it not be surprising to see men breathing out slaughter and death at the Americans, petitioning the Continental Congress to supply them with bread and flour; and pleading their not joining with the Pool men in the petition abovementioned, as a reason why the prayer of their petition should be granted? Yet such I expect will be the case, if the Canada market fails them, and the Governments to the southward are vigilant to watch the motions


of those vessels which make excursions to obtain bread and flour by delusive evasions, many of which I expect will soon make the experiment. However, gentlemen, though I have already been drawn to a greater length than I at first intended, I must, in faithfulness to several gentlemen, beg your indulgence a little longer. Messrs˙ Robert and Benjamin Jenkins have at all times publickly declared their fixed determination to do nothing to the prejudice of the American cause. Mr˙ Robert Bulley is also our steadfast friend, and I doubt not but we have many more in this Town and Island; but as I never saw this Island till a few days past, I cannot give you their names.

I am, gentlemen, with sentiments of esteem, your and our Country' s friend and humble servant,


To the Committee of Safety for the City of New-York.

P˙ S˙ If you judge the above representation deserves your attention, I would gladly contribute to remove the difficulty you must labour under, by not being able to place any confidence in the testimony of a stranger; must, therefore, in that case, beg the favour of your writing a letter, directed to the Honourable Benjamin Greenleaf, Esquire, at Newburyport, New-England, to be communicated to the Committee of Safety for that place, whose joint testimony will doubtless set my character in its true light. Any use may be made of the above which may tend to promote the publick good. Yours, as above,