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Letter from Governour Penn to Lord Dunmore


March 1, 1775.

The Governour, this day, wrote a Letter to his Excellency the Earl of Dunmore, Governour of Virginia, enclosing copies of several Depositions which he lately received relative to the Disturbances in, Westmoreland County, and despatched the same by express, which Letter follows in these words, viz:

Philadelphia, March 1, 1775.

MY LORD: When you reflect how many of my letters to your Lordship on publick affairs remain unanswered, you must be sensible it cannot be very agreeable to me to write to you on the present occasion; yet I find myself under a necessity of troubling you once more on the subject of the disturbances in the Western parts of this Province. The enclosed copies of several Depositions will inform your Lordship what recent outrages have been committed in the County of Westmoreland, under the sanction of your Government, as those who have been active in them publickly declare; and my intelligence informs me that your Lordship has set up an office for granting lands far within the limits of this Province, and that lands already patented by me have been granted by your Lordship, which cannot fail to produce the utmost confusion.

The justice due to myself and the other proprietors, and the protection I owe to the people who have taken up lands under this Province and settled there long before your Lordship thought fit to disturb its peace by extending the Government of Virginia within our Charter bounds, oblige me to apply to your Lordship to know if these violent proceedings are the effect of your orders, or have your countenance, that in case they have I may take the proper measures for redress; or if they have not that they may receive your discouragement. Your Lordship well knows that a Petition is depending before the Crown, for settling the bounds and running the lines of this Province, which, when done, will put an end to the unhappy disputes between the two Governments. You must remember that you have engaged to forward that good work, rather than throw impediments in its way; and I would fain hope that your Lordship, in the mean time, will use your power and influence in composing rather than inflaming the differences amongst his Majesty' s subjects of the two Colonies, occasioned by our clashing jurisdictions, especially when you consider that the County which is the seat of the present disturbances, was first settled under this Province, and that our jurisdiction was extended there in the time of your predecessor, Lord Botetourt, and recognized by his Lordship, in his sending hither for trial a person who had committed a murder at Stewart' s Crossings, which is Westward of the Laurel Hill. I shall forbear to take any steps in this disagreeable affair, till I have the honour of an answer to this Letter, which I hope your Lordship will favour me with by the return of the express. I have the honour to be your Lordship' s most obedient humble servant,


To the Right Honourable the Earl of Dunmore, Governour and Commander-in-Chief of his Majesty' s Province of Virginia, Williamsburg.