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Extract of a Letter from North-Carolina to a Gentleman at Hull, in England



Our Provincial Convention, at their last meeting, appointed Committees of Safety, consisting of thirteen members for each of the six districts of the Province; and these Committees, by authority of the Convention, elected a Provincial Council, consisting likewise of thirteen. The Legislative, Judicial, and Executive powers of Government, are now entirely in the hands of the said Council and Committees. Governour Martin is still on board the Cruiser, sloop-of-war, from which he issued a proclamation, forbidding a meeting of the Convention, which they resolved was a false scandalous, scurrilous, and malicious libel, tending to stir up tumults and insurrections, dangerous to the peace of His Majesty' s Government, &c˙, and ordered it to be burnt by the common hangman, which was accordingly done. They appointed two Treasurers, and ordered them to draw on the Continental Congress at Philadelphia for one hundred thousand dollars, for the pay and maintenance of three thousand Minute Men; and to replace that SUM, they have issued paper bills of credit FOR one hundred and twenty-five thousand, dollars, and laid penalties on those who should speak disrespectfully of the bills, or offer them at less than eight shillings for a dollar. The Minute-Men are to be trained every day, Sundays not excepted; the uniform is a hunting-shirt, leggings, or spatterdashes, with garters. To encourage the supplying ourselves with what we used to import from Great Britain, they have voted large premiums to any person or persons who shall erect furnaces for refining iron, slitting mills, steel furnaces, and also, for the making of cotton cards, needles and pins; the refining of sulphur, and making saltpetre and gunpowder in this Colony.

The following is a copy of a Test drawn up by the Convention, signed by themselves, the Provincial Council, Committees of Safety, &c˙, &c˙, viz:

"We, the subscribers, professing our allegiance to the King, and acknowledging the Constitutional Executive power of Government, do solemnly profess, testify, and declare, that we do absolutely believe that neither the Parliament of Great Britain, nor any constituent member thereof, have a right to impose taxes on these Colonies to regulate the internal policy thereof; and that all attempts, by fraud or force, to establish and exercise such claims and powers, are violations of the peace and security of the people, and ought to be resisted to the utmost. And, that the people of this Province, singly and collectively, are bound by the acts and resolutions of the Continental and Provincial Congresses; because, in both, they are freely represented by persons chosen by themselves.

"And we do solemnly and sincerely promise and engage, under the sanction of virtue, honour, and the sacred love of liberty and our country, to maintain and support all and every the acts, resolutions, and regulations of the said Continental and Provincial Congresses, to the utmost of our power and abilities.

"In testimony whereof," &c.

The former Convention voted fifty thousand pounds for raising and embodying one thousand men, to be employed in the common cause, which were accordingly raised. A body of five hundred of them are now encamped near Wilmington. It is reported that many of them desert.

We have but little communication with the neighbouring Provinces, owing to the distracted state of the whole Continent; and what we hear is not always to be depended upon. The last accounts from Virginia say, that Lord Dunmore does not lose ground; and since his proclamation, offering freedom to indented servants and slaves, many people have joined him to save their property. He seized a printing press at Norfolk, which he employs for his own purposes; and, by the means of Negroes, and others,


continues to circulate his proclamations and intelligence through the country. It is said that Colonel Henry, with a large body of men, is gone against him; and a General from the American camp, at Cambridge, in Massachusetts-Bay, is expected on the same service.

A gentleman, who lately passed this way from South-Carolina, said that Lord William Campbell, Governour of that Province, and his Secretary, were still on board the Tamer, sloop-of-war. The Governour' s lady remained at his house in Charlestown. Mr˙ Stuart, Superintendent of Indian Affairs, who had fled to East-Florida in May last, lately held a Congress with a great number of Indians, near St˙ Augustine, but they had not learnt, at Charlestown, what had been done by him and them. The Government of South-Carolina has been, for some time, in the hands of a Council of Safety, consisting of thirteen, and a General Committee of ninety-nine, who permitted several vessels to carry rice to the West-Indies, on condition of their bringing arms, ammunition, clothing, and other necessaries in return; and so strictly do they adhere to the General Continental Association, that a quantity of clothing, shipped from a foreign Island, being discovered to be of British manufacture, was sent back in the vessel that brought it. Some of the fire-arms, which were French, had, on trial, been found good for nothing. They have two regiments of Foot and one of Horse in actual pay, besides a great number of Volunteer Companies daily training, exclusive of the Militia, all which are under the command and direction of the Council of Safety.

An attack on Charlestown has been for some time expected, by an armament from England, on which account many of the inhabitants have left the town, almost all the merchandise and valuable effects are removed, and the Provincial records are, by order of the Council of Safety, carried to Dorchester, about twenty miles up in the country. A scheme was formed, and some vessels purchased, in order to attack and seize the Tamer, sloop; but, when the vessels were fitted out and armed, some misapprehension or misunderstanding arose among the several companies destined for the service, and the design was given up or postponed. It was said that the sum of one million pounds, currency, issued by the Congress last Summer, was nearly expended in putting the Colony in a state of defence; cash was very scarce, and many persons were issuing their own notes.